Blog

The Maxi Taxi concept describes the advantages of convoying in saving fuel during highway travel. Cars that closely follow each other can achieve impressive reductions in total air drag. Air drag is the leading overall drag component at higher speeds and therefore represents the lion’s share of a car’s fuel consumption at speed.

 

 

Air drag is a complex subject, and the original maxi taxi concept aimed to reduce overall air drag by fitting a number of cars as close together as possible and thereby to create a drag profile that is similar to a railroad train, which is basically a flexible tube that is being dragged through the air. We can achieve a similar effect with car convoys and the cars do not have to be the same, but equal width would be real a benefit.

  read more »

 

 

Project 114 is an innovative approach to engineering computations that is being developed for SNAME by Steve Hollister. In essence, it will be a suit of basic NAME computer programs that run on an Excel input/output backbone. This approach is quite powerful and runs a careful middle ground between large, canned, NAME program suites and home grown NAME computer programming. This effort is not meant to displace large powerful computational packages, but rather is meant to provide tools for occasional users and to allow a useful and standardized entry point for NAME amateurs, students and occasional users.

 

The project is further described at the SNAME website and at present a hydrostatics, a Savitsky and a basic powering module are available for experimentation. (beta testing?)  

 

In March we were contacted by Monmouth County's High Technology High School and asked if we could place a student for the Spring. High Tech High School is one of the Monmouth County Vocational High Schools with which M&O has a steady interation and is one of the best technical high schools in the country.

 

High Tech wanted Brady Donahue to attend at our office for 3 months of Fridays since he had expressed an interest in vehicle design. Fortunately we had the perfect job for him; to be the first true student guinea pig for Project 114. read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Join the Martin & Ottaway Team.

 

Wanted:

 

Licensed graduate Marine Engineer or graduate Naval Architect (0-5 years experience) for junior consultant position at Martin & Ottaway headquarters in Red Bank, NJ.

  read more »

An April 12 article in the Maritime Executive reports on a Rolls Royce statement that robot ships will be trading by 2020.

 

Apparently, through the Rolls-Royce led Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA), researchers suggested that engineering hurdles would not be major obstacle. There is no doubt that if engineering hurdles refer to hardware, that autonomous ships should be easier than autonomous aircraft or cars. A ship floats, and all it needs is a reliable means of propulsion to get where it needs to go using an autopilot and GPS.

 

In many ways the technology is already installed in ships and can be modified from off the shelf equipment even with inexpensive equipment used in recreational vessels.

 

If one wants to add rules of the road and accident avoidance one can add ARPA style radar and some programming, and maybe IR or LIDAR and to a large extent things are quite doable. But are these the actual engineering hurdles?

 

On a total ship system level, the engineering becomes much fuzzier, and upon closer examination I would argue that a robotic ship system is much more complicated than a robotic airplane or car system.

  read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Monday, April 11th, 2016

In Memoriam Gene Ferrari

On Friday April 8, 2016 we lost our dear friend Gino Ferrari. Gino was an icon in the New York maritime industry and a person who both maintained the highest standards and at the same time always looked for ways to make life just a little better and a little more fun for everybody in the industry.

  read more »

When I wrote the blog on SWATHs I decided to see if I could locate my Virginia Tech research partner, Mark Tesh. With LinkedIn this was not all that difficult. He enjoyed hearing about the Monoform all these years ago, and remembered having taken photos back in 1981.

  read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Thursday, February 11th, 2016

SWATH, the Art of Compromise

M&O has worked on both the implementation and the failure analysis on quite a number of SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) projects in the last decades. SWATH vessels hold great promise and continue to intrigue naval architects and potential ship purchasers. When we first became involved in SWATHs, as far back as 1981 with the Monoform concept, SWATHs were described as: “The best solution for small ships in big waves”.

 

That truism has not changed, but it is clear that not all small ships in big waves are SWATHs today, and so how can that statement be true?

 

The truth of the statement is related to the disconnect between physics and design. Anything can be most efficient for any one condition, but that does not mean that it will be most efficient once it is turned into a real life object.  

  read more »

I am almost certain that I learned more from popular culture than the classics (whatever the classics may be).

 

For example, the TV series M*A*S*H provided me with two philosophical bits that I still recycle on a regular basis. The first warns me to never drink when I need a drink, and the other restricts the need for tattoos by noting that it makes no sense to permanently inscribe something on your body if the art is not worthy of hanging on your wall.

 

These two bits came up during separate M*A*S*H episodes that I had only seen once many years ago when they originally aired. I had a very distinct memory of the scenes, but when I recently replayed the episodes on the internet, I found that the actual scenes were different from my memory.

  read more »

My list of big maritime things for the year may not look much like maritime at first, but, believe me, it is. To begin with, spaceflight’s closest real life cousin is nuclear submarine operations. Next, maritime is synonymous with international cooperation and, last, all technologies interbreed, whether up or down. Nothing is more difficult to design than a good space toilet, or a good small craft head and it takes dedicated individuals to make it happen.  

  read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Monday, December 21st, 2015

The Search for Oil Spill Data

The September 2014 issue of the US Navy Institute Proceedings had a one page article named “The Biggest Oil-Spill Culprit? Mother Nature”.

 

This article indicates that the sources of oil pollution in the ocean can be divided as follows:

 

Air pollution 4.2%

Run off 11%

Transportation Accidental Spills 9.8% (Marine)

Transportation normal operation 24.1% (Marine )

Natural Oil Seeps 47.3%

Extraction of Petroleum 2.9%

Jettisoned Fuel 0.6%

 

The article has a nice looking graphic and it provided me a chance to ponder this data.

 

In looking at this, most oil pollution occurs on the ocean. Air and land initiated pollution accounts for only 16%. This seems low to me. Mostly because non-point pollution is so difficult to capture and the world’s coastlines are very, very, long with the majority of the world’s population living near the coasts.

 

That made me wonder as to where this data came from, and I called in our present intern Jose Ramirez. It would be a perfect high school intern job to perform a little detective work on this graphic.

 

Jose performed a tremendous amount of sleuthing in trying to establish the source of the data and this information is provided below.

 

Since the story is long, I will provide the conclusion first:

 

There is no reliable quantitative data on ocean pollution, even in order of magnitude estimates, and don't believe any estimates unless you have been provided solid data

 

The above graphics represents a mishmash of data that is no more recent than the year 2001 and actually is an average of data going back as far as the 1970's. As such, it is disturbing that there is a 2015 article that references a graphic based on a 2003 report that is no better than orders of magnitude correct. So who is at fault here? The scientists attempting to make an estimate of oil polution in 2003? The fact that there is no more accurate more recent information? Or that authors recklessly cite inaccurate 2003 research results in a 2015 article on a subject that is in rapid flux.

 

Bottom line:

 

With regard to quantifying oil pollution in the oceans we are groping in the dark.

 

  read more »