School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Bob Dow

Professor of Marine Structures


Research Interests

His principal research interests are in the development of theoretical methods for predicting the nonlinear elasto-plastic collapse and post collapse behaviour of plates and stiffened panels to provide a better understanding of the collapse mechanisms involved in Surface Ship and Submarine Structures, also the development of theoretical methods for predicting the ultimate strength of a ship's hull girder. The approaches developed have been incorporated into the Naval Engineering Standard for Surface Ship Structural Design and subsequently adopted by some classification societies for merchant ships. They have also applied retrospectively to existing British warships and have been instrumental in identifying and providing remedies for serious design deficiencies in current UK Warships.

He also applies these techniques to the development of structural design methods and limit states for predicting the buckling and collapse behaviour of Submarine Structures. These methods have now been incorporated in the UK Submarine Design Manual.

He is also heavily involved in the research and development for the use of composite material options for naval platforms. Developing methods for predicting the failure mechanisms for composite structural configurations employed in Naval Platforms. This work was instrumental in developing the structural configurations employed in UK Naval Minehunter Design and also in developing the concept of using composite materials for the superstructures of Naval Vessels.

Another primary research interest is the effect of shock, blast and UNDEX military loadings on the structural response of ship and submarine structures. This includes development of the physics behind the damage mechanisms and the design of structure to mitigate the effects of this type of loading.

He is also responsible for the Development of theoretical methods for predicting the loads on Surface Warships. This involved the development of both Strip Theory and 3D Panel Methods for prediction of the wave induced loads on ship structures in both the frequency and time domains. He has also been involved in the development of 3D Hydroelastic methods for predicting wave induced loads on ships structures, including the effects of slamming and slam induced whipping. These developments included the second order (nonlinear) terms and high Froude number effects.

Prof Dow has also been involved in the development of structural concepts for the use of trimaran hull forms for naval combatants for the UK Ministry of Defence, which ultimately led to the design and build of RV Triton for the UK MOD.

Other Expertise

Other areas of expertise include the application of Finite Element Methods to investigate Fatigue Crack Initiation and Crack Propagation in Ship and Offshore Structures.

The modelling of accidental loadings such as collisions and grounding on the structure of ships and offshore structure and the development of methods for predicting there damaged residual strength and there ability to survive in the damaged state. Also the development of Damage Tolerant structural configurations for Ships and Offshore Platforms.

Current Work

Current research is largely supported by EU and UK and Foreign Government and Industry and involves work in the following areas:

- Development of structural design, assessment and analysis techniques for submarine structures;
- Investigation of the loading and structural response of ship structures to collision and grounding loadings;
- The global and local failure mechanisms and progressive collapse modelling of composite marine structures;
- The development of simplified 3D methods for predicting the Progressive Collapse of a Ships hull girder subject to Bending, shear and pressure loadings.

Future Research

Development of techniques for investigating the response of commercial shipping infrastructure, such as passenger ships and car ferries, to the effect of terrorist attack. Development of improved structural configurations and safe operating procedures to minimise casualties and damage effects.

The benefits of using high strength steels for naval structures: investigating strength/stiffness/fatigue as well as produceability.

The use of Aluminiun Alloys for marine structures particularly for lightweight, high speed craft. A particular interest is the abilty of aluminium structural designs to withstand accidental loadings such as collisions and grounding.

Esteem Indicators

Member of the Editorial board of Marine Structures Journal.
Member of Lloyds Naval Ships Rules Technical Committee.
Member if the International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress (ISSC) where I have been a committee chairman 3 times and served on committees since 1982.
Member of the ASRANET Steering Committee.
Previously: Member of the UK Ship Structures Committee
Memeber of the I.Mech.E. Mechanics of Solids Committe
Member of British Standards Committe to Draft Aluminium
Code of Practice
Mermber of the International Committee to Develop the
EUROCOMP Design Code
Chaired sessions at numerous International Conferences and given Keynote Lectures.


Undergraduate Teaching

Undergraduate teching on Marine Structures and Materials for the Marine Environment.

Postgraduate Teaching

Postgradute teaching in Marine Structures and the Application of Nonlinear Finite element Methods.