3674. A Weight Analysis of Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia

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Title3674. A Weight Analysis of Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia
Publication TypeConference Paper
Paper Number3674
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMarickovich, Nicholas E.
Conference76th Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada
Conference LocationMontreal, Canada
PublisherSociety of Allied Weight Engineers, Inc.
Date Published05/2017

This paper presents a weight analysis of and radius of gyration calculations for the Civil War Ironclad CSS Virginia, built by the Confederate States Navy to attempt a break of the Union Blockade of Hampton Roads in Southeastern Virginia in 1862. The weight analysis was done in conjunction with a larger naval architecture analysis accomplished as a master’s thesis for an MS in Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech. This paper specifically reports the weight and radius of gyration analyses, and notes some of the conclusions that can be made based on the ship’s weights, basic hydrostatic properties, and estimated center of gravity.

The paper begins with a brief overview of the history behind the CSS Virginia, including the development of ironclad vessels up to 1862. The service life of the Virginia is briefly discussed to lend the weight analysis context.

The paper then discusses the weight analysis and radii of gyration calculations in detail. The weight analysis utilized a geometry model of the Virginia made using Paramarine software, as well as historical information in the form of model plans, books, articles, and other sources. Microsoft Excel was used to track the weights for the estimate, and a variety of methodologies were used to estimate different aspects of the ship’s weight and center of gravity. The different items examined included but were not limited to:

* Ship’s structure (the hull, decks, iron armor, etc.)
* Armaments and ammunition
* Provisions
* Weight of personnel serving on board and their effects
* Propulsion machinery weights

The weight estimate was used to develop radii of gyration calculations based on weight distributions per SAWE RP-17, Weight Distribution and Moments of Inertia for Marine Vehicles.

In the thesis (Marickovich, 2016), the information from the weight estimate was taken as an input for a larger naval architecture analysis of the CSS Virginia, particularly in regards to seakeeping. The results of the weight estimate are presented here, as are results from the analysis pertaining to initial stability (which is largely dependent on the ship’s vertical center of gravity). The overall results of the seakeeping analysis are very briefly mentioned, as well as a hypothesis questioning certain aspects of the history surrounding the Virginia’s destruction which is based on the ship’s hydrostatics. Readers interested in the broader naval architecture analysis should consult the full thesis, which is available through Virginia Tech’s ETD database.

Key Words13. Weight Engineering - Marine
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