Nicholas Barczak

2022-May-02

How Propulsion Works: Classifying Ship Propulsion

No doubt, the math of propulsion devices is complicated. But it is all the same physics. By dividing each of these devices into their essential tasks, we find new opportunities. New methods of propulsion from different combinations of old tricks. Insight into this continuum allows us to better classify marine propulsion and dissect past successes to search for new combinations.
2022-Apr-04

Ever Given: Maneuvering Options

How to maneuver a massive freighter into port? CAREFULLY. We design freighters around the scenario of open ocean passage at full speed. But each freighter needs to enter port, pass through canals, and a host of other precision maneuvers executed at a fraction of their design speed. How do massive commercial ships manage precision maneuvers every day?
2022-Mar-21

Ever Given: What We Don’t Know

Like everyone else, I watched the story of the Ever Given and formed my own theories about what happened. Except I was wrong. As the events unfolded, new information came out and I learned the increasing complexity of the accident. Each time, I developed a new theory, which failed with new information. Over a year later, what is the answer? Let’s review what we know and still do not know about the Ever Given incident.
2022-Feb-21

Stability Letters Explained

For small vessels, the major problem with stability letters is explaining it to the captains. Today I will review a stability letter and give plain English interpretation of all the boring mumbo-jumbo.
2022-Jan-21

Three Neat Tricks with Marine Cranes

Three neat things you didn’t know about marine cranes! Every now and then, it’s fun to step back and appreciate the innovation that allowed us to adapt industrial cranes to the marine environment.
2021-Nov-01

Cranes on Ships: Introduction to Crane Integration

In the marine world, we see cranes daily; they are very useful pieces of equipment. Despite their common appearance, we need to remember their potential for disaster. Cranes on ships generate new, subtle risks for lifting operations. Unless you know what to look for, the risks can go undetected. This article reviews the major dangers of cranes on ships.
2021-Oct-04

Strength and Stiffness: Design of Structural Foundations

No foundation is perfect. Each design reveals new insight and opportunities for further improvement. The art of foundation design finds an efficient arrangement to redistribute concentrated loads into the general ship structure. I review basic strategies for foundation design.
2021-Apr-05

Class Societies

Class societies are not perfect, but they are absolutely necessary. We need organizations to provide quality assurance on ships, whose primary motivation lies solely in the quality of the ship, and not with national interests. Despite this necessity, a class society works best when we remember that they are not perfect. Everyone has their bias, and when we balance these biases, we create a fine seaworthy ship.
2021-Feb-01

5 Steps to (NOT) Build a Boat

No matter what, building your own yacht will always require more than you anticipated. Before making the commitment to build your own boat, take time to seriously consider all the hidden costs and extra effort required. The best yacht for you is the one you can finish.
2021-Jan-18

Free Surface Moment

Without proper management, the shifting liquid in a ship’s tanks can create a lethal scenario. Free surface moment (FSM) is one of the most frequently misunderstood elements in ship operation. The deck officer that values their life wants to understand free surface moment. The physics behind it, and how it applies to ship operating limits.
2021-Jan-04

Composite Materials

Theoretically, composites promise strength several thousand times greater than steel. So why don’t we have composite materials everywhere? The practical design of composites severly limits their capabilities. Once you understand the practical limits, it provides a useful design guide for how to apply composites and maximize their advantages.
2020-Nov-02

Practical Stability Test: Naval Architect’s Guide

Every naval architect learns the theory of how to perform a stability test. But a well executed stability test employs very little theory, and a great deal of practical experience. This guide imparts some of that hard earned experience to make your next stability test go well.
2020-Oct-19

Stability Test Theory

What science could possibly link moving a few weights on deck with calculating the light ship weight? Armed with knowledge, we carefully exploit physics to achieve high quality science without the fancy equipment. Today I explain some of the theory behind the stability test.
2020-Sep-07

Practical Stability Test: Chief Engineer’s Guide

A stability test requires extensive work to prepare the vessel. Where do you go to find that work list? This guide should give you some advanced warning of what to expect. It covers all the practical matters for a Chief Engineer to prepare for their next stability test.
2020-Aug-17

Practical Stability Test: Master’s Guide

Smooth stability tests require planning, and practicality. As the vessel Master, you want to prepare for this thing that completely disrupts vessel operations. But you are a busy person, and engineers are very long winded. Instead, this guide provides a brief overview, focusing on the major elements that concern you with a stability test.