Nonlinear finite element analysis is usually used to assess the ultimate strength of hull girder, which includes implicit analysis and explicit dynamic analysis. So far, most of researchers use the implicit analysis to assess the ultimate strength of various vessels or stiffened plates. Comparing with the implicit analysis, the explicit dynamic analysis may be more stable since this method doesn’t need to consider the convergence of solution, and can consider the transient influence of time. However, the accuracy of solution results and time in the explicit dynamic method is very important. This depends on modelling configurations, such as the loading time, geometric ranges of finite element models, element types and applying methods of loading. The purpose of the present paper is to investigate the influences of these factors, and then to figure out a reliable numerical method which meets permitted accuracy and consumes acceptable computer resource in explicit dynamic analysis.

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