There is an increasing interest in the lightweight design of ship and offshore structures, more specifically, choosing aluminum alloys or other lightweight high-performance materials to build structure components and ship equipments. Due to its better mechanical properties and easy assembly nature, extruded aluminum alloy stiffened plates are widely used in hull structures. When the load on the hull reaches a certain level during sailing, partial or overall instability of stiffened plate makes significant contribution in an event of collapse of the hull structure. It is very necessary to investigate the ultimate strength of aluminum alloy stiffened plate to ensure the ultimate bearing capacity of large aluminum alloy hull structure. Most of studies of the ultimate strength of stiffened plates deal with stiffened plates with T–shaped stiffeners. Stiffeners of other shapes have seldom been explored. In this research, the ultimate strength of six different cross–section aluminum alloy stiffened plates and one steel stiffened plate was studied based on the non–linear finite element analysis (FEA). Taking into account stiffness, weight and other issues, the new cross–section aluminum stiffener has finally been concluded for replacing the original steel stiffener in upper deck of a warship.

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