Author(s): Henry H Lei
Abstract: Marine platforms such as pontoons or barges often need to be joined together to create a larger overall working surface such as a bridge, a floating base or a floating causeway. This paper discussed the key technical challenges of joining such platforms for constructing large floating platforms in rough seas. Nine relevant patents on pontoon connector designs are reviewed. A novel design concept is introduced, which consists of Hans patented Fender Connector  and Frictional Locking Connector . The design concept amalgamates the multiple functional requirements, such as rapid self-alignment, impact attenuation, self-tensioning, rigid engagement and superior strength into an integrated design. The engineering process from concept generation, model testing, detailed design and evaluation, material selection, prototyping and sea trials are presented. Current and future development of the technologies are discussed. Potential applications are illustrated.
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