Influence of the design constraints on the thickness optimization of glass panes to achieve lightweight insulating glass units in cruise ships

Janne Heiskari*, Jani Romanoff, Aleksi Laakso, Jonas W. Ringsberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing complexity and size in cruise ships demands for lightweight structures and practical but accurate design methods. Conventionally, the focus has been on the steel parts of the ship, as they make most of its weight. However, the proportions of other materials are increasing. Therefore, this study attempts to provide better understanding how one could reach the lightweight designs of insulating glass units (IGUs) in ships. These are windows where at least two glass panes are separated by a hermetically sealed cavity. They are thin-walled structures that benefit not only from the geometrically nonlinear behavior, but also from the load sharing. Considering these effects, their behavior is studied using the nonlinear Finite Element Method and Particle Swarm Optimization. Different design criteria are imposed on the thickness determination of the glass panes with different shapes. Rectangular, triangular, and circular shapes are considered. The results show that the triangular shapes have the least weight for a given area when the deflection criterion is the dominating one. When maximum principal stress is the thickness defining criterion, the shapes perform almost equally well. The ratio between the pane thicknesses had the most influence on the behavior of the IGU. As it increases, i.e., one pane is significantly thicker than the other, the load sharing percentage drops, but it provides the most lightweight solution. Closer it is to 1, more equally the structural stresses are divided between the panes, i.e., redundancy is achieved. Finally, it is possible to establish a simple but effective method for the thickness determination of these IGUs using the results of this study. However, more work is required, including numerical analysis and experimental testing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103409
Number of pages27
JournalMarine Structures
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Insulating glass unit
  • Particle swarm optimization
  • Cruise ship design
  • Nonlinear finite element analysis
  • Classification
  • Load sharing


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