Composite Springs for Mooring Tensioners: A Systematic Review of Material Selection, Fatigue Performance, Manufacturing, and Applications
2. Mooring Systems and Mechanical Mooring Tensioners
2.1. Current Configuration of Mooring Tensioners
2.2. Failures of Current Mooring Systems
- Manufacturing defects: the strength of the manufactured component is lower than the designed value, which can cause failures.
- Wear and corrosion: steel catenary chains experience wear and corrosion at different rates in different water conditions. Corrosion caused by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) and the interlink wear of steel chains can accelerate the corrosion and wear rate by up to 10 times .
- Fatigue loading: interlink rotation is inhibited by the friction and yielding between the links of chains because the frictional forces are proportional to the applied tension force. As a result of this friction, out-of-plane bending fatigue has caused failures such as the taut-moored CALM buoy in West Africa .
- Installation damage: the designed installation procedures have not been strictly followed, which causes twists and the wear of mooring lines during installation.
2.3. Mooring System of Wave Energy Converters
2.4. Potential Innovation of Mooring Systems
- The taut-leg mooring system requires adequate elasticity to absorb energy generated by the motion of the float caused by waves.
- The current taut-leg mooring systems can only be implemented at locations with low wave energy.
2.4.1. Potential Taut-Leg Mooring System for Offshore Wind Turbines
2.4.2. Potential Taut-Leg Mooring System for Marine Vessels
3. Material Selection
3.1. Loading Conditions of Mooring Tensioner
3.2. Adjustment of Spring Constant
|Type of Material||Fiber Volume Fraction||Tensile Modulus (GPa)||Ultimate Tensile Strength (MPa)||Density (g/cm3)||Fatigue Strength at 106 Cycles (MPa)|
|Copper wire (Phosphor Bronze Grade A ASTM B 159) ||N/A||128||724||8.86||241 |
|Stainless-steel wire (17–7 PH |
ASTM A 313 (631)) 
|High-carbon spring steel (Hard Drawn ASTM A 227) ||N/A||207||1014||7.85||920 |
|Gurit SparPreg unidirectional E glass/epoxy ||68%||44||935||2.14 2||420.8 3|
|Gurit SparPreg unidirectional carbon fiber/epoxy ||66%||140||2234||1.55||720.6 4|
|AGY unidirectional S-2 glass/epoxy ||57–63%||53–59||1590–2000||1.96–2.02||552.0|
3.3. Specific Strain Energy
3.4. Static Strength
3.5. Fatigue Performance
3.5.1. Effect of Fiber Orientation on Fatigue Strength of Composites
3.5.2. Effect of Stress Ratios on Fatigue Strength of Composites
3.5.3. Effect of Fiber Volume Fraction on Fatigue Strength of Composites
3.6. Comparison of Mechanical Properties between Different Types of Fibers and Matrices in Dry and Seawater Conditions
3.6.1. Comparison of Different Fibers in Dry Conditions
3.6.2. Comparison of Different Fibers in Seawater Conditions
3.6.3. Comparison of Different Matrices in Seawater Conditions
|Type of Composite||Saturation and Leaching Conditions||Change in Mechanical Properties|
|Max Water Uptake % at Immersion Time||Leaching Conditions||Duration of Immersion Test||Reference||Flexural Strength at Duration of Seawater Immersion (MPa)||Flexural Strength under Dry Conditions (MPa)||Reference|
|Carbon/polyester 88% cured||0.3 at 2 months||Leaching after max saturation||3 years||||624 at 52 days 1 ||833|||
|E glass/polyester |
|0.4 at 2 months||Leaching after max saturation||3 years||||72 at 52 days 1 ||120|||
|Carbon/vinyl ester |
|0.55 at 12 months||Does not leach out||2 years||||150 at 450 days||280|||
|E glass/vinyl ester 88% cured||0.55 at 3 months||Does not leach out||2 years||||62 at 450 days||80|||
|Carbon/epoxy||0.9 at around 150 days||Does not leach out||267 days||||180 at 450 days||260|||
|E glass/epoxy||0.88 at around 365 days||Does not leach out||450 days||||55 at 450 days||85|||
|Carbon/acrylic||0.8 at around 70 days||Does not leach out||540 days||||N/A||N/A|
3.7. Effect of Moisture on the Fatigue Strength of Composites
|Reference||Fiber/Matrix Type||Laminates||Conditions||UTS MPa||Fatigue Strength at 106 Cycles MPa||Load Conditions||Fatigue Strength Reduction for the Range of Cycles|
|||E glass/epoxy |
3 M Type 1003
|0° UD 10 layers||Dry/room temperature||800||350||Tension–compression, R = −1||−55% (from UTS to 106)|
|||E glass/epoxy Ahlstrom#42,007||[(45°/135°/90°/0°)2] s||Dry||N/A||130||T–T, R = 0.1||−43% (from 102 to 106)|
|||E glass/epoxy Ahlstrom#42,007||[(45°/135°/90°/0°)2] s||20 months immersed 30 °C water||N/A||115||T–T, R = 0.1||−50% (from 102 to 106)|
|||E glass/vinyl-ester Derakane 510 A matrix and Vetrotex 324 woven-roving fabric||[0/45/90/−45/0] s||Dry/room temperature||N/A||100||T–T, R = 0.1||−58% (from 103 to 106)|
|||S2 glass vinylester-350 |
|12.7 mm thickness, 20 layers plain weave||Dry/room temperature||N/A||210||T–T, R = 0.1||−33% (from 104 to 106)|
|||Carbon fiber/epoxy resin |
|24 ply 0° UD||Dry/room temperature||N/A||510||T–T, R = 0.1||−26% (from 102 to 106)|
|||Carbon fiber/epoxy resin |
|24 ply 0° UD||Dry/room temperature||N/A||450||T–C, R = −2||−33% (from 102 to 106)|
|||AS-4 carbon fiber/PEEK||[0/45/90/−45]2 s||Dry/room temperature||N/A||406||T–T, R = 0.1||−22% (from 102 to 106)|
3.8. Comparison between Composites and Metal Materials
4. Overview of Spring Types and Manufacturing Methods
5. Conclusions and Recommendations for Future Studies
- The fatigue strength of composite materials is affected by the type of fiber and matrix, the fiber volume fraction, and the fiber orientation. A fiber volume fraction of 45–60% provides superior fatigue strength. The fatigue strength starts to decrease when the fiber fraction is greater than 70%.
- Carbon fiber has superior seawater resistance and does not react with seawater. However, carbon fibers with a relatively high modulus might not be suitable for applications requiring high elasticity.
- It is not recommended to use E-glass-reinforced composites in submerged seawater conditions due to their low chemical resistance and seawater resistance.
- It was found that R glass and S glass have a higher strength and seawater resistance than E glass. Thus, glass fibers such as AR glass, R glass, and S glass could be the desired material options for applications requiring high elasticity in offshore environments.
- Epoxy, acrylics, and vinyl esters reached saturation conditions and did not leach out within the experimental duration in water-immersion conditions.
- Polyester was found to leach out organic species after it reached maximum weight gain at around 2 months immersed in seawater at room temperature. Leaching could cause the severe degradation of the mechanical properties of composites, and therefore polyester may not be suitable for applications in seawater for long-term service.
- Potential composite mooring tensioner manufacturing methods such as the vacuum-assisted resin infusion of composite multistrand springs, high-pressure resin transfer molding, filament winding, and automated fiber placement may be suitable manufacturing methods for large composite springs.
5.2. Recommendations for Future Studies
- The comparison of mechanical property degradation for E-glass-, S-glass-, AR-glass, and R-glass-reinforced epoxy in seawater immersion conditions. Understanding how R glass, S glass, AR glass fiber/epoxy perform in fatigue loading under seawater immersion.
- The development of toughening methods for the matrix to increase the fatigue strength of composite materials in seawater environments.
- The development of an efficient and durable composite mechanical tensioner to provide a desired specific strain energy and compact configuration for offshore applications.
- Additive manufacturing methods are gaining popularity across many industries. With respect to the manufacture of composite spring elements discussed in this paper, a potential benefit of additive composite manufacture is the ability to produce large structures without the need for large molds. This research area is still in its infancy, and currently the structural properties of additively manufactured composites cannot compete with those of traditional manufacturing processes. Consequently, research efforts are required to develop new additive composite manufacturing properties targeting the manufacture of high-quality large structures.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Inventors||Title of Patent||Pub. No.||Functions||Applicable to Point-Absorber WECs|
|Steven John Leverette, Richmond; Jack Pollack, Camarillo ||In-line mooring connector and tensioner||US 2014/0026796 A1||Improvement of mooring systems for offshore vessels, enabling the adjustment of the length and tension of the mooring lines.||No|
|Richard Taylor ||Mooring tensioner and methods thereof||WO2018025018A1||Improvement of mooring systems for offshore structures to avoid costly and time-intensive installation of a winch on each structure.||No|
|Lisland Torkjell ||Mooring pulley tensioning system||EP3251942B1||The aim of this patent application was to provide arrangements and methods with little or no requirement for equipment on the deck of the vessel that are still be able to perform installation, tensioning, re-tensioning, repositioning, and replacement operations.||No|
|Thomas C. Bauer ||Systems and methods for tensioning mooring lines at the seafloor||US9487272B2||Systems and methods are disclosed for deploying one or more anchor piles on the seafloor using submersible line tensioning systems and techniques to achieve the tensioning of mooring lines at the seafloor rather than at the conventional vessel deck level.||No|
|Design Criteria of Mooring Tensioner||Applications of Mooring Tensioner|
|Offshore WEC||Offshore Wind Farm||Offshore Oil Rig and Platform||Boat||Fish Cage|
|Importance of minimizing cost||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Very important||Very important|
|Specific strain energy||High specific strain energy to maximize efficiency of electricity generation.||Suitable specific strain energy to dissipate wave energy and increase the durability of the mooring system.|
|Durability||Good durability is required due to relatively large loads and difficult access to mooring system for maintenance.||Cost effectiveness is prioritized because of relatively lighter loads and easy access to mooring system for maintenance.|
|Type of Fiber in UD Epoxy Composite||Fiber Volume Fraction for Static Properties||Density||Price||Young’s Modulus||Static Ultimate Strength (MPa)||Fiber Volume Fraction for Fatigue Properties||Fatigue Strength under Dry Conditions at 300,000 Cycles (MPa)||Fatigue Strength under Dry Conditions at 106 cycles (MPa)|
|%||kgm−3||$/kg||Axial GPa||Bending GPa||Tension||Compression||Reference||%||R = 0||R = 10||Reference||R = 0||R = 10||Reference|
|Aksaca A–42 carbon fiber||N/A 4||1568 1||N/A||145.4 1||N/A||2547 1||N/A||||N/A||560 R = 0.1||360||||550 |
R = 0.1
|E Glass||60||2000||6||44.1||43||1030||750||[54,55]||63.4 ||350||200||[56,57]||320||N/A|||
|S2 Glass||57–63 ||1990||20||56||47||1800||950||[58,59]||57–63 ||550||475||[48,60]||540 |
(R = 0.05)
|R Glass||60||1945 1||N/A||54||46.6 2||1420 3||N/A||||N/A||N/A||N/A||||N/A||N/A|||
|Aramid||41||1284 1||40||65||65 5||1250||230||||N/A||650||120||[48,49,50]||N/A||N/A||[48,49,50]|
|Type of Composite||Conditions of Immersion||Typical Modulus of Elasticity (GPa)||Degradation of Fiber Mechanical Properties in Seawater||Theories of Degradation in Seawater|
|E-glass/epoxy||Seawater||73 ||Very high||Alkali ions (such as NaOH–) are leached out from the fiber surface and replaced by protons (such as H+ ions). This results in alkali oxides being leached out and the formation of surface microcracks in E-glass in seawater .|
|S-glass/epoxy||85.5 ||Moderate||Higher strength and better alkaline resistance than E-glass .|
|R-glass/epoxy||86 ||Moderate||Higher strength and better alkaline resistance than E-glass .|
|Alkali resistant (AR) glass fiber/epoxy ||5wt% NaOH aqueous solution ||76 ||N/A |
(no comparison with other fibers)
|Alkaline resistance of AR glass fiber is higher than that of E-glass because it contains more than 10% zirconia (ZrO2) as a component of its molecular structure .|
|ECR-glass/epoxy||Seawater||72 ||Moderate||Superior acid resistance compared to E-glass, but only slightly more resistant to alkalis .|
|Carbon fiber/epoxy||140 ||Low||Carbon fibers do not react with seawater and their properties do not change for the temperature range of −60 °C to 200 °C .|
|Reference||Type of Spring||Type of Composite||Manufacturing Method||Applications||Advantages|
|||Composite spiral springs.||S2 glass/epoxy UD and T700S carbon fiber/epoxy UD prepreg.||S2 glass/epoxy spiral spring was constructed by manual impregnation. Carbon fiber/epoxy spiral spring was constructed by prepreg layup and autoclave cure.||Energy storage and power handling systems.||Can store mechanical energy.|
|[86,87]||Composite semi-elliptical and elliptical springs.||Woven roving glass/epoxy and carbon fiber/epoxy composite.||Woven roving fabric passed through a resin bath and was then applied onto a wooden mandrel to form a semi-elliptical spring. Cured at room temperature for 24 h.||Novel automotive suspension spring design instead of existing leaf or coil composite spring.||The failure is dominated by the compressive and tensile loading of fibers instead of being dominated by the matrix like a leaf spring.|
|||Composite helical springs.||Carbon fiber tow (Toray®, T300-3K)/epoxy resin.||Vacuum-assisted resin infusion method.||Automotive suspension spring.||Adjustable spring constant can be achieved by changing volume fraction of fiber, type of fibers and matrices, and geometry of spring.|
|||Composite helical springs.||Glass/epoxy with addition of graphite powder.||Filament-winding |
|Automotive suspension spring.||Weight reduction and fuel saving for car users. Filament-winding method minimizes the labor cost.|
|||Disk Springs.||Carbon fiber/epoxy composite.||Hand lay up of prepreg, cured at 121 °C.||Automotive suspension spring.||Superior mechanical properties under flexural loading conditions.|
|||Tape springs.||Carbon fiber/epoxy composite.||Fabrication of curved lamina, fabrication of coiled lamina, and fabrication of lamina bonding.||N/A.||Novel conceptual design.|
|[3,90,91]||Composite leaf springs.||E glass fiber/epoxy composite.||High-pressure resin transfer molding and hand layup of the unidirectional prepreg on mold.||Automotive suspension spring.||Superior specific strength and stiffness, strong load carrying capacity and fatigue characteristics.|
|Manufacturing Method of Composite Springs||Advantages||Disadvantages||Limitations|
|Vacuum-assisted resin infusion|
|High-pressure resin transfer molding (RTM)|
|Automated fiber placement (AFP)|
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Cai, Y.; Bazli, M.; Basnayake, A.P.; Veidt, M.; Heitzmann, M.T. Composite Springs for Mooring Tensioners: A Systematic Review of Material Selection, Fatigue Performance, Manufacturing, and Applications. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10, 1286. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10091286
Cai Y, Bazli M, Basnayake AP, Veidt M, Heitzmann MT. Composite Springs for Mooring Tensioners: A Systematic Review of Material Selection, Fatigue Performance, Manufacturing, and Applications. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2022; 10(9):1286. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10091286Chicago/Turabian Style
Cai, Yuanzhen, Milad Bazli, Asanka P. Basnayake, Martin Veidt, and Michael T. Heitzmann. 2022. "Composite Springs for Mooring Tensioners: A Systematic Review of Material Selection, Fatigue Performance, Manufacturing, and Applications" Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 10, no. 9: 1286. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10091286