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Amphibious Craft Navigates FEA Waters

Amphibious Craft Navigates FEA Waters

If the key to the ARKTOS amphibious craft is an articulated arm that helps navigate extreme terrain, the linchpin in the success of the arm's complex mechanics is a design process that emphasized simulation and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) throughout critical stages of the development project.

The ARKTOS Craft, created by ARKTOS Development Ltd. (ADL), is an amphibious evacuation craft specifically designed to work the terrain of the frigid Arctic waters, typically for large oil and gas companies maintaining offshore rigs in these territories.

The ARKTOS Craft's claim to fame is the ability to move seamlessly from frigid, 50 degrees C temperatures, through burning flames, across ice rubble fields, and through quicksand -- mobility accomplished via its unique articulation arm design. The arm, which sits between the vessel's two main compartments, aids in making the seamless transition when moving between extreme environments, according to Bruce Seligman, president of ADL.

"Designing a lifeboat that works in water is one thing, and being able to get around solid ice another, but making the transition between solid ice and open water -- that's the mobility challenge," Seligman told us.

Starting in the late 1980s, ADL's engineers came up with a design of a craft that comprises a linked pair of units, each independently powered by a diesel engine. The key to making the configuration work is a hydraulically-powered articulation arm that links the two units while allowing them to operate at different angles -- the recipe for achieving the range of mobility necessary for transitioning between tough terrains.

Here's how it works: The front unit will climb from the water onto an ice shelf, and the hydraulics in the articulation arm allow it to drive forward while relying on the buoyancy of the rear unit to lift that compartment out of the water. This method of movement, Seligman claims, is what gives the ARKTOS Craft exceptional mobility moving across dissimilar footings, be it ice to water, land to ice, or even land to quicksand.

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