The nonlinear finite-element method has been widely used in evaluating the ultimate strength of stiffened plates and part of hull girders, considering the effect of boundary conditions, geometrical initial imperfection and welding-induced residual stress in recent years. However, available research on the ultimate strength of large-sized structures, especially of semi-submersible platform is limited. New large-sized semi-submersible platform has been designed with lateral brace structure and square cross-section columns. The investigation of ultimate strength of the whole structure is of paramount importance in assessing the safety and design of such large structure. Therefore, in this paper, a three-dimensional nonlinear finite element model was developed to investigate the ultimate strength of a new generation of semi-submersible platform under different load conditions and its behavior after collapse using explicit dynamic solvers. Results showed that the time dependent dynamic explicit method was reliable and feasible for the calculation of ultimate strength of such complicated structure. For the target platform, the bracings and upper hull structure were the main bearing component and were critical for the ultimate strength of the whole structure. High stress occurred in connection areas and special attention shall be paid for.

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