Offshore Mechanics was introduced in 1982 as a new branch of applied mechanics for offshore and deep-ocean engineering applications. Already in the 1970s it was recognized that the traditional branches of applied mechanics, mechanical engineering, civil-coastal engineering and naval architecture would not be able to individually solve complex offshore or ocean problems. These would have to be solved by interdisciplinary mechanics.
In January 1982, Jin S. Chung, then the technical editor of ASME Journal of Energy Resources Technology, introduced this interdisciplinary approach, integrating then the industry engineering approaches through the interactive treatment of hydrodynamics, structural or solid mechanics and dynamics. He named it Offshore Mechanics. This discipline title has been used part of journal title, conference title and an academic discipline.
Since then, a group of engineers has melded its individual disciplines in order to develop technologies for offshore drilling, deepwater drilling, production and transportation of oil and gas, and deep-ocean mining. They have grown this branch of applied mechanics, innovatively developing the technology for the exploration and exploitation of offshore and ocean energy resources to its present advanced level.
As offshore and deepwater drilling goes further and deeper, its requirements have become more complex and sophisticated, and demands on the practitioners of Offshore Mechanics are becoming yet greater and more crucial.
The reality for dealing with these demands is to face the need for numerical methods and a good understanding of the practical and operational sides of the problems. Engineers must approach these problems with realistic integrated solutions of hydrodynamics, structural mechanics, dynamics and control of the real ocean surface, water column and ocean-floor environments; they must augment these with advanced numerical methods, new computer technology, or geomechanics.
The industry has made progress in developing the technology for the offshore by facing and meeting its own needs; now it must continue to efficiently and innovatively use the interdisciplinary approach through the various branches of mechanics. In this, it must be joined by the academic community, whose responsibility it is to produce graduates capable of meeting these industry requirements. The right direction for the future lies in the joint participation of engineers and academics.
By Jin S Chung, Professor of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, January 1985