Making Waves in the Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus Towing Tank

Figure1: Breaking wave formation in the towing tank
Figure1: Breaking wave formation in the towing tank

Research has recently been undertaken utilising the new 138m towing tank at the University of Southampton.  Funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) via the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), the research is a collaboration between Dr Sally Bennett (Fluid-Structure Interactions) and Prof. Robert Marsh (Ocean and Earth Sciences) which looks at the characterisation of freak wave groups for safer ship routing. The research strongly links with PhD research being undertaken by Alex Cattrell within the Fluid-Structure Interactions group at University of Southampton.

Figure 2: Formation of a spilling breaker at the focus location beneath the towing carriage
Figure 2: Formation of a spilling breaker at the focus location beneath the towing carriage

The recent testing focussed on the characterisation of freak waves and freak wave groups in terms of their formation and shape.  Waves were generated at a scale of 1:22.  A combination of photography, video imagery and state-of-the-art ultrasonic wave probe technology was used to analyse the wave formation including breaking wave characteristics where appropriate.   A video of some of the testing can be found at https://youtu.be/EQ05QXMoShg.

Following this investigation into the wave groups themselves, this project will continue by looking at the influence of these waves on a ship, and how to manoeuvre the vessel through the waves to minimise structural loading, and therefore damage.

 

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