Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory

Equipment Type: Laboratory

We do the majority of our experimental research in the Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory. It's also used for undergraduate and postgraduate student project work, research projects and commercial testing.

Using this facility,we can determine the survivability of damaged ships, fluid structure-interaction for slender structures, sporting fluid dynamics and marine renewable energy.

We're now one of the leading providers of testing services to the UK tidal and wave energy industry. We provide repeatable and controllable conditions for testing of wave and tidal energy devices on a moderate scale.

The Kelvin Hydrodynamics laboratory is located off campus, in the North of Glasgow. It's next to the West of Scotland Science Park. Travel from the city centre or Glasgow airport will take around half an hour in a taxi.

We use the tank for a wide range of marine hydrodynamics tests including measurement of:

ship resistance and sea-keeping
unsteady motion of ships and floating bodies
survivability of damaged ships
hydrodynamics of towed surface-piercing and submerged bodies
ocean engineering studies including vortex-induced vibration and vortex-induced motion
wave impact and slamming studies
marine renewable energy studies including device performance, maintainability and survivability
sporting fluid dynamics

Tank dimensions: 76m x 4.6m x 2.5m


computer-controlled digital drive: max speed 5m/s. Equipped with digitally-controlled sub-carriage.


variable-water-depth computer-controlled four-flap absorbing wavemaker generating regular or irregular waves over 0.5m height (subject to water depth)
high quality variable-water-depth sloping beach, with reflection coefficient typically less than 5% over frequency range of interest

Data acquisition

PC based modular data acquisition/control system
up to 64 input and 20 output channels, sample rate up to 60kHz

General details

The Kelvin Hydrodynamics Lab tank provides excellent conditions for measuring the performance of surface ships and a wide variety of floating and underwater structures.

Ship models used are up to 4m in length. High quality, single frequency waves and random sea states may be generated with wave heights over 0.5m.

The motions of floating vessels and structures are measured using a state-of-the-art, real-time, non-contact infrared camera system.

Resistance dynamometers for different vessel types and model sizes are available as well as a six degree-of-freedom dynamometer for force measurement. Up to 25 wave probes may be used to determine water surface elevation in the tank. A 3-axis fluid velocity measurement system and a PIV system are also available. Pressure distributions on model surfaces can be measured. Above-water and underwater video systems are available.
Technical support

You'll have support from our technicians while on-site.

Ship model making and fit-out services are available. Complex shapes can be manufactured using a 5m CNC router. Customised mechanical systems and transducers can also be manufactured.

76m x 4.6m x 2.5m
Available for use/hire by external contacts