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Boldrewood Towing Tank, University of Southampton

The Boldrewood Towing Tank is the only facility of its scale based at a UK university and as a member of the National Wind Tunnel Facility (NWTF), it’s a national resource open to all researchers and industry.

Short film of the Towing Tank:

The tank itself is 138 meters long, 6 meters wide, 3.5 meters deep, and is equipped with wave makers. The carriage can run at speeds up to 10m/s with models that are up to about two tonnes in weight.  Located at the Boldrewood Innovation Campus – part of the University of Southampton, it’s the first new tank of its scale built in the UK since the 1960’s.

The towing tank is used for fundamental research, teaching undergraduate students and masters students as well as commercial consultancy work. As one of the commercial customers, the Wolfson Unit has a long history of testing in a range of different facilities around the world, but being co-located with the towing tank allows them to develop techniques and work with academic researchers to turn these projects into commercial offerings that can be delivered to industry on commercial timescales.

The towing tank can also be used to measure the power needed for a ship at full scale by carrying out resistance tests, self-propelled tests and open water propeller tests. This feeds into the design of full-scale ships. However, there’s a wider range of activities that are also facilitated. The marine renewable sector as everyone knows is growing very rapidly. Floating offshore wind turbines, wave energy devices, tidal turbines can all be tested in this facility. The research team can also do work on the system development again a new sector that is rapidly evolving, autonomous surface vessels. In fact, some of the experiments that have been carried out recently have been with a self-propelled free running model which is designed to investigate the power demand for the next generation of zero carbon ships.

To find out more on how to carry out your test program at the Boldrewood Towing Tank, contact [email protected].