Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 3 - Marintek Tour

After a very successful morning and afternoon of testing with the IVER we, along with Kasper, visited the Norwegian Marine Technology Research Institute in Trondheim. Our guide, Frederick, was extremely accommodating by letting us push back the tour by a few hours to accommodate time for more testing back at TBS. (Tusen Takk!) This research institute is made up of NTNU facilities manned by researchers and students, as well as Marintek facilities. Marintek is a research company in the SINTEF Group, which is the largest independent research organization in all of Scandinavia. Frederick discussed how the NTNU group and Marintek are connected on many levels, yet also disconnected in their major operations. For the tour we were able to view a couple of Marintek's testing facilities including two ship model tanks and an ocean basin. Unfortunately pictures are not allowed inside the testing areas due to the cutting edge ship designs modeled within the lab, so I will try my best to describe what we saw.

The first testing area was a massive ship model tank unlike anything any of us had seen before. The tank was first constructed in 1939 and is essentially a controlled wave pool that is used as a testing and proving grounds for scaled down models of new ship and oil rig designs. These models vary in size and are created on a 5-axis milling machine. They were very detailed and intricate to ensure accuracy and also seemed quite sturdy. The models themselves ranged from around 10-20 ft long and 3-5 feet wide. On top of the pool there was a rail system that has a testing bed attached to it outfitted with all sorts of instrumentation and video equipment for test trials. The models are attached underneath the test bay and can be pulled as fast as 10 m/s (22 MPH) to simulate movement. The generated waves can be as large as 0.9 m (2.95 ft), which, according to Frederick, are scaled to be about the largest possible wave a boat will ever see in the ocean. This pool was extremely impressive and very large. It became very clear that Norway is an absolute international leader in this field of design and testing, which was confirmed by Frederick's description of the uniqueness of this facility on an international scale.

The next facility was an ocean basin . This basin is also used to test new ship and offshore structure designs. This facility allows for total environmental simulation including wind, waves, and current. The ocean basin is used more for the testing of offshore platforms and ships when multiple environmental simulated conditions are desired. With a depth of 10m, the basin is also very well suited for deep water structure testing. The entire pool is surrounded by media equipment and sensors to provide the data to analyze what exactly happens to these models. This testing basin only furthered our feeling that this facility was really...really cool! I couldn't help but visualize the IVER propelling around in those pools.

After the ocean basin, we went to see the lab Frederick performs his research in. Again we found ourselves shocked to see the "smaller" testing pool was still a quite massive ship model tank used mainly for testing automated control systems for dynamic stabilization of ships. After a "short" walk down to the end of the pool we were told about the Cavitation Tunnel facility that is used to test new propeller designs for ships.

This led to the end of an extremely impressive tour. Many thanks to Frederick and Marinetek!

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