Model testing at the Offshore Technology Research Center.
The Ocean Engineering Program participates in several research centers and laboratories associated with Texas A&M University
We are also the home to several other significant research facilities
The Hydromechanics Laboratory, or Hydrolab, is home to the graduate student offices and computer laboratories, as well as, to many of the Program’s laboratory facilities. Also, the Human Powered Submarine is built in the Hydrolab by the Ocean Engineering Undergraduates.
Among the Hydrolab’s many assets is a long glass-walled wave tank that is 3 feet deep, 2 feet wide, and 120 feet long. It is equipped with a random wave generator, a towing carriage and a fan system capable of producing a wind speed of 50 feet per second over the water’s surface. The wave generator and fan system may be used independently or simultaneously. The channel has been used to study the effects of waves on submerged and surface piercing structures, submerged pipelines, and oil spills.
Another unique facility is the large shallow water wave flume, equipped with a plunger-type wave generator and a towing carriage capable of moving at a maximum speed of six feet per second. The tank measures 2.5 feet deep, 32 feet wide and 86 feet long. Currents associated with a maximum flow rate of 1.5 cubic feet per second can be produced in the tank. The tank has been used for three-dimensional studies of harbors, dredge discharge dispersion, pneumatic and segmented breakwaters, inland dredge operations in waves, coastal erosion, and scour around offshore platforms.
The laboratory has a towing tank facility that is an in-floor concrete open channel 10 feet deep, 5 feet wide and 165 feet long with a full-depth observation pit. The tank is equipped with an electrically controlled towing carriage that has a maximum speed of 12 feet per second. Currents associated with a maximum flow rate of 15 cubic feet per second can be produced in the tank. A two-ton overhead crane system above the towing tank is used to move large models in and out of the tank. A hydraulic random wave generator is installed near one end of the tank and it can generate 18-inch waves in 7 feet of water.
Two variable slope open channel flumes are in operation in the laboratories. The larger flume measures four feet deep, two feet wide and 150 feet long with a maximum flow rate of 25 cubic feet per second. It has been used in the study of wave and current forces on a submerged pipeline. The smaller flume is 14 inches deep, 8 inches wide and 45 feet long with a maximum flow rate of 1.5 cubic feet per second. It is also equipped with a paddle-type wave generator.
The laboratory also houses laboratory facilities for the Center for Dredging Studies. A large dredge pump test stand and a slurry pipeline test loop are available for teaching and research. Primary components are an 800 cubic foot vacuum tank, a 300 horsepower electric motor, and a 300 horsepower variable speed drive. The pipeline test loop consists of three 180-foot long pipes with diameters of four inches, six inches and eight inches. Pressure taps and manometers monitor losses along the entire length of each pipe, and power is supplied from the dredge pump test facility. In addition, a magnetic flow meter and a nuclear density meter have been installed in the test loop system.
Human powered submarines in the student laboratory.