On a Naval Engineering Laboratory

Why was I in Japan, last year?

Tourism?

No! I’m a Naval Engineer, and I went to a laboratory in Japan to learn from their way of making experiments. But… this was my first flight outside Brazil, the first time I visited a foreign country! So, of course there was much to see, much to learn, in many senses…

Anyway…. It just ocurred to me that the environment where I work, a Laboratory of Hydrodynamics, is as alien to most of the readers of this blog as the Japanese Culture, the secret places in Italy, or actually even more!

So here goes some pictures of the laboratory in Japan, just to give you an idea of this strange place…


It is basically a long water tank, deeper than a swimming pool. It is officially called a “towing tank”. The one where I work in São Paulo is 4 meters in depth. This one in Japan is 3.5 meters in depth.


In this picture below you can see clearly one of the rails… There are rails along the tank so that a “towing carriage” can move along it pushing a ship model or anything else whose hydrodynamics you want to investigate (it can be a foil, some strange shape, or even the model or an airplane!)


A towing tank usually has, also, a wave-maker on one of its ends. This tank in Japan, in fact, has a very complex wave maker composed of tens of independent moving parts, so they can create complex waves as in real sea, very different from the simple waves created in tanks where the wave-maker consists of one single rigid moving flap.

The traditional experiments conduced on towing tanks can answer questions such as this:

– What’s the power of the engine I need to put in this ship to make it travel in the speed I want?
– Will this ship be stable under this certain type of waves? Or will there be a risk of capsizing?
– How much will this ship (or platform, or any strange floating stuff) move under this type of waves?
– Can this ship maneuver in a safe way?

And, in general, engineers are interested in measurements of forces and movements under lots of different situations and over different kinds of bodies (foils, ships, submarines, autonomous vehicles, torpedos, floating platforms, tubes, structures exposed to water forces and so on…)

I think I cannot put here all the pictures I made on this towing tank, because it is not where I work and when there’s some experiment being carried on, usually the model is a new design of something so the picture showing the model is to be kept secret. Or sometimes, even being a scientific invetigation, the idea of the experiment itself is a secret the researchers want to keep to themselves until they get to publish their results. So, let’s wait when I get back home so I know what pictures I can publish here without problems… I hope in this meanwhile these pictures here could let you know about this kind of facility and wake up some curiosity about it.

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About Axel Pliopas

Between flying and engineering, I try to find some time to explore everything I can... Looking for interesting people and places, and trying to tell some of the interesting stories I find, is the objective of this blog. In the process, hopefully, my pictures will get better and better (they all say experience time has something to do with this...)
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3 Responses to On a Naval Engineering Laboratory

  1. VIOLETA says:

    yep, totally alien to me. hahaha!!! thanks for the info!

    i really like reading you blog. there’s something about it…

  2. Mari says:

    It’s a really big swimming pool! 😛

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