Large wave flume research facility

The NRC's large wave flume makes it possible to test two-dimensional sections of coastal structures and study coastal processes at a large scale. Working at a large scale is important for minimizing scale effects related to improper scaling of surface tension and viscous forces. Large scale modeling ensures that wave breaking processes, air entrainment, turbulence, viscous forces, flow-structure interactions and sedimentary processes are more accurately reproduced in the model, leading to more accurate and more reliable results.

Our capabilities

The large wave flume is 97 m long, 2 m wide and up to 2.75 m deep (318  ft × 6.5  ft × 9 ft). The flume is located indoors and is served by a 1-ton traversing gantry crane and a mobile service bridge. It is equipped with a programmable wave machine capable of generating irregular waves with significant heights up to 0.75 m (2.5 ft), and regular waves up to 1.25 m (4 ft). The wave generator includes active wave-absorption technology for absorbing the waves reflected by structures installed in the flume. The passive wave absorber at the opposite end of the flume features reflection coefficients of less than 5% over a wide range of wave lengths and water depths. The flume feautures large windows on both sides allowing for detailed observation of flow-structure interactions within the flume.

Bidirectional currents (with and without waves) can be generated in the flume by forcing water flow through a tunnel located below the floor. The maximum current speed varies with the water depth.

Features of the large wave flume

  • Capability of generating a wide range of wave conditions, including irregular waves with significant heights up to 0.75 m (2.5 ft )
  • Comprehensive wave synthesis and generation software including second-order compensation
  • Sophisticated active wave absorption system for suppressing waves reflected from model structures
  • High-efficiency passive wave absorbers that give less than 5% reflection over a wide range of depth, wave period and wave height
  • A re-circulation system for generating bi-directional currents, alone or in combination with waves
  • Rapid draining and filling
  • Served by a 1-ton gantry crane and a mobile service bridge
  • A full range of instrumentation systems for measuring waves, currents, pressures, forces, runup, overtopping, scour and armour unit stability
  • Data acquisition on up to 64 channels at 1000 samples per second
  • A digital video recording system including both regular and high-speed cameras
  • Large windows for detailed visual observation

Why work with us

In working to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, the NRC plays a critical role in collaborating with industry to assess the performance of infrastructure project designs, marine vehicles and marine operations in operational and extreme conditions and develop optimizations to improve performance, increase safety and reduce lifecycle costs. Working with the NRC offers you the competitive advantage of world-class, customizable testing facilities combined with the broad knowledge and experience of our in-house research staff. The NRC's professional staff has extensive experience in many engineering fields, including the behaviour and performance of structures and vehicles in complex ocean, coastal and river environments.