Facilities & Centers
Davidson Laboratory is connected with a number of facilities and centers that provide a wide variety of research and prototyping capabilities, including the Stevens MakerCenter, a collaborative a design hub where students and researchers conceptualize and build prototypes to turn ideas into reality.
Design and Evaluation
Located in the Davidson Laboratory's primary research facility, our unique high-speed towing tank is 320 feet long, 16 feet wide, and can support a variable water depth of up to 8 feet. It is one of the highest speed towing tanks in the world with a monorail supported, cable-driven carriage capable of speeds of up to 100 feet per second with speed control of .01 feet per second.
The tank contains an articulated, double-flap, programmable wave maker capable of generating monochromatic and random wave fields, as well as several types of wave spectra. This wave maker generates both regular waves and pseudorandom waves and can be programmed to produce nontraditional wave forms such as wave pulses, complex periodic waves and dual and triple wave trains. The wave maker can be used to generate both regular and irregular waves with heights up to 18 inches.
Shallow Water Simulation
Shallow water conditions can be simulated in the tank with the installation of an adjustable slope false bottom. The tank’s improved instrumentation, glass walls for viewing and photography, and public access improvements further enhance the Laboratory’s contributions to fundamental and applied research in ship design, hydrodynamics and ocean engineering. Plunging surf can be produced on a 40 foot surf beach.
Computer programs adjacent to the tank facilities provide menu-driven selection of the following types of wave spectra:
ITTC, ISSC, Pierson-Moskowitz, Bretschneider
The laboratory’s simulation software suite is made up of a combination of commercial and in-house modeling codes, several mesh generation tools, and advanced flow visualization tools.
Past and on-going projects encompassing numerical simulation-based research include analysis related to supercavitation, vortex induced vibrations, extreme wave loads on off-shore structures, hydrodynamic and hydroacoustic signatures of submerged bodies and wake hydrodynamics, and aero-hydromechanics of high performance racing yachts. The later activities involved design analysis support for the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race teams and boat designers.
Contact: Dr. Raju Datla ([email protected])
The oblique sea basin, one of only two of its kind in the United States, has a length of 75 feet, a breadth of 75 feet and can support water depths of up to 6 feet. The facility, which has been designated a historic mechanical engineering landmark, comes equipped with a moveable overhead rail that permits vehicles to be towed in oblique waves at speeds of up to 10 feet per second. The wave-maker in the basin has the ability to generate both regular and irregular waves with heights of up to seven inches.
The basin's most unusual but distinguishable feature is its rotating arm. This arm, with a 32-foot radius, can accommodate test on vehicles moving at speeds from 0 to 50 feet per second. The arm enables researchers to obtain highly accurate information about the maneuverability of ships in both calm and rough seas.
The Marine Operations Group provides support through the use of the laboratory’s two research vessels, the RV Phoenix and the RV Savitsky. The RV Phoenix is a 25-foot outboard, while the RV Savitsky, our newest acquisition, is a 40-foot inboard diesel. Both vessels are equipped with modern electronics for both navigation and surveying as well as with electric side winches. The RV Savitsky is additionally outfitted with a 1,500-pound-capacity hydraulic A-frame winch. The Davidson Laboratory is also equipped with a full suite of modern instrumentation to measure currents, both locally and remotely, turbidity and suspended particle distribution, as well as salinity, temperature and depth.
In addition to the experimental facilities, research addressing engineering problems involving complex flow phenomena is conducted using computational fluid dynamics. The laboratory’s simulation software suite is made up of a combination of commercial and in-house modeling codes, several mesh generation tools, and advanced flow visualization tools.
Past and on-going projects encompassing numerical simulation-based research include analysis related to supercavitation, vortex-induced vibrations, extreme wave loads on off-shore structures, hydrodynamic and hydroacoustic signatures of submerged bodies and wake hydrodynamics, and aero-hydromechanics of high performance racing yachts. The later activities involved design analysis support for the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race teams and boat designers.
The MakerCenter is a fully equipped, staffed machine shop working with virtually all types of materials. State-of-the-art equipment, CNC milling machine, CAD and other computer software, and decades of experience are drawn upon to build reduced-scale models of vessels and marine structures, as well as specialized laboratory and field instrumentation. The facilities are made available to staff and students after an appropriate initial training period.
The instrumentation and design facility – a part of the Stevens MakerCenter – is involved in developing mechanical, electronic, and microprocessor based systems. In addition to designing and manufacturing specialized equipment needed to support research initiatives at both the Davidson Laboratory and Stevens Institute of Technology, contracts have been negotiated with other organizations including:
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)
E. J. Brooks
Block Drug Company
The electronics shop provides complete instrumentation support for the full spectrum of the lab's experimental studies as well as maintenance and repair facilities for all of the electronic equipment used for laboratory and field studies.
Complete instrumentation setups can be designed and constructed in-house with minimal lead time requirements. Our custom-designed systems can be as simple as a few lights attached to a model or as complex as a multi-axis servo controller utilizing PC based digital signal processing. Special capabilities include:
Installation of bonded resistance strain gages for force measurement.
Motor Control Systems from tine stepper motors to large industrial machinery.
SMT prototyping and repair capabilities.
Remote control systems using RF or infrared techniques.
The electronics shop also provides equipment and support for video and still photography systems including high-speed underwater photographic systems designed for our towing tank studies.
Personnel hold FCC radio operator's licenses and New Jersey master electrical contractor's licenses.
Other Affiliated Laboratories
Davidson Laboratory's research includes the work of seven additional units that conduct basic and applied research, often integrated into the Laboratory’s educational activities.
Coastal Engineering Research Laboratory
The Coastal Engineering Research Laboratory conducts high-resolution field investigations of shore protection projects including beach fill evolution, shoreline structure interaction, wave transformation, and sediment transport. Field research is supported by the Laboratory’s two research vessels and a jet ski based coastal bathymetric surveying system. In-situ wave and current measurements are obtained by the Center’s marine operations group which maintains and operates Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers, Water level gauges, wave meters, and acoustic Doppler velocimeters. Davidson Laboratory researchers frequently conduct bathymetric and topographic surveys using the specially designed DUCKS surveying system. DUCKS integrates traditional RTK GPS measurements with acoustic sounding information using a computer system mounted on the back of a jet ski. The versatile system allows measurement of the bathymetry in extremely shallow areas, and in places like the surfzone where traditional measurement approaches fail.
Marine Observation & Prediction Laboratory
The Marine Observation and Prediction Laboratory is addressing the many challenges facing estuarine and coastal communities – including natural and man-made hazards by improving our ability to detect, understand, predict, and respond to changes to the marine environment.
Information Systems Group
The Information Systems Group provides support and data storage for both real-world data acquisition and model forecasting, as well as for the generation of high-resolution model and real-time data images utilized in visualizations.