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Laboratory for Experimental Fluid DynamicsDept. of Mechanical Engineering
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Wave Tank


Dispersion of oil spills is greatly enhanced by breaking waves and addition of oil dispersants. Understanding the physical dispersion process is of cardinal importance in accurate modeling and sensible contingency planning.


The project aims to measure temporal, spatial, and size distribution of droplets and to investigate the breakup of oil slicks by breaking waves, the effects of dispersants and oil weathering on breakup and oil droplet interactions with particles and bubbles.



Experimental Factors

H: wave height

h: water depth

c: wave celerity

t: time

v: wave plate velocity

vmax:maximum wave plate velocity





The tilting wave flume facility includes a wave tank, a programmable linear actuator and an oil slick confinement system with the following properties:

Wave Tank

  • 6 x 0.3 x 0.6 m3 acrylic flume
  • Adjustable tilt angle
  • Totally transparent
  • Covered with removable top (safety)


  • Maximum stroke of wave plate: 1.3 m
  • Maximum plate velocity: 6.1 m/s
  • Rms error of position: <0.9 cm

Oil Slick Confinement System

  • 254 mm diameter oil slick confinement ring
  • Pneumatic drive synchronized with the actuator
  • Thin (0.5 mm) oil slick is established inside ring




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