Newcastle Uni revamps marine engineering research facility

Newcastle University has unveiled its newly-refurbished Emerson Cavitation Tunnel at Port of Blyth as part of a £2.5 million investment in marine engineering.

The cavitation tunnel’s new home at Port of Blyth is twice the size of its former location and includes a number of other experimental facilities to support the research on propeller design, biofouling, as well as tidal turbine performance, cavitation and noise tests.

Peter Bowes, Technical Manager for Newcastle University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “There is an increasing demand to use the tunnel to explore tidal and current turbines, and to investigate foul-release coatings and next generation self-polishing coatings. Our vision has been to assure the next fifty years of operation and service to the marine sector.”

The purpose-built space comprises a 10t handling capability, 800 amp three phase supply, a flume for timed studies of marine coating formation and a soon-to-be-installed slime farm, according to the University of Newcastle.

Part of the new Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials, the latest development builds on the University’s investment in marine science and engineering in Blyth.

These include the Blyth Marine Station, which houses teaching rooms, workshops and an aquarium, and the University’s Research Vessel – the Princess Royal.

Both the Marine Station and the cavitation tunnel facility form part of the Port’s Blyth Education and Community Hub, which is designed to offer the community opportunities through education, training and participation.

Phil Taylor, Head of the new School of Engineering, said: “This new build at Port of Blyth will allow us to strengthen our research capacity and also increase our opportunities for new collaborations and partnerships with marine sector industries, which are so important to the North East economy.”