Oxford

HR Wallingford 'Fast Flow' sea simulator to help engineers

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Media captionThe facility will help engineers improve the design of sea structures

A facility that simulates sea conditions has opened in Oxfordshire.

The Fast Flow Facility, in Wallingford, has a 75 metre-long, eight metre-wide flume, which holds a million litres of water and can generate metre-high waves.

It has been built to help engineers improve the design of sea structures such as oil rigs and wind turbines.

The centre, at HR Wallingford in Howbery Park, will be officially opened by Lord Heseltine later.

Ship simulators

Technical director Prof Richard Whitehouse said: "What makes the Fast Flow Facility unique is the way we can simulate sediment movement, big waves and fast tidal currents at the same time. No-one else can do this, certainly not at such a large scale.

"We can now look at the way waves and currents move sediment on the seabed in deep water at a large scale, and understand what this means for fixed or floating structures such as marine terminals, offshore wind turbines, wave and tidal energy devices, telecommunication and power cables and pipelines."

Lord Heseltine will also cut the ribbon on HR Wallingford's UK Ship Simulation Centre, which houses four real-time ship simulators, each producing a 360 degree simulated environment of a functioning ship or tug's bridge.

Dr Jane Smallman, HR Wallingford's managing director, said: "These new world-class facilities are part of a £3m development by HR Wallingford to extend our internationally recognised expertise in maritime and coastal engineering."

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