School of Engineering

Emerson Cavitation Tunnel

Emerson Cavitation Tunnel


The Emerson Cavitation Tunnel has its own scientific and technical staff, with comprehensive mechanical, electrical, electronic and model-making technician support from within the School.

It is used by many in the marine sector, including:

  • ship owners
  • shipyards
  • propeller manufacturers

As well as commercial consultancy services, it offers background research and development services for:

  • cavitation
  • noise
  • propulsion
  • turbines
  • coatings
  • hydrodynamics related activities

Download our Emerson Cavitation Tunnel Brochure‌ (PDF: 1.46 MB).


For further information, contact: 

School of Engineering
Merz Court
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne

Phone: +44 (0) 191 208 2222


Virtual tour

This is the newly refurbished Cavitation Tunnel relocated to its new home in Blyth.

Cavitation Tunnel

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Recent Projects


Some of the more recent research work we've been involved with includes:


Synergistic Fouling Control Technologies. Sponsors: European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. Project website: 


Suppression Of underwater Noise  Induced by Cavitation. Sponsors: European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme.


Targeted and Advanced Research for Global Efficiency of Transportation Shipping. This project was STREP funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP).

Research vessel replacement

An innovative replacement of Newcastle University’s research vessel, funded by Newcastle University and Newcastle School of Marine Science and Technology Alumni.


STrategic REsearch for innovAtive Marine propuLsIoN concEpts. This was a large-scale IP funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP).

Port of London Authority (PLA)

We were involved with the propeller design, performance and cavitation testing for the new harbour patrol vessel 'Lambeth'.


Advanced Nano-structured surfaces for control of bio-fouling. IP funded by the EU 6th Framework Programme (FP).


This project studied swirling jets in fields of seabed excavations, vessel propulsion and underwater cleaning. It was a CRAFT project funded by the EU 6th Framework Programme (FP).

Cavitation research

This project looked at the effect of cavitation on the performance of a podded propulsor during ice-milling. It was PhD research, sponsored by Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd.


Fast ship applications for pod drives. It was STREP funded by the EU 5th Framework Programme (FP).

Tidal stream rotor performance research

An investigation of tidal stream rotor performance. It was funded by the EPSRC-RNET Programme.


This project looked at the optimum design and implementation of azimuthing pods for the safe and efficient propulsion of ships. It was STREP funded by the EU 5th Framework Programme (FP).

Marine surfaces research

This project researched the drag, boundary layer and roughness characteristics of marine surfaces with antifouling coatings. It was PhD research, jointly funded by International Paint Ltd and EPSRC.


Fast low wash maritime transportation. STREP funded by the EU 5th Framework Programme (FP).


Vertical Plane, Closed Circulating Specifications

Maximum velocity 20 knots (10m/s) with insert (0.81mx0.81m)
Absolute pressure range 7.6 kN/m2 (min) to 106 kN/m2 (max)
Cavitation number range 0.5 (min) to 2 (without insert)
Model propeller size 150mm to 400mm

Test section

Size 3.10 x 1.22 x 0.81m (LxBxH)
Area 0.99m2 (0.64m2 with insert)
Contraction ratio 4.271

Drive system

The drive system is a 4 bladed axial flow impeller with thruster control drive system. 

Main pump power 300Kw
Main pump rotational speed 292rpm
Impeller diameter 1.4m

Dynamometer Specifications

Type 1 - Kempf & Remmers H33 propeller dynamometer

Max thrust ± 2943 N
Max torque ± 147 Nm
Max rpm 4000 rpm

Type 2 - Kempf & Remmers R45 with vertical adjustable drive system

Suitable for placement inside of hull models.

Max thrust ± 687 N
Max torque 39 Nm
Max rpm 4000 rpm

Acoustic Specifications


Bruel & Kjaer 8103 miniature hydrophone and associated instruments.


In a water filled, thick walled steel cylinder placed on a 30mm Perspex window above propeller.

Testing Capabilities

The Tunnel can be used for a variety of experiments.

Propellor testing

Conventional and unconventional propeller performance tests, including shaft inclination in three axes.

Boundary layer and drag tests with flat planes, submersible bodies and propellers with coating.

Propeller testing in simulated ice blocks.

Wake simulation

The Tunnel can be used to test wake simulation using:

  • wake screens
  • flat plate pressure pulse measurements
  • a dummy hull model (including hull surface pressure measurements)

Cavitation and noise tests

Cavitation and noise tests can be conducted in uniform and non-uniform streams, and tidal/current turbine performance can be studied.

Measurements and recording

Flow can be measured and analysed using 3D LDA/PDA and stereoscopic PIV systems.

Load can be measured with submerged bodies. 

The nature and extent of cavitation can be recorded using still and high-speed video cameras.