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Marine, Offshore and Subsea Technology Facilities

Marine, Offshore and Subsea Technology Facilities

We have a wide range of marine technology facilities at our disposal for teaching and research. Find out more about the impressive facilities available to you at the School of Engineering and take a virtual tour.

Cutting edge facilities

We have a variety of cutting-edge marine technology facilities that are available for you to hire. Within the School of Engineering you'll be able to work in the Marine Propulsion Research Laboratory. This facility includes:

  • Emerson Cavitation Tunnel
  • multi-purpose flume
  • slime farm
  • Flow Cell
  • Princess Royale (our research vessel)

Hydrodynamics laboratory


The Hydrodynamics Laboratory located on campus in the Armstrong Building comprises three facilities: the Towing Tank, Wind, Wave, Current Tank, and the Flow Cell. You can use these facilities individually or combined together.

Towing tank

We use the Towing Tank mainly for calm water, wave resistance, and seakeeping experiments.

Since its construction in 1951 the Towing Tank at Newcastle has been in continuous use. It's regularly updated, including the fitting of wave-making and electronic recording equipment.

The wavemakers generate regular waves of up to 0.12m in height and wave periods in the range of 0.5-2 seconds. They're also capable of generating long-crested random seas using a variety of wave spectra.

A monorail carriage system that has a maximum speed of 3m/s in its normal mode tows models. The carriage can be remotely or manually controlled, while the 32-channel data retrieval system is online to a PC.

Wind, wave and current tank

The combined Wind, Wave, and Current Tank is one of only a handful of such facilities in the world. Its design allows for use with any, or all, of the components with equal emphasis.

The Wind, Wave, and Current Tank was designed with small scale model testing for renewable energy devices in mind. However, it is also suitable for standard resistance, seakeeping and wind loading experiments.

Flow Cell

The Flow Cell is designed to simulate the fully developed turbulent boundary layer developing over the hull of high-speed ships.

Constructed in 2005 as part of the AMBIO project, the Flow Cell investigates the use of nanotechnology in biofouling resistant coatings. A recent upgrade to the measuring section allows for usage of a range of test plates.

Instrumentation and equipment upgrades have kept the facility at the leading edge of research activity.

Microscope slides are covered with the trial coating and then different types of organisms are settled on them. The slides are introduced into the boundary layer and the wall shear stress is measured.

The Flow Cell also measures the adhesion strength of cyprid barnacles in a saltwater flow environment by simulating the boundary layers developing on a 140m vessel travelling at speeds up to 40 knots.

Jones Marine Engineering Laboratory

The Jones Marine Engineering Laboratory is primarily used for our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, consultancy, and research.

Marine Technology Special Collection

The Marine Technology Special Collection, now accessible for the first time, is an important resource of unique historical maritime technical documents from the British shipbuilding and related industries.

It is a unique historical resource of marine technical documents from British shipbuilding, including the less well-documented marine engine building, ship repairing, and shipbreaking industries. The Collection spans the mid-19th century to 2000, with an emphasis on North East England.

Newcastle University has made a significant contribution to this industrial heritage, and our work in offshore, subsea, and marine technology is renowned throughout the world. For over a century, we have played a leading role in the teaching and research of the marine technologies including naval architecture, shipbuilding and marine engineering.

Thus the University, with its subject expertise, is well placed to help preserve and promote the north east of England and its vital contribution to the proud maritime heritage of Great Britain, for long the world’s leading shipbuilding nation.

The Collection owes its existence to a lifetime’s interest and dedicated collecting, storing, cataloguing, and fundraising by University staff Ian Buxton and Brian Newman.

The Collection is a member of:

  • the UK national organisation, the Archives Hub, membership number Find An Archive (formerly ARCHON) GB3369 (Listed only with a brief description: no materials online)
  • Discovery, National Archive

Search our collection

The Collection does not yet have an online catalogue. Please use the finding aids shown below. They are mostly a brief introduction to the subjects and holdings in the collection.

Catalogue (revised 11 June 2019) (Excel .xlsx: 1.46MB): The Catalogue lists details previously catalogued company documents in the collection. It does not yet list any other materials such as technical publications (magazine and journals, textbooks, ship registers, etc). See also the topics listed below.

The collection holds two main types of documents: company documents and technical publications.

Highlights of our collection

A series of short reports are being written to highlight some of the unique materials in the Collection:

  • Mauretania (PDF: 3.7MB): a famous British passenger liner of 1907
  • Titanic and Olympic (PDF: 2.3MB): two of the most famous British passenger liners of ca. 1911

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.

Many in the marine sector use it, 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-citation brochure (PDF: 1.46 MB).

Recent projects

We're always keen to engage new students in our exciting research work. Some of the more recent work we supported 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.

Marine facilities


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 helped 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.

Marine facilities


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, which the EPSRC-RNET Programme funded.


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 anti-fouling 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).

Marine ship


Testing capabilities

You'll get to use The Tunnel for a variety of exciting experiments.