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The University of Southampton

A-Z of services

The University has a wide range of supporting services accessible to business to support research and development.

Acoustic Test Tank

Acoustic Test Tank is available for testing. 5m x 4m x 2m water depth test tank, fitted with a precision x-y-z referencing/equipment mounting system, auto admittance plotter part of the package to assist with analysis of acoustic tests.


The Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics facility itself has built up a wealth of experience in overcoming aerodynamic problems for their clients. This experience helps them to adapt test techniques or design special tests to match the specifications and budgets of the client.

Noise and Vibration

ISVR specialises in noise and vibration issues specific to the automotive industry, though these skills extend naturally to the aerospace, marine and general rotating machinery disciplines. For over 35 years we have been involved in all aspects of automotive NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) and other closely related automotive activities.

Autonomous Vehicle Testing

The autonomous vehicle control systems laboratory has been formed by a merger of all research efforts on intelligent control systems for autonomous vehicles developed at the University of Southampton. This includes advanced guidance, navigation and feedback control methods, agent based control with mission execution capabilities, formal verification of hardware and software systems, fault tolerant and reconfigurable control, hybrid systems modelling and software engineering of intelligent vehicles for practical engineering.

Calibration Facilities

The National Marine Facilities Division of NOCS, has a range of calibration facilities, including Conductivity Temperature, Pressure, Air and Sea Temperature and Radiometric calibration.

Circulating Water Channel

Circulating Water Channel facility available for hire. Dimensions: 3m x 1.7m x 0.8m deep. Suitable for flow visualization. Maximum water speed: 6m/s. Adjustable floor for shallow water studies.

Composites Experimental Facilities

Specifically developed for general purpose research and development work on FRP composites and light structural components is a new multiple configuration test facility, FORTRESS (Flexible Orthogonal Rig for Testing REal Ship Structures). This is capable of undertaking static and fatigue testing of flat and three dimensional panels up to 2.5 metres by 2.5 metres by 1.5 metres. It can generate multi axis loads in three dimensions of up to 100 tonnes.

Computational Methods

The high-order computational aeroacoustics program SotonCAA has been developed in the Centre and is at the forefront of numerical noise prediction technology.

Electrical Materials Characterisation

In the process of product development the characterisation of materials in terms of electrical, mechanical and thermal properties plays an important role. Within the laboratory we have the capability to undertake most standard tests and when required we can also access specialist test equipment and expertise. Often with forensic investigation it is necessary to characterise materials and interpret the results in terms of cause or effect of a given problem/failure.

Electron Microscopy

The centre houses strategic research facilities for the microstructural characterisation of materials by high resolution imaging and micro-area chemical analysis. Both scanning and transmission electron microscopes are available.

Enclosed Water Tunnel

Enclosed Water Tunnel facility available for hire. Working section 0.3m x 0.25m. Suitable for flow visualization on small models. Maximum flow speed: 3.5m/s.

Erosion and Corrosion Test Equipment

High velocity air-sand erosion, Slurry jet erosion and erosion-corrosion rigs, Slurry Pot, Flow Corrosion Loop, Salt fog cabinet.

Feasibility Studies

These may comprise paper studies, literature searches, computer modelling, equipment design and structural design in metal or composites. Past studies have included turnover of a large hull, davit launching of life rafts, bow thruster blade design, evaluation of traditional sail powered fishing boats and means of improving dockside handling of containers.

Full Structure Solution X-Ray Diffraction

Given a suitable sample it is possible to perform a diffraction experiment that will yield a 3D electron density map which is traditionally interpreted in terms of atomic positions, scattering factors and thermal parameters - i.e. a crystal structure. Further interpretation can elucidate bonding modes, coordination geometries, conformational information, intra- and intermolecular interactions, host-guest relationships etc.

Mechanical Workshop

This well-equipped section has provision for large capacity and precision machining as well as horizontal boring. The workshop has experience and expertise in making chemical research apparatus including: photo electron spectrometers, vacuum systems, pressure vessels, gloveboxes, electro-chemical cells.

Motor Yacht, Ship and Power Craft Testing

The following experimental techniques may be employed as part of the design process. Towing Tank tests using small scale models, up to 2.5m long. Towing Tank tests with large scale models, up to 6m long. Wind Tunnel tests on hulls and keels. Wind Tunnel tests on masts and sails. Full Scale Trials. Sail Training Vessels. Large Cruising Yachts. Experimental Equipment.

Ocean Basin

Ocean basin available for testing. Dimensions: 120m x 60m x 5.5m deep. Suitable for manoeuvring tests in calm water and waves. Wedge type wavemakers providing regular waves and sea states.

Onboard Loading and Damage Stability Systems

The Wolfson Unit develop and sell several types of onboard systems for vessel monitoring or assessment. These systems include including hardware and/or software. We welcome customer optional specifications and requirements. The Onboard Loading Program has been developed in conjunction with serving bridge officers in order to allow rapid entry of data and calculation of stability. The additional Onboard Damage Program allows rapid computation of stability after damage.

Partial Discharge Testing

We can undertake partial discharge measurements to the relevant BS an IEC standards.

Pressure Test Tank PV1

Pressure Test Tank PV1 is available for testing. 952.5mm diameter x 1206.6mm deep, pc controlled with hard copy online reports available, working pressure up to 680 bar, 3 entry/exit points for monitoring.

Renewable Energy

The Wolfson Unit has considerable experience in the field of renewable energy offering a diverse array of services to the industry. We work with clients to develop new ideas or optimise tried technologies. We can offer wind tunnel testing, water tank testing, design analysis, innovative research, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and numerical simulations.

Sailing Yacht Testing

The towing tank and wind tunnel are only two of the many research facilities available to the designer. By working through the Wolfson Unit, he has access to the wide range of academic staff within the University specialising in such disciplines as computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, electronics, materials and structures.

Salt Fog Chamber

Traditional insulator designs using either ceramics or glass have been superseded by polymeric and composite designs and we have a lot of experience of testing developments in this area. Our salt fog chamber is also capable of supplying mist or rain at flow and dispersion levels that meet modern test standards.

Scientific Glass Blowing Service

The workshop is furnished with a comprehensive range of equipment to manufacture complex scientific glassware and this, together with the technical expertise of the staff, produces a service capable of meeting demands.

Small scale tests

Many design problems can be solved at model scale without the expense of full size prototypes. Some of the problems the Unit has solved using models include anchor orientation on stowage, vortex measurements on underwater bodies, lifeboat launching systems, surge in ships' swimming pools, and wave slam loads on offshore structures.

Towing Tank

Towing tank available for testing. Dimensions: 258m x 12.2m x 5.5m deep. Suitable for models up to 5.5m LOA and 600kg displacement. Maximum carriage speed: 9m/s. Wavemaker: flap type under computer control, providing repeatable regular, irregular and breaking waves. Refinement of hull shapes and appendage configurations. Flow measurements and pressure mapping techniques can be employed to assist with the interpretation of force data.Also, Towing Tank [LMF Ecole Centrale de Nantes] Towing tank facility available for hire. Dimensions: 150m x 5m x 3m deep. Maximum carriage speed: 7.5m/s. Wavemaker: flap type under computer control, providing repeatable regular, irregular and breaking waves.

Transport Systems Research Laboratory

Experimental capabilities range from fundamental materials testing through to the analysis of whole engineering structures. Emphasis is placed on performance under service conditions, including in-service loading spectra, temperatures and chemical environments. Test requirements specific to the marine, automotive, aerospace, construction and biomedical engineering sectors are met. The facilities are fully integrated into the computational modelling, design, manufacturing and materials analysis facilities.

Trials data acquisition

Portable, computer based, data acquisition and analysis packages, complete with associated transducers, are available for: Torque and power measurement, Vibration and noise measurement, Motion monitoring.

Tribological Test Equipment

Tribological Facility available including: PoD (x2), Reciprocating, Twin Roller, u-abrasion, Bearing Test Facility, Mini Traction Machine (MTM).

Wear Testing

Pin-on-disc wear test rigs, Micro-abrasion wear test facility, Erosion test facilities using sonic air/sand and water/sand, Wire-line wear testing, Bearing Tests Facility.

Wind Tunnels

The 3'x 2' tunnel has an open circuit facility with a 0.9 m x 0.6 m x 4.5m working section. It is installed in a laboratory, is equipped with a 3D computer controlled probe traversing system and dynamometer, and is used for a variety of aerodynamics research and student project work. It is also suitable for the calibration of instrumentation and the laboratory has laser safety arrangements that enable the PIV system to be used for flow visualisation studies. The 7' x 5' wind tunnel has a slightly smaller 2.1m x 1.5m working section, with speeds up to 55 m/s, and is used extensively for research projects. It has a moving ground for vehicle aerodynamic work. The tunnel also has a 4.6 m x 3.7 m (15' x 12') low speed section that is used for wind engineering studies and work for the marine industry on racing yacht sails.

Human factors research
Human factors research
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