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Towing tank

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About the Towing tank

Southampton is home to the largest university towing tank in the UK. 

Our 138-metre tank is available for use by both researchers and and commercial clients - not just for conventional ship model testing, but across the aerospace, energy and transportation sectors.

We support fundamental and applied research in areas such as:

  • fundamental fluid dynamics
  • renewable energies
  • autonomous systems
  • innovative ship design

We have strong links to the marine industry through the Wolfson Unit, which conducts maritime consultancy work for yacht, ship and power boat manufacturers.

Technical specification


  • length: 138 metres
  • width: 6 metres
  • depth: 3.5 metres


  • aluminium monocoque structure
  • dual cable drive system
  • maximum speed: 10 metres per second


  • Kempf & Remmers propulsion dynamometers
  • Kempf & Remmers 6 components balance

Tow post specification

  • drag range: 0 - 150,500,1000 N
  • side force range: 0 - 150,500,1000 N
  • vertical force: not measured
  • roll moment range: 0 - 30 Nm
  • yaw moment range: 0 - 40 Nm
  • pitch moment: not measured
  • pitch range: +/- 18 degrees
  • roll range: +/- 45 degrees
  • pitch: free
  • roll: free or adjustable fixed
  • yaw: adjustable fixed
  • heave: free
  • surge: fixed
  • sway: fixed


  • 12 elements HR Wallingford wavemaker
  • capable of short and long-crested random wave generation at normal and oblique angle
  • dynamic wave absorption capability

Other systems

  • LaVision underwater PIV
  • Qualisys above water and underwater motion capture systems
  • open water rig for propellers testing
  • Dantec LDA
  • underwater lifting platform (6 by 2 metres) for mooring tests


The towing tank has live video streaming capability


  • metal milling and turning capability
  • 3D printing


Contact us

Get in touch if you're interested in hiring the towing tank or want to know more about it.
Towing tank, building 185, Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Southampton SO16 7QF (opens in Google Maps)
We’re open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 UK time

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