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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Professor Grant E Hearn BSc (Maths) Bath MSc (Applied Maths) Sheffield

Professor of Offshore Engineering Science

Professor Grant E Hearn's photo

Professor Grant E Hearn is Professor of Offshore Engineering Science within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Having trained initially as an industrial mathematician I have always worked as a researcher within many distinct branches of engineering.

At Smiths industry I worked on the control of supersonic fighter aircraft. Pilots complained of the associated low frequency oscillations making them feel uncomfortable. Solution was based on simulating inside the fighter aircraft a model of the aircraft in which time was 1000 times faster than ‘real’ time. The differences in behaviour in these parallel worlds were used to provide control in real time.

In the Ministry of Technology I worked on waveguides to appreciate whether one could detect someone was tapping into a fibre optic based telephone system.

For Pilkington Glass I worked on modelling the Float Process used to produce plate glass. This involved modelling the interaction between the viscous fluid and the banks of rotating stirrers to assess whether the stirrers actually stirred the glass efficiently.

It was after the above diverse experiences I become involved in at-sea research activities and in particular ship dynamics, offshore engineering and autonomous structures used in data collection in the oceans.

Research interests

A Mathematician all at-sea

My principal interest is in the mathematical modelling or experimental investigation of structures operating on the surface or beneath the sea surface.

The structures investigated are usually ships (damaged or intact), offshore structures, wave energy devices or autonomous underwater vehicles.

Most experimental investigations have been undertaken at small model scale, in restricted experimental facilities. To overcome this difficulty a 6m model of Derbyshire was investigated in the very large Norwegian wave basin in Trondheim (results are available on request).

Anaconda is a very interesting wave energy device at different levels.

Theoretical analysis is used to investigate the occurrence and avoidance of aneurysms and the related stress analysis in collaboration with Dr Andrea Bucchi (now Portsmouth University) (figure one)

Mathematically there is the ongoing development of a so-called ‘poke' or ‘influence' function approach to develop a dynamic analysis of waves passing over pressurised tube.

Under Prof John Chaplin's lead there is the physical testing to appreciate its potential wave energy capture width. (figure two)

From a materials point of view there is a need to look at the fatigue behaviour of different recipes of rubber in conjunction with TARRC and the Malaysian Rubber Board through a successful PhD student Shamsul Kamaruddin (figure three)

Collaborative work has been carried out with SEA on their Oscillating Water Column based SEACLAM through Carbon Trust Funding to interrogate feasibility of structural survival of device through hydrodynamic, motion and structural analysis of device. This device is dodecagon in shape with two oscillating water columns per section of different natural frequency giving in all 78 degrees of freedom when modelling internal and external interaction with incident waves. (figure four)

The Lysekil wave energy device has been investigated in terms of integrity of the end stop forces in conjunction with Uppsala university in Sweden and Anton Westerberg. (figure five)

Analysis is based on matching series solution in outer exterior domain with inner core region under buoy.

Many other devices such as Cockerell raft, Salter ducks and oscillating water columns fixed and floating have been analysed.

Fluid structure interaction involving water waves and multi-body situations with rigid or articulated structures. Author of industrially employed MATTHEW suite applied to ships and offshore structures including wave energy devices. Current analysis seeks to solve boundary element and finite element hydroelastic wave energy devices using what I call influence or ‘poke' functions this is necessary where boundary conditions cannot a priori be explicitly assigned and hence a procedure that produces both the self-consistent boundary conditions and solutions is required.

Optimisation of hydrodynamic performance of ships (monohulls & multihulls naturally led into asking questions about whether a damaged optimised ship would have less survivability than similarly damaged non-optimised form. This lead to innovative dynamic analysis exploiting ability of MATTHEW suite to address internal and external free surface influences.

Damaged ships require modelling the interaction of external water waves with the ship, and their relative interactions with the internal free surfaces of the water within the damaged area.

Large scale damaged ships investigated using Trondheim sea keeping basin for 6m model in both an intact and damaged condition.(figure six)

European funding of Large scale testing facilities and private funds used to support this work. (figure seven and eight)

Model built in UK given MARINTEK number on arrival. Transducers within holds to be damaged allow wave profile measurement within ship in damaged condition. As illustrated (figure nine)

In conjunction with the Japanese Maritime Institute the impact of rigid sails on Bulk carrier performance was carried out through a doctoral fellowship at Southampton involving Dr Toshifumi Fujiwara on the study of sail-sail and sail ship interactions

Autonomous underwater devices have been investigated experimentally to understand the influences of different pertinences in different locations, the inclusion of thrusters to provide ROV station keeping capability, use of RANs codes in the development of design procedures and system identification techniques to understand their manoeuvrability characteristics. (figure ten)

PhD supervision
Student  Title Year 
 Koon Cheung Tong  Fluid Structure Interaction and Motion Analysis of Selected Articulated Structures  1984
 Edilio Checone Donati  A Study of the Theoretical and Implementation Aspects of Response Prediction Methods for Rigid Floating Bodies at Sea  1986
 Siew Ming Lau  3D hydrodynamic Analysis of First and Second Order forces on Free Floating Structures with Forward Speed  1987
 Koon Cheung Tong  Second Order Wave Excitation and Damping Forces on Floating Bodies  1988
 Joseph Thomas  An investigation of Boundary Element Based Methods for determining Flow around submerged Bodies  1989
 A Keith Brook  A theoretical investigation of the Static and Dynamic Behaviour of Ship Mooring Lines  1990
 Paul A Colton  The Application of Sea keeping in Conceptual and Preliminary Design  1990
 Sy Yeuan Liou  Hybrid Boundary Integral Equation Method for the Hydrodynamic Analysis of Marine structures in Open and Confined Waters  1990
 Panayiotis N Pappas  Hydrodynamic and Structural Analysis of Bulk Carriers in Preliminary Ship Design- M Phil  1991
 Paul Goodwin  An investigation into Near-field & Far-Field Added resistance Gradient Based Predictions of Low frequency Damping  1993
 David O. Thomas  A numerical Investigation of Time Integration Schemes Applied to the Dynamic Solution of Mooring Lines  1993
 Kadir Sarioz  A hydrodynamic Hull form Design Procedure in Conceptual and Preliminary Ship design  1993
 Christos Andreas Atalianis  Hydrodynamic Analysis of Structures by a Hybrid Method  1995
 Paul John Binks  Development of Regression Analysis Based Hydrodynamic Equations for Conceptual Semi-Submersible Design  1997
 Murray R Townsend  Determining wave properties from subsurface measurements using local polynomial approximations
(Monash University, Australia)
 Yao Zhang The Study of Neural Networks and their Application to Ship Modelling and Control   1997
 Dugald Alex Peacock  Decision-based Hydrodynamic Design of Displacement Monohulls
(New South Wales , Australia)
 Omar bin Yaakob  Incorporating Sea keeping in the Design of Fishing Boats 1998 
 Jonathan Roger Horn  The influences of Stern Vortices on Ship Manoeuvring  1999
 Peter N H Wright  The Preliminary Design of Catamarans for Sea keeping and Resistance  2004
 Yongqiang Zhuo  Self-learning Based Intelligent Control of Ship Manoeuvring in Narrow Waters  2004
 Christopher D Fallows  Characteristics of the Propulsion Systems of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles  2004
 Maaten Furlong  System Identification of the Hydrodynamic Characteristics of Underwater Vehicles  2005
 Alan J Murphy  Design, Build and Testing of a Laminar Flow Drag-Plate  2005
 Deniz Saydan  Damage Stability of Ships as a Safety Criterion for Optimization Tools  2006
 Kieran Thomas Rutherford  Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Design Considering Energy Source Selection and Hydrodynamics  2008
 Alistair Palmer  Analysis of the propulsion and manoeuvring characteristics of survey-style AUVs and the development of a multi-purpose AUV  2011
 Shamsul Kamaruddin  Long-term mechanical properties of rubber  2013


New student starting in October 2014 with Dr Zhimin Chen

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Research group

Fluid Structure Interactions

Affiliate research group

Energy Technology

Research project(s)

Anaconda - Wave Energy Converter

MES MSC Coordinator
Physical Oceanography link person with NOC and Tutor for MSc teaching of this topic
Convener FEE MSc Coordinators
Faculty Representative on Diversity Committee
Faculty Representative on Tutors & Pastoral Network.
October 2011 until July 2013 FEE Senate representative

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Code  Title  Role
 SESS6058  Offshore Mechanics and Engineering Analysis  Module Leader & sole teacher
 SESS6XXX  Offshore Engineering & Analysis  Module leader of enhanced SESS6058 module
 FEEGXXXX  Research Project for FEE Masters Programmes  Module Leader of first ever formal definition of this task
Professor Grant E Hearn
Engineering and the Environment Building 176 University of Southampton Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus Burgess Road Southampton SO16 7QF Telephone: (023) 8059 3769 Email:

Room Number: 176/3031/B1

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