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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Dr Sally Bennett PhD, MEng (Hons), AMRINA

Visiting Fellow

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Dr Sally Bennett is a Visiting Fellow within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Sally is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Engineering and the Environment. Her speciality is experimental and numerical hydrodynamics. In particular she is interested in freak or abnormal waves and their influence on marine structures, and novel instrumentation methods for experimentation.

Career History:

Sally graduated in 2007 with a first class MEng (Hons) in Ship Science (Yacht and Small Craft) from the University of Southampton. During her undergraduate studies she undertook two technical placements, at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 2004 and Lloyd’s Register in 2005.

She started her PhD in 2007 at the University of Southampton, funded by the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust, which investigated the influence of rogue waves on travelling ships. She was awarded her PhD in 2011 at which point she was appointed Research Fellow on the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust/Lloyd’s Register Foundation funded project Performance of Ships in Abnormal Waves. This project used analytical, experimental and numerical methods to evaluate the motions and loads experienced by a ship when travelling in abnormal waves.

In April 2014 she was appointed a New Frontiers Fellow in the Fluid-Structure Interactions Group at University of Southampton. She is currently conducting research into experimental hydrodynamics, freak waves, experimental and numerical hydroelasticity, damaged ships and novel experimental techniques.

Hydroelastic ship model testing in freak waves
Hydroelastic ship model
 High speed image of the impact of a freak wave on a ship
High speed image

Research interests

Sally is primarily interested in experimental and numerical hydrodynamics. She employs a range of techniques to investigate freak or abnormal waves, ship dynamics in waves and hydroelasticity.

Sally’s main research is investigating the influence of freak or abnormal waves on a travelling ship. The work looks at the effect of freak waves on ship motions and structural loads using experimental testing and a number of numerical tools including hydroelasticity and seakeeping methods. Experimental results are being used in conjunction with classification society design rules with a long-term aim of improving ship safety.

Her experimental work has developed hydroelastic testing techniques and novel instrumentation methods for use in towing tank testing, including wireless techniques and new sensor types. She is leading research being conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering (Electronics and Computer Science) at the University of Southampton into smart fabric sensors for application to experimental testing in the marine industry, both at model and full scale.


Ship responses relative to encountered wave profile
Ship responses
Novel instrumentation set-up
Novel instrumentation set-up
Hydroelastic model of a typical naval frigate
Hydroelastic model

Research group

Maritime Engineering

Research project(s)

The Performance of Ships in Abnormal Waves

The appearance of abnormal, freak, or rogue, waves has become more high profile in recent decades with increased media attention. Abnormal waves may be the cause of previously unexplained ship losses. The number of reported, survived cases is also growing, such as the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1995. It is thus important to assess the impact of such waves on vessels in order to investigate the risks and safety thresholds and determine the survivability of ships when encountering abnormal waves.

Development of Printed Smart Fabric Sensors for the Marine Industry

Safety of shipping is a key factor in the marine industry. Ships are designed to common standards to ensure survivability, and regular maintenance schedules are used to ensure a ship remains sea-worthy. However vessels are still being lost due to unexpected structural failure. The purpose of this project is to develop a smart monitoring system for ships using smart fabric sensor technology which can be used in the design process at model scale, and for in-situ monitoring at full scale in order to reduce unexplained ship losses.

Basic Naval Architecture (SESS1015): Tutor/Lecturer

Hydrodynamics and Seakeeping (SESS2015): Tutor

Renewable Energy from the Environment (SESS6067): Tutor/Lecturer

Fundamentals of Ship Science (SESS6065): Lecturer

Dr Sally Bennett
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Dr Sally Bennett's personal home page
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