As part of the European project, H2020 VENTuRE (a Virtual and physical ExperimeNtal Towing centre for the design of energy Efficient sea-faring vessels, EU Grant: #856887), academics, technicians, researchers, and students from the L-Università ta’ Malta (UM, Malta) and the Università di Genova (UNIGE, Italy), as well as industrial partners from the company Naval Architectural Services Ltd (NAS, Malta), visited the University of Strathclyde (Scotland, United Kingdom) from 27th June to 1st July 2022.
The partner visit consisted of different activities, including meetings, workshops, short specialist courses, technical visits, summer schools, technical presentations, and networking sessions. The aim of these activities was to exchange academic knowledge and experience to enhance proficiency in experimentation and numerical analysis for the Maltese maritime industry.
On this occasion, three technicians/laboratory staff from UM shadowed the staff from USTRATH in the workshop and the towing tank of the experimental facilities of the Naval Architecture, Ocean, and Marine Engineering (NAOME) department of the University of Strathclyde (the Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratories, KHL) for a week. This activity was designed to provide hands-on experience and state-of-the-art techniques to perform different types of data measurements.
On the other hand, academics, researchers, and students attended two different short specialist courses on technologies systems, design, and techniques in virtual and physical towing tank testing:
- Physical towing tank testing for the prediction of ship hydrodynamics with a focus on seakeeping was delivered by Dr Tahsin Tezdogan and Dr Saishuai Dai
- State-of-the-art Measurement, Calibration, and Data Analysis Techniques delivered by Dr Saishuai Dai
Two summer schools were also successfully conducted for researchers and students as part of this partner visit: the ‘Boundary Element Method on Hydrodynamics’ school and the ‘Building a Successful Research Career’ school.
The first school, Boundary Element Method on Hydrodynamics, was delivered by Dr Zhiming Yuan and Dr Tahsin Tezdogan and discussed the application of potential flow theory to marine hydrodynamics. The numerical method, boundary element method, which is based on the potential flow theory, was implemented in this class. To help the students understand the theoretical and numerical method, some industry-related practices were analysed, which included ship hydrodynamics in confined waterways, nonlinear waves loads and mooring systems, and multibody hydrodynamics.
Another summer school, Building a Successful Research Career was delivered by Dr Emma Compton-Daw. The school aimed to identify the research career development needs and begin to implement a plan of activities to meet those needs. Students were provided with an introduction to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF). RDF was used extensively during this course. As part of this activity, students also had the opportunity to interview academics so they could share their personal and professional experiences.
In addition, partners had the opportunity to visit the experimental premises of the NAOME department, the Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratories including the towing tank, ocean basin, Fully Turbulent Flow Channel (FTFC), as well as the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, which is part of the Maritime Human Factors Centre (MHFC) of USTRATH NAOME Department (Technical Visit ‘How to operate and use towing tanks as academic, educational, and industrial tools’). The visit served as an opportunity to provide essential knowledge about the operation of towing tanks such facilities, and model ship construction and testing. Practical sessions on the use of a towing tank (i.e., KCS experiments) and associated data acquisition systems were held.
A second technical visit was conducted as part of this event. It consisted of demonstrating the combination of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Experimental Fluid Dynamics (EFD) for research activities in naval architecture (Technical Visit ‘How to combine Computational Fluid Dynamics and Experimental Fluid Dynamics’). During this event, participants attended Dr Tahsin Tezdogan’s seminar: Combined CFD/ EFD Methods and Seakeeping Theories in which he described the areas where combined CFD/ EFD can be used in naval architecture, giving some practical examples from the latest studies. Dr Tezdogan also discussed the main scale effects of marine hydrodynamics in his lecture.
On the last day of the visit, an event related to networking and collaboration opportunities was held. It consisted of five different presentations, which were followed by a Questions & Answers session.
Prof Tonio Sant (UM) delivered a presentation on ‘Offshore Hydro-Pneumatic Energy Storage’, whereas Prof Mehmet Atlar (USTRATH) presented the EU H2020 GATERS project and introduced the Hydro Testing Forum (HTF) to UM and NAS since he is part of the Steering Committee of this international network. One of the initial objectives was to provide UM with an insight into HTF’s structure, vision, and mission. This has enabled UM to consider potential collaboration with HTF members and to create a sustainable long-lasting network. On the other hand, Dr Weichao Shi (USTRATH) delivered an interesting talk on the research activities of the ‘Applied Biomimetics Marine Hydrodynamics Group’ and Prof Osman Turan (USTRATH) introduced the ‘Human Factor Research Centre Activities’ (both part of USTRATH NAOME department). Finally, Shahroz Khan (USTRATH) delivered a presentation on the Geometry Functionals as Physics-Informed Accelerators of Shape Optimisation. Following the session, attendees attended a networking lunch which provided an opportunity for knowledge sharing.