AMT '09 conference draws hydrodynamics community
The First International Conference on Advanced Model Measurement Technology for the EU Maritime Industry (AMT '09), organised by the EU-funded Hydro Testing Alliance (HTA), was held in Nantes, France, on 1-2 September 2009. Over 100 participants exchanged results and views on fluid dynamics.
© Peter Gutierrez
"We have seen tremendous developments over the past decade in testing methods and new analytical techniques," said conference organiser Mehmet Atlar of the University of Newcastle, "everything from laser-based photography to image processing, but the ability to test and predict the accuracy of these new techniques is also very important. We know that flow always tricks us. We need to continue to work hard to understand what it is about flow that tricks us and what it is about ourselves and our methods that allows us to be tricked."
Taming a difficult problem
The tricky realm of fluid dynamics applies empirical and semi-empirical laws derived from flow measurement to solve practical problems, for example in the design of seagoing vessels. The solution to a fluid dynamics problem typically involves calculating various properties of the fluid in question, such as velocity, pressure, density, and temperature, as functions of space and time.
AMT '09 organisers say growing interest in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in marine applications, which require vital support from model tests and full-scale measurements, has been a major factor in the development of new testing methods. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) has become a key tool, involving the optical visualisation of the movements of fluids seeded with tracer particles.
During the two-day AMT '09 conference, researchers presented results of their work on new PIV methods and technologies, free running ship models, wave measurement, high-speed video and imaging technologies, and other new tools and methods.
© Peter Gutierrez
Some of the latest developments on the horizon, presented by conference delegates, include real-time wireless data and control systems for subsea communication, new techniques for 3-D reconstruction of propeller cavitations (bubbles), new tools for tow-tank measurement of 3-D wave fields, interferometric laser imaging, a new laser wave gauge for dynamic wave height measurement, and many, many others.
According to Jean-Paul Borleteau of SIREHNA, these tools are not just of interest to the maritime sector. "More and more," he said, "these technologies, like PIV, already being used by us and in the aerospace industry, are finding their ways into other areas, like car manufacturing."
For HTA coordinator Albert Aalbers of MARIN, co-operation has been a key aspect of the HTA experience. "I am happy to see so many from industry and from the scientific community here today. One of our key objectives has been to bring all of you together, to share your experiences, your research and your mistakes. The end result should be greater efficiency for all of us, with lower costs and more rapid progress for our industry.
Not the end
© Peter Gutierrez
The HTA initiative has been aimed at to development of a formal and lasting structure to co-ordinate the definition and introduction of novel hydrodynamics measurement, observation and analysis technologies. The sharing of advanced equipment and the dissemination of knowledge and guidelines, it is hoped, will lead to a more integrated and efficient use of marine testing capacity within Europe, promoting the continuation of world leadership for European hydrodynamic testing facilities.
Importantly, HTA is intended to live on indefinitely, beyond the period of EU funding.
Speaking outside the conference, SIREHNA founder Jean Pierre Le Goff stressed the importance of co-operation in the European maritime sector. "This has been an extraordinary event," he said. "It is absolutely crucial that we press for more of this sort of co-operation. It has been very gratifying to see so many of our colleagues putting aside their more commercial and competitive instincts to work together. This is so important if we want to see Europe moving forward as one."