Extreme Air-Sea Interaction Facility

Our freshwater wave tank mimics the ocean and is used in world-leading climate modelling and fluid dynamics research.

Located in the Michell Hydrodynamic Laboratory, our 60-metre-long freshwater wave tank – the first of its kind in the world – can be used for a wide range of research projects in fluid mechanics, wave mechanics, oceanography, and turbulence.

It includes a computer-controlled wave maker, which can generate differently shaped waves – replicating everything from gentle to storm-like conditions. It also features the world's longest fetch of wind tunnel built over the top, which can mimic the ocean with wind speeds up to hurricane magnitude (more than 150 kilometres per hour).

Alongside our research, we partner with a wide range of clients – including defence, wind-energy, bridge engineering, boat building and surfboard companies.

For example, we’ve worked with the US Office of Naval Research to study scaled models of helicopter landing on Navy ships. Helicopter accidents during complex sea landings are a serious risk to pilots and the crew, who often suffer injury during the process. We are currently working towards a warning system for dangerous conditions that aims to prevent injury and even save lives.


Our facility features:

  • 60-metre-long x 1.8-metre-deep wave tank
  • Computer-controlled wave maker
  • The world’s longest fetch of wind tunnel
  • Glass walls, which enable a technique called particle image velocimetry (PIV) that uses powerful lasers and high-speed cameras to reveal and record movement within bodies of water.

User information

The Extreme Air-Sea Interaction facility is open to all researchers at the University of Melbourne and its partner institutes. The platform operates on a fee-for-service basis.

Contact us

Professor Jason Monty
Email: montyjp@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61383443040

More information on this platform can be found on the Research Gateway, which is available to all University of Melbourne academic and honorary staff, graduate researchers and professional staff.  Please note, to access the Research Gateway, you will need to login with your University of Melbourne username and password.

First published on 26 May 2022.

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