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AMC nets $3m grant to join US on naval research

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The Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania has been awarded $3 million to conduct research with leading US universities on improving Australia’s naval capability.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne announced that AMC would join seven leading US universities in hydrodynamics research for the three-year project, which is funded through the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) administered by the US Department of Defense.

The US universities include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, California Institute of Technology, University of California, University of Minnesota, University of Iowa and the University of Michigan.

The researchers will study the physics of cavitation and bubbly flows to enhance our understanding of how this affects the performance of naval vessels.

Cavitation is the process where vapour bubbles form in the water flowing over a surface, such as a hull or propeller, and then collapse. This can cause damage to the surface through the bubbles bursting and causing erosion, and also results in high levels of noise.

AMC Interim Principal, Professor Nataliya Nikolova said the experiments would be conducted in the Cavitation Research Laboratory – the only one of its kind in Australia and one of a handful of such experimental laboratories in the world.

“AMC is home to some of the most sophisticated research facilities in the world that allow us to do some of the best maritime-related research in the world,” Professor Nikolova said.

“The suite of facilities that make up the Cavitation Research Laboratory are recognised internationally as being among the most advanced for their size and quality, and have played an important role in a number of national and international research collaborations with our Defence and industry partners.

“This grant supports the successful research partnership between the University, the Defence Science and Technology Group and the US Office of Naval Research, and will enhance collaborations in ship and submarine research with colleagues from some of the most internationally respected universities in the United States.”

Cavitation Research Laboratory Research Leader, Professor Paul Brandner added: “The cavitation tunnel can be used to create experimental conditions that more accurately model the physics of real cavitating and bubbly flows.

“These complex flows can create significant problems including noise, vibration and metal erosion. New results and greater understanding obtained from this research will be used to develop better computational flow models for improved design of ship and submarine propellers and hull shapes.”

Minister Pyne said the grant was being provided under the Next Generation Technologies Fund led by the Defence Science and Technology Group.

“I congratulate the University of Tasmania on their sound research proposal and wish them all success with their US partnership in delivering a maritime capability for Australia,” he said.

Published on: 20 Feb 2018