Deep-water wave basin

Caption: Deep-water wave basin

Make an enquiry about our laboratory facilities

Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster

The BBC One documentary featured Imperial’s Dr Luke Muscutt, who was interviewed by Sir David Attenborough while testing out his robotic plesiosaur named Flip. Flip was swimming inside our deep-water wave tank. 

Our laboratory is one of the best-equipped facilities of its kind covering a floor area of some 3000 square meters.

The Hydrodynamics Laboratory is located in the basement of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Building on the South Kensington Campus of Imperial College and has a tradition of excellence in wide-ranging areas of fluid mechanics with civil and environmental engineering applications.

The Hydrodynamics Laboratory is equipped with a wide range of facilities to simulate waves and their influence on the natural and built environment. Our state-of-the-art facilities can be used to experimentally generate waves, winds and currents propagating in one or more directions. Waves and current propagating in one direction are typically simulated in our 6 wave flumes, while waves propagating in multiple directions are generated in our 2 wave basins. Each wave generation facility is fitted with a modern active-absorption control system, enabling the most realistic representation of ocean wave conditions. 

Our variety in geometric and operational characteristics provides an exceptional opportunity to conduct experiments at different scales and complexities. This experimental capacity is combined with our unique expertise in fluid mechanics to conduct word-leading research. 

Our large scale facilities are complemented by:

  • State-of-the-art measuring equipment
  • Surface elevations
  • Kinematics
  • ADV, PIV and lasers
  • Forces/pressures/accelerations
  • High speed camerasDevelopment of custom instrumentation for applications
  • Fully equipped workshop with specialised technical team
  • In-house manufacturing of prototypes and physical models

What we offer

Experimental investigations

  • State-of-the-art measuring equipment for water surface elevations and velocities. 
  • Wave-structure interactions: force measurements and body motions. 
  • High speed cameras and flow visualisation (e.g., PIV, ADV). 
  • Bespoke instrumentation development for challenging problems. 

Numerical simulations

  • Development of fit-for-purpose numerical models. 
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) 
  • Spectral and process-cased modelling at local/regional scales. 
  • Digital twins of laboratory and field metocean conditions. 
  • Coastal evolution and modelling. 

2 column block of things

Field data analysis

  • Analysis and interpretation of in-situ measurements (wave buoys and radars). 
  • Shoreline detection and modelling using satellite measurements. 

Analytical developments

  • Theoretical modelling of nonlinear wave mechanics. 
  • Stochastic representation of large ocean waves. 
  • Analytical description of wave evolution in the coastal zone. 
  • Forces and motions of ocean structures. 

Current research themes

  • Ocean Engineering 
  • Coastal Engineering 
  • Wave-structure interaction (offshore and coastal structures) 
  • Floating bodies and marine renewables 
  • Coastal erosion and flooding 
  • Air-sea interaction  

Key facilities compared

FacilityUnidirectional wavesDiretional wavesCurrentAdditional capabilities
Deep-water basin   Adjustable bed
Shallow-water basin Towing facility
Coastal flume     Adjustable bed
Long flume     Towing facility
Very long flume     Variable bathymetry
Double ended   Wind generation
Current flume     Drop test rig

Interested in consultancy, collaboration or hiring our faciliites?

Our testing facilities are suitable for hire and consultancy for all organisations from small-to-medium enterprises through to multinationals.

Complete our enquiries form to request an initial consultation and bespoke quotation. 

Our people and expertise

Fluid Mechanics Academic and Teaching Staff A-Z

Photo Details

Henry Burridge

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, PhD
Transport of heat and mass by convection; Convection in the built environment; Effective ventilation of buildings; Modification of natural materials for use in buildings.

Adrian Callaghan

Senior Lecturer, PhD
Director of MSc Engineering Fluid Mechanics for the Offshore, Coastal and Built Environments
Breaking waves; Surface water waves; Two-phase flows; Air-entrainment; Upper ocean turbulence. 

Marios Christou

Senior Lecturer in Fluid Mechanics and Mathematics, PhD, DIC, MEng, ACGI
Metocean, Offshore and coastal engineering; Wave statistics; Freak/rogue waves; Analysis of field measurements; Wave-structure interaction; Wave-vessel interaction; Infragravity waves; Side-by-side and tandem offloading; Boundary Element Modelling.

John Craske

Senior Lecturer, Imperial College Research Fellow, PhD
Undergraduate Examinations Officer
Building physics; Buoyancy-driven turbulence; Jets and plumes; Numerical analysis; Inverse problems; Adjoint methods; Flow optimisation; Data assimilation.

Graham Hughes

Chair in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, PhD
Head of Fluid Mechanics Section
Buoyancy-driven flows; Stratified turbulence and mixing; Convection; Turbulent plumes and jets; Flow energetics.

Ioannis Karmpadakis

Lecturer in Coastal Engineering, PhD
Coastal engineering, wave heights, crest heights, wave breaking, coastal structures, nonlinear waves, shallow water depths, statistics
Email Ioannis

Li Ma

Lecturer in Fluid-Structure Interaction, PhD, DIC, MEng, ACGI
Fluid-structure interaction; Renewable energy systems; Extreme waves; Load statistics; Reliability; Hydrodynamic impacts; Wave-in-deck; Convective flows
Email Li

Costanza Rodda

Lecturer in Fluid Mechanics, PhD
Geophysical fluid mechanics, wave-vortex interactions, turbulence, buoyancy-driven flows, building ventilation, laboratory experiments, data-driven modelling

Daniel Valero Huerta

Senior Lecturer, PhD
Hydraulic engineering; Hydraulic infrastructure; River flows; Multiphase flows; Plastic in rivers; Air-water flows; Sediment-laden flows

Maarten van Reeuwijk 

Professor of Urban Fluid Mechanics, BSc MSc PhD
Buoyancy driven flows; Atmospheric and oceanic turbulence; Sustainable cities; Flow and dispersion in urban canopies; Heat and mass transfer; Direct Numerical Simulation; Large-eddy simulation.
Fluid Mechanics Academics A-Z
Fluid Mechanics

Download our Departmental Research Brochure

Fluid Mechanics Research Staff A-Z

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Barnaby Dobson

Imperial College Research Fellow, PhD
Keywords: Water resources modelling; Optimization; Uncertainty and systems analysis; 
Project: Integrated urban water cycle modelling for London (as part of the Camellia project)
Email Barnaby

Alice Handy

Research Associate, PhD
Keywords: Urban fluid mechanics, building ventilation and pollutant dispersion
Project: SAMHE investigating indoor air quality in schools
Email Alice

Jingzi Huang

Research Assistant
Keywords: large eddy simulations, urban fluid mechanics, transport.
Effect of urban heterogeneity on atmospheric flow. 
Email Jingzi

Dipanjan Majumdar

Research Associate
Turbulence at the Exascale: Application to Wind Energy, Green Aviation, Air Quality and Net-zero Combustion
Email Dipanjan

Paul Mannix

Research Associate
Project: Prediction and control of stratifications using probabilistic methods (as part of [D*]stratify)
Keywords: Probabilistic methods, Adjoint optimisation, Hydrodynamic stability, Optimisation
Email Paul

Kat Roberts

Research Associate, PhD
Schools' air quality monitoring for health and education
Email Kat

Samuel Wood

Research Associate, PhD
Developing models to better understand the role that building ventilation plays in the spread of Covid-19
Email Sam
Fluid Mechanics Research Staff A-Z
Fluid Mechanics

Fluid Mechanics Research Students A-Z


Umniya Al Khalili

Started Oct 2022
Numerical simulation of waves over coastal bathymetries
Supervised by: Christou, M.Karmpadakis, I.
Email Umniya
Yusuf Almalki

Yusuf Almalki

Started Jan 2020
Coastal waves / Floating bodies
Supervised by: Swan, C.; Karmpadakis, I.
Email Yusuf

Nada Alsulaiman

Started Feb 2021
Numerical modelling of the thermal effluent of power plants in a shallow, semi-enclosed bay
Supervised by: Piggot, M; van Reeuwijk, M.
Email Nada
Vasilis Bellos

Vasilis Bellos

Started Jan 2020
Wave propagation over complex coastal bathymetry
Supervised by: Karmpadakis, I.; Swan, C.
Email Vasilis
Rui Cao

Rui Cao

Started Nov 2018
Breaking wave energy dissipation, air entrainment and bubble statistics in the absence & presence of wind forcing
Supervised by: Callaghan, A; Swan, C.
Email Rui

Lianzheng Cui

Started Oct 2022
Turbulent entrainment in stratified oceanic multiphase flows
Supervised by: van Reeuwijk, M.Hughes, G.
Email Lianzheng
 Lei Dai

Lei Dai

Started Oct 2020
The effective modelling of hydrodynamic impacts
Supervised by: Ma, L.; Swan, C.
Email Lei

Lizzie Ellison

Started Oct 2018 
Carbon dioxide sequestration through ocean fertilization and potential for harvest of calcium carbonate from marine organisms
As part of the CDT in Sustainable Civil Engineering
Supervised by: Mashayek, ACheeseman, C.R.
Email Lizzie
Pu Gong

Pu Gong

Started May 2018
Numerical study of the natural ventilation driven by an occupant’s heat output considering the effect of radiation
Supervised by: Hughes, G.Burridge, H.C
Email Pu
Steven Huo

Steven (Cheong) Huo

Started Oct 2019
Development of a probabilistic wave loading model for offshore structural designs
Supervised by: Swan, C.; Ma, L.Karmpadakis, I.
Email Steven
Canwei Jin

Canwei Jin

Started Jan 2022
Peering inside breaking waves
Supervised by: Callaghan, ACraske, J
Email Canwei
 Cleo Jongedijk

Cleo Jongedijk

Started Dec 2017
Lagrangian tracking of plastic particles in coastal areas and evaluation of beaching
Supervised by: van Reeuwijk, M., Alsina, J.
Email Cleo

Younmo Lee

Started Apr 2017
Wave-structure and wave vessel interactions
Supervised by: Swan, C.; Ma, L.
Email Younmo

Lucy Xinlu Mao

Started Oct 2021
The reliability of offshore floating wind farms
Supervised by: Swan, C.; Ma, L.Karmpadakis, I.
Email Lucy

Sam Owens

Started Oct 2019
Towards real-time simulation of urban air quality and microclimate
Supervised by: van Reeuwijk, M.
Email Sam
 Xiwu Pang

Xiwu Pang

Started Nov 2021
Simulating fluid load on offshore wind turbines
Supervised by: Christou, M.
Email Xiwu

Joe Peach

Started Oct 2019
Measuring the space and time evolution of the geometric, kinematic and dynamic properties of oceanic breaking waves
Supervised by: Callaghan, A; Benetazzo, A; Bidlot, J.
Email Joe
Nick Reynard

Nick Reynard

Started Oct 2018

As part of the CDT in Sustainable Civil Engineering
Supervised by: Mashayek, ACheeseman, C.R.
Email Nick

Rodrigo Ribeiro

Started Sep 2020
Uncovering the criteria for ship-contrail formation using high fidelity simulations
Supervised by: van Reeuwijk, M.
Email Rodrigo

Chenduo Wang

Started Oct 2022
Understanding stochastic behavior of passive tracers transport and thermal effects in built environment
Supervised by: Craske, JHughes, G.
Email Chenduo
Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson

Started Oct 2021
Quantifying variability of the surface energy balance in heterogeneous vegetated urban areas
Supervised by: van Reeuwijk, M.
Email Chris

William Wright

Started Oct 2023
Addressing coastal erosion: Stochastic modelling of shoreline evolution under a changing climate
Supervised by: Craske, JKarmpadakis, I.
Email William
Fluid Mechanics Research Students A-Z
Fluid Mechanics

Fluid Mechanics Emeritus, Senior Research Investigators, Visitors and Honorary staff

Photo Details
Chris Swan

Chris Swan

Emeritus Professor of Hydrodynamics, PhD, CEng, MIMarEST
Surface water waves; Extreme ocean waves; Wave kinematics; Wave statistics; Wave-structure and wave-vessel interactions; Wave loading; Impact loading; Experimental and numerical modeling. 
Emeritus and Senior Research Investigators
Emeritus and Senior Research Investigators

Visiting and honorary staff

Name Details
Ben Devenish
Honorary Visiting Professor
Met Office.
Turbulence and dispersion (particularly in the atmospheric boundary layer), buoyant plumes, and the dispersion of volcanic ash and cloud formation.
Shaui Huang
Visiting Academic
National Institute of Natural Hazards, China. 
Fluid-structure interaction of floating objects, with applications that include the tracking of sea/river ice, the motion of tsunami debris and their impacts on infrastructure and built environments. 
Visiting and Honorary staff

Technical, laboratory and administration staff

 Dave de Ruyter  

Dave de Ruyter 

Laboratory Technician, Fluid Mechanics
Room 101b, +44 (0)207 594 5925, Email Dave

Andy Wilson

Laboratory Technician, Fluid Mechanics
Room 010a, +44 (0)207 594 5938, Email Andy
Darren Jupp

Darren Jupp 

Laboratory Technician, Fluid Mechanics
Room 010a, +44 (0)207 594 5957, Email Darren
 Rebecca Naessens

Rebecca Naessens

Research Group Administrator, Fluid Mechanics
Room 328, +44 ( 0)207 594 5990, Email Rebecca
Professional Services Staff
Finance, HR and Research Admin