Ship technology

Large water tank

Großes Wasserbecken. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Großes Wasserbecken. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
More information

Ships are pushed out of their upright swimming position by wind and waves or other external forces. How should they be constructed so that they automatically return to their upright position after the external force has ceased ? Heeling tests using ship models are carried out in the large water tank to determine and compare how different shapes of ships influence their stability, i.e. their ability to regain upright position.

To perform inclining test, loads can be shifted on the models and inclinations can be read from a mechanical clinometer fixed at the models. From the measured behaviour of the ship one can deduce her lightship weight, the coordinates of her center of gravity and her stability through determining her metacentric height. Such measurements must also be carried out at the shipyards before delivery of a ship as so-called heeling experiments. Their results determine which course a skipper can take with his ship in wind and sea conditions without risking capsizing. Shipbuilding engineers would be glad if captains had to carry out such trials after loading their ships and before starting their cruise.

Depending on the visitors´ age, different experiments are offered on the topics of "buoyancy and swimming", "density", "shape and speed of a ship" " and "center of gravity and metacenter of a ship".