Newcastle University Open £2.5m Marine Engineering Centre at Port

Newcastle University Marine Engineering Centre at Port of Blyth

Newcastle University has unveiled its newly-refurbished Emerson Cavitation Tunnel as part of a £2.5m investment in marine engineering at the Port of Blyth.

Re-located from the University’s city centre campus, the cavitation tunnel’s new home at the Port is twice the size of its former location and includes a number of other experimental facilities to support world-leading research on propeller design and biofouling.

Part of the new Centre of Excellence for Marine Hydrodynamics, Coatings and Materials, this latest development builds on the University’s investment in marine science and engineering in Blyth.

These include the Blyth Marine Station, which houses teaching rooms, workshops and an aquarium, and the University’s Research Vessel – the Princess Royal. Both the Marine Station and the cavitation tunnel facility form part of the Port’s Blyth Education and Community Hub, which is designed to offer the community opportunities through education, training and participation.

As well as the University, the hub is also home to the Port Training Centre, Northumberland College, the Blyth Tall Ship Project, the Port Heritage Centre and the Blyth Boathouse restaurant.

Professor Phil Taylor, Head of the new School of Engineering, said the investment at Blyth further reaffirmed the region’s role as a global leader in marine engineering research and innovation.

“This new build at Port of Blyth will allow us to strengthen our research capacity and also increase our opportunities for new collaborations and partnerships with marine sector industries, which are so important to the North East economy,” said Professor Taylor.

Dating back to the 1950’s, the cavitation tunnel is an experimental facility used to test propellers and turbine blades and is the only one of its kind in the UK. Named after Dr Arnold Emerson, its long-serving superintendent whose dedication and service to the facility was acknowledged following the 1980 refurbishment, the facility was transported to Poland for refurbishment.

The purpose-built space comprises a 10t handling capability, 800 amp three phase supply, a flume for timed studies of marine coating formation and a soon-to-be-installed slime farm.

Port of Blyth Chief Executive Matin Lawlor, said: “The opening of this facility marks the final completion of phase two of the Blyth Education and Community Hub which comprises facilities for educating the next generation at all levels from first school through to PHDs, as well as serving the community of Blyth. We’ve been delighted to support Newcastle University on the relocation of the cavitation tunnel and look forward to a highly productive partnership over the coming few years”.

Take a virtual tour of the new facility here.