After long months of planning, and designing, the wave tanks have arrived! The deep water and shore tanks are both equipped with manual wave makers – allowing visitors the opportunity to get a feel for how stroke and frequency immediately affect the shape of a wave.

Waves in the large, dual flume tank will be controlled by a computer kiosks that drive two very powerful motors, able to create any precise wave form, multiple sine forms, and a very impressive tsunami wave. Graduate students and faculty have been scrambling all week to prepare activities for each tank. Some of the activities will include:

  • Shore tank – revetment and erosion strategies. Lincoln logs, gravel, plants, and Lego sea walls.
  • Deep water tank – understanding wave physics. ping pong balls, neutral buoyant rubber ducks, food dyes, and wave energy buoys
  • Flume tank – tsunami resistant structures. Lego and Lincoln log building challenges .

We are setting up everything just in time for the summer rush. We will have 3 interns manning the tank areas and working all the activities with the public – working out what is successful and what needs modification. This whole tank area is one of the largest prototypes the Visitor Center has every deployed. There are lots of questions to answer, and design modifications in the fall.

Peeling the protective paper off the plexi revealed transparent layers of sparkling, clear wonder – We owe a special thanks to James Steele of Envision Acrylics for some beautiful craftsmanship.

While we’ve been working on the tanks our visitors have been very curios, and are full of questions. We opened the deep water tank for use yesterday and watched with a mix of delight and horror the variety of wave making strategies 10 year old boys chose to employ.


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