Since its construction in 1951 the Towing Tank at Newcastle has been in almost continuous use. The tank has been regularly updated to keep abreast of modern trends. This includes the wave making equipment and associated software controls, as well as instrumentation used. Recent upgrades include the installation of a state-of-the-art motor control system to enhance very slow speed and high speed testing capabilities.
Models are towed using a monorail carriage system that has a maximum speed of 3.5 m/s in its normal mode. The carriage can be programmed or manually controlled, while the data acquisition system, which also uses National Instruments LabView where appropriate, links to alternatively an on-board laptop that travels with the carriage, or a PC system alongside the tank.
The recently upgraded wavemakers can be used to generate regular waves of up to 0.12 m in height and wave periods in the range of 0.5 to 2 seconds. They are also capable of generating long crested random seas using a variety of wave spectra.