The Center for Maritime Systems
The economic health and security of the nation is inherently linked to our estuaries and coastal zones, and the maritime industries they support. The nation’s ports and waterways handle more than two billion tons of cargo annually and 95% by weight of all U.S. overseas trade. Significant expansion of port facilities in the U.S. and abroad continues in the face of security threats to vessels and shoreside facilities, and natural hazards to shipping and port operations.
Our shorelines and waterways also provide vital habitat for threatened and endangered species, and recreational benefits to millions of citizens. These water bodies are threatened by environmental problems that include sea level rise; development pressure along wetlands and eroding shorelines; and water quality degradation. In spite of these difficulties, there has been a remarkable resurgence of public and private interest in the restoration of our nation’s waterways and waterfronts. Ensuring that our estuary and coastal resources are preserved for future generations will require maintenance of the fragile balance between vigorous environmental stewardship of inland and coastal waterways and enhancement of the economic and recreational opportunities afforded by these waterways.
Effective responses will necessitate the development of new technologies in support of the nation’s Naval and industrial maritime infrastructure. These technologies include monitoring, detection, forecasting and control systems that address:
- Port, terminal, and waterway
- Weather and oceanographic conditions
- Infrastructure corrosion and integrity
- Logistic and asset management, including cargo, containers, vessels, trucks, and railroad
- Environmental conditions (e.g., water and sediment contamination, chemical/biological agents, accidental and intentional spills)
“From historic Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook National Seashore to the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Hudson-Raritan Estuary is home to perhaps the most vital collection of waterways and coastlines in the world,” said Bruno. “Ensuring that these resources are preserved for future generations will require vigorous stewardship of the state's inland and coastal waterways.
A renowned research center directed by Dr. Michael S. Bruno, the Davidson Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology advances coastal and marine engineering through its many partnerships with industry, government and the academic world.
The Center for Maritime Systems, located on the Hudson River waterfront of Stevens Institute of Technology, will provide a uniquely collaborative environment in which academic researchers, government, and the maritime community work together to address the technical challenges facing the nation’s marine transportation industry and the fields of naval architecture, ocean engineering, and marine environmental engineering. The inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students in this collaborative research endeavor continues the Stevens tradition of Technogenesis® - where students, faculty, government and industry jointly nurture new technologies to the benefit of society. This activity, coupled with a vibrant public outreach program, will create the nation’s premier facility for the attraction and education of tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of naval architecture, ocean engineering, and marine environmental engineering.
There is an urgent need for undergraduate and graduate instruction in the various disciplines that have contributed to the nation’s preeminence in maritime systems, including naval architecture, hydrodynamics, and ocean engineering. The National Research Council, Naval Studies Board recently issued a report on the status of US facilities in the area of naval hydrodynamics and hydro-acoustics, jointly termed "hydromechanics". The report calls attention to the need for significant national investment directed at improving US capabilities in naval hydromechanics, and also calls for "a more active collaborative relationship between university and (Navy) center researchers…”
A significant goal of the project is to relocate the 67-year-old Davidson Laboratory from its current Stevens campus building on Hudson Street to the riverfront center below Castle Point. The relocation will help further the lab’s global mission and partnerships. The new Davidson Lab at the maritime center will include the most technologically advanced wave-testing tank in the world, visible to members of the public via a transparent exterior wall. A waterfront platform for a suite of scientific instruments will be a major research element, along with docking facilities for Stevens research vessels and visiting vessels from other institutions. The lab also continues to be actively involved in R&D efforts to develop the next generation of marine craft.
“The center will be unique in its combination of advanced research, technology development and commercialization, and public education and outreach,” said Bruno. “The center’s displays will include exciting accounts of the harbor’s development, which in many ways reflects the development of the United States’ infrastructure and economy. There are many great stories to be shared.”
Stevens Institute of Technology has a long and distinguished history in the conduct of basic and applied research in Ocean Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Environmental Engineering. Since 1935, Stevens has enjoyed a unique relationship with naval architecture, marine engineering and aerospace industry leaders, and Federal agencies including the U.S. Navy, Army, and Coast Guard, the National Science Foundation, NOAA, FEMA, and the National Weather Service.
“The Center for Maritime Systems will promote applied research aimed at safeguarding the environmental and economic vitality of the estuary and the port,” says Stevens’ president, Dr. Harold J. Raveche. “This facility will be a vital addition not only to our campus, but will also benefit the general public from across the New York City region and beyond. Many of our Technogenesis partners will become collaborators-in-residence at the center, adding new dimensions to the Technogenesis® process at Stevens.”
A description of the new Center for Maritime Systems:
- A world-class wave tank and towing tank complex to support leading-edge research into marine craft dynamics, physical oceanography and ocean monitoring instrumentation.
- 250 feet long, 20 feet wide, 12 feet deep
- towing speed up to 100 feet/sec.
- wavemaking capability to 3 feet height
- advanced instrumentation, including laser and acoustic Doppler velocimeters, flow visualization}
- Advanced computational facilities to support research in Computational Fluid Dynamics and marine forecasting, including numerical modeling of vessel dynamics, nearshore processes, wave dynamics, and ocean circulation.
- Offices and classrooms for Center researchers and staff, as well as partners from government and the maritime community. Classrooms will accommodate graduate & undergraduate instruction in the various disciplines represented by Center researchers. A state-of-the-art public outreach center will describe ongoing Center research activities and will enable the development of ocean-based pre-college lesson plans in mathematics and the sciences, and ocean project-based learning modules for undergraduate engineering courses.
- Dock and monitoring systems: deepwater dock and shoreside facilities will support the Stevens research vessels, as well as visiting vessels. The facility will serve as a platform for the development and testing of advanced real-time ocean and port monitoring systems and cargo and vessel tracking systems.
- A museum-quality public outreach and interpretive center will attract visitors from throughout the region. Revolving modular exhibits will keep the public informed of current research projects and recall the rich history of the harbor. Classroom space will be built into the center's structure, the better to provide interactive programs to young visitors. The history of naval architecture at Stevens, including the historic model-testing at Davidson Lab of many vessels destined for the America’s Cup competition, will also be an educational component of the center.
Architect Demetri Sarantitis will design the state-of-the-art facility, with emphasis on transparency of structure and public interactivity. The targeted date for completion of the center facility is the latter half of 2004.
Contact information: Dr. Harold J. Raveche, President, Stevens
Institute of Technology, Castle Point, Hoboken, N.J. 07030