Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP)
Description of the site visit
The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto is engaged in education, research and innovation at the international level. Its work has led to the creation and transmission of knowledge, the training of competent and ethical professionals and future leaders in the fields of engineering and similar areas, and also the promotion of the wellbeing of our society as a whole.
FEUP hosts more than 25 R&D Centres, Interface Institutes, Associated Laboratories and Competence Centres dedicated to the different areas of engineering, including: water resources, environment, urban hydraulics, coastal infrastructures, offshore applications and water-related energy.
The proposed visit will be to FEUP’s Hydraulics Laboratory, which is a part of the Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division (SHRHA) of the Civil Engineering Department.
The Hydraulics Laboratory at the SHRHA is a top research facility with several ongoing R&D and innovation projects carried out by Ph.D. and post-doc researchers, M.Sc. students, senior engineers and professors in cooperation with national and international stakeholders in water research, innovation and the business sector.
The Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division has the mission of enhancing the local, national and international role of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto in multidisciplinary research, training and consultancy with a clear focus on coastal and offshore zones, marine and fluvial environments, and urban areas.
SHRHA contributes with R&D activities related to water management, urban water infrastructures, water supply chains and infrastructures, such as dams.
It also has major projects and makes major contributions within the marine renewable energy sector, namely in wave energy research and offshore energy infrastructures. It also plays a crucial R&D role within estuarine, coastal protection and management activities, and ports, shipping and ocean engineering.
SHRHA supported by its Hydraulics Laboratory develops collaborative research through national and EU research, innovation and development funding programmes. It also contributes to the integration of research results – knowledge transfer and dissemination – by means of contracts established with national bodies, e.g. the Ministry of Environment and Regional Planning and Water Authorities, regional bodies, including several harbour authorities, and local authorities, as well as with the private sector (mostly planners and engineering enterprises).
During the several years of its existence, SHRHA and its facilities have contributed to the improvement of FEUP’s international profile and scientific productivity, by means of increasing the number of papers submitted to international journals and conferences with peer review, and by participating in scientific meetings, within the broadly defined water resources field.
Moreover, SHRHA is responsible for the support and maintenance of the Integrated Master’s degree and Doctoral Programme in Civil Engineering, more precisely in modules concerning hydraulics, water resources, marine, hydrology and fluvial issues.
SHRHA brings together more than 25 collaborators, including professors, researchers and technicians, with a percentage of Ph.D. holders of around 65%. The Hydraulics Laboratory staff form a highly skilled and specialized team, with complementary and multidisciplinary expertise and a notable international component.
The Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) is an Associate Laboratory with more than 30 years of experience in R&D and technology transfer. Operating at 6 sites in the cities of Porto, Braga and Vila Real, INESC TEC includes 13 R&D Centres and one Associate Unit with complementary competences, always with the international market in mind.
INESC TEC brings together more than 650 researchers, of whom more than 300 have PhDs, forming a robust cluster with complementary skills and with a notable international presence. INESC TEC invests in scientific research and technological development, advanced training and consulting, technology transfer and also supports the creation of new technology-based companies.
INESC TEC was created to act as an interface between the academic world, industry and services, and public administration.
The visit includes
The Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division, part of the Civil Engineering Department, with the support of its Hydraulics Laboratory (Figure 1), develops R&D projects in the field of hydraulics (fluvial, urban, coastal and offshore), water resources and the environment.
The Hydraulics Laboratory has recent and high-quality experimental facilities and equipment, occupying a total area of 1500 m2. It is one of the largest research facilities at the University of Porto and is among the most advanced hydraulic engineering laboratories in the country. The laboratory undertakes extensive physical and numerical modelling activities within the scope of R&D projects and consultancy contracts.
The laboratory houses three major facilities: two current flumes and a wave basin.
The wave basin is 12 m wide, 1.2 m high and has a total length of 28 m (Figure 2). It includes four side glass windows to allow visual observation of the flow and uses advanced technologies for velocity field characterization (e.g. Laser Doppler Anemometry). The centre pit located in the middle of the wave basin provides an additional water depth of about 1.5 m.
The wave basin is equipped with a multi-directional, piston-type wave generation system (Figure 3) enabling the simulation of user-defined regular and irregular waves and therefore the experimental testing of coastal, port and offshore structures in realistic conditions.
The wave generation system allows the simulation of 2D and 3D sea-states, with a direction of propagation perpendicular to the paddles or at an angle. Short crested waves can also be generated.
The wave basin is also equipped with several resistive-type wave gauges to record the water free surface elevation. In addition, several other high tech systems are currently used in R&D projects, namely: LDA (Laser Doppler Anemometry); ADV (Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters) for high accuracy velocity measurements; 2D sea-bed profilers for fluvial, coastal and offshore bathymetry and morphology evolution studies; pressure transducers; six degrees of freedom motion capture systems for measuring the motions of floating bodies; force transducers; and a laser scanner, among others.
The two current flumes are mainly used for fluvial research purposes and the study of hydraulic structures, such as dam spillways. The smallest one has a rectangular cross section, 0.40 m wide and 0.60 m high, a useful length of 17.00 m and its longitudinal slope can be adjusted .
The flow rate and flow conditions are controlled by an upstream valve and a downstream floodgate. Glass walls cover the full length of the flume for observation purposes and for the application of optical/laser measurement techniques.
The largest flow flume has a width of 1.00 m, a depth of 1.33 m and a length of 32.3 m . It is equipped with 7 glass walls and has a fixed slope of 0.5%. The flow height and velocity of this flume are also adjustable.
Besides the wave basin and current flumes, the laboratory also has other smaller and movable equipment which may be used in training, teaching and research activities, namely: a compact grey water treatment system (Figure 10 – left), dam spillways (Figure 10 – right) and hydraulic pumps, among others.
Several multidisciplinary research studies and consultancy activities can be performed at SHRHA. Examples of recent projects are:
2017 – MORPHEUS - River bed MORPHology and Erosion studieS - PTDC/ECM-HID/6387/2014|16825.
2016 – OPWEC - Optimizing Wave Energy Converters, PTDC/MAR-TEC/6984/2014|16882.
2015-2019. HYDRALAB+ Adapting to climate change. H2020, European Commission.
2014 - Numerical and experimental study of the flow around complex bridge piers. EXPL/ECM-HID/1663/2013.
2013 - Experimental study on a Wave Energy Converter, physical modelling study for CORPOWER.
2012-2015 - EnviCOP-Environmentally Friendly Coastal Protection in a Changing Climate. FP7-PEOPLE, European Commission.
2012 – Study of the new container terminal at Leixões Port.
The second visit will be to INESC TEC, to the Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS) of INESC TEC, consisting of two laboratories at FEUP and ISEP. Both labs have the required equipment and tools to integrate payload systems on-board robotic platforms, and are also equipped with water test tanks where underwater systems can be tested (depth of 2 m at FEUP and of 5 m at ISEP).
These institutions have extensive experience in R&D projects funded by the European Commission.
What is innovative about it?
A wave basin equipped with a multidirectional, piston-type wave maker able to generate realistic sea states (the largest wave basin based in a Portuguese university).
Information about multidisciplinary R&D projects covering the main domains of hydraulics, water resources and environment.
Ongoing experimental R&D studies using a wide variety of advanced equipment.
The Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS) of INESC TEC conducts research and development activities in autonomous robotic systems, mobile robotics and mobile multi-robot systems for inspection, monitoring and mapping, with applications in security, power systems, environment, aquaculture, oceanography, marine biology, resource extraction, among other sectors. These activities are supported by research in perception, navigation, control, localization, coordination, and automatic data collection and processing.
Both laboratories are part of the research infrastructure TEC4SEA, which is a unique and pioneer platform in Europe to support research, development, and testing of marine robotics, telecommunications, and sensing technologies for monitoring and operations in an ocean environment.
INESC TEC is deeply committed to becoming a centre of excellence in maritime technology (particularly in deep sea technology). It is strategically located, with fast access to deep sea areas, and has been steadily evolving its skills, capabilities and resources. It is presently in the process of implementing an open research infrastructure, in preparation to become capable of providing services and open access to the European academic and industrial communities and thereby become recognized as a European maritime research asset.
Location, time and accessibility
Location: Municipality of Porto
Meeting point: Asprela Campus (FEUP)
Duration: 3 hours