Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. SUSTAIN Laboratory | Facility
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Figure 1. Aerial View of MTLSS building location on the RSMAS campus of the University of Miami with SUSTAIN laboratory on the LHS.

A significant component of the Marine Technology and Life Sciences Building (Figure 1) is the Alfred C. Glassell JR, SUSTAIN laboratory. The entire working area of the building is elevated to 15’ above grade to protect against storm surge flooding. The MTLSS has met the stringent Miami-Dade county hurricane building codes, which requires among many of its standards that all glazing withstand 155 mph projectile impact. The building is supplied with flowing filtered seawater that is drawn from the University Dock on Bear Cut which can be seen in Figure 1. The SUSTAIN laboratory is an open 2-story space that occupies ~1/3 of the square footage of the MTLSS building. It includes 2 offices, 2 work rooms, storage areas, experiment staging areas, mechanical and electrical rooms. The office host the Director and Graduate students. Additional office and meeting space to host users and students will be made available for SUSTAIN visitors in the remaining 2/3 of the MTLSS.

SUSTAIN includes a unique capability to generate directional waves combined with direct wind forcing. The facility is equipped with a single 1460 HP fan that has generated winds in the test section of up 62 m/s. When the winds are scaled by a boundary layer profile this is equivalent to a wind speed > 100 m/s or a very strong category 5 hurricane. To power the fan above 15% load, the campus diesel generator will be used to reduce peak line power demands. The automatic switchover to generator power has been tested and certified by Florida Power and Light and is working well. To generate directional waves (with ~11° resolution), a computer-controlled series of 12 piston-type hydraulic wave paddles manufactured by HR Wallingford is positioned immediately underneath the air-intake duct.

The SUSTAIN tank has a total dimensions of 23-m long x 6-m wide x 2-m high. The 18-m long test section is constructed of acrylic material to allow innovative optical measurements and flow visualization. The acrylic is mounted within a stainless steel frame that is used to rigidly mount instrumentation. SUSTAIN is entirely composed of materials to allow saltwater use. An aluminum parabolic segmented sloping beach with a 1-m horizontal section at the end of the test-section is located at the opposite end of the facility from the wavemaker, this provides an additional mounting surface and dissipation of incident wave energy to reduce reflections. The test section is elevated to the first floor above grade and has a high-bay ceiling to allow optimal flexibility for test equipment. SUSTAIN has offices for staff and the director, electrical and computer laboratories, a specimen fabrication shop and a roll-up entrance door and overhead hoist to handle large specimens. An additional smaller wind-wave tank, the ASIST facility (15x1x1 m) is available for studies that require smaller scales.

Figure 2. 1st floor plan of the SUSTAIN laboratory, with scale as shown 22’ between largest pile spacing. The SUSTAIN occupies all space to the right of the exit stairways as shown. It includes 2 offices and 2 lab spaces.

Figure 3/(left) Overhead view from inlet end of SUSTAIN showing high overhead space crane track and acrylic construction. Fan can be seen on the RHS. (right) Mechanically generated breaking wave in SUSTAIN.

Figure 4. Panoramic view over the top of the SUSTAIN looking toward lobby, inlet and outlet ductwork is visible to the left and right respectively. Beam spacing on tank is 2-m crosswise x 1.8 m lengthwise.

Figure 5 (left) 1460 HP axial fan to provide wind in test section. Vibration and sound control and testing provided. (right) 12-element directional wavemaker in SUSTAIN, wind inlet with vortex generators shown. The inlet can be rotated up or down to provide for a smoother entrance of air flow over no waves or to move it out of the way of large wave generation.