Coastal and River Engineering Facilities

National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Addresses engineering challenges in rivers, lakes and marine environments using physical model test facilities, numerical modelling tools and field trials.

Areas of expertise

Our comprehensive test facilities located in Ottawa address our clients’ needs by providing solutions to complex problems involving marine vessels, structures, and environments. Building on our competencies of physical and numerical modelling in harsh environments characterized by wind, waves, and ice, our team of over 90 professionals has extensive experience in advanced engineering to meet the challenges of climate change, and protect infrastructure, property and people from severe weather events and other environmental risks.

Our products and services give Canadian industry an international market advantage by reducing risk and improving the longevity and performance of marine based assets. In addition, our business professionals understand how to navigate and work with other government and industry regulations.

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) also offers complementary Ocean Technology Modeling Facilities, located in St. John’s.

Research services

Our technical, advisory and collaboration services include: 

  • Marine performance, evaluation and optimization services, including ocean energy technologies, wave and turbulence modelling, operability, sea-keeping, resistance and propulsion, ship model correlation, full scale trials;
  • Ice technologies and services including data mining, field work, and numerical models;
  • Water resources services including hydrological modelling, hydraulic and hydrodynamic modelling, water quality modelling, hydro energy resource assessment, environmental decision support systems and water resources data integration.
Sectors of application
  • Defence and security industries
  • Ocean industries
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Transportation
Multidirectional wave basin research facilityUsed to assess the performance of marine and coastal infrastructure in a wide range of wave, current and wind conditions. Production of multidirectional waves. Wind and current field simulation. Can be drained and filled.
Large area basin research facilityIdeal for conducting large 3D physical model studies of hydrodynamics in rivers, coastal areas, offshore infrastructure, and ports. Production of multidirectional waves. High volume/velocity flow generation for riverine and hydraulic structure simulations.
Coastal wave basin research facilityIdeal for conducting 2D and 3D model studies of wave and current interactions with structures and shorelines. Generation of long-crested, irregular waves and bidirectional currents.
High-discharge flume research facilityUsed to simulate a wide range of open channel flows and study problems in rivers, canals and other inland waterways. Variable pitch pump provides high volume/speed flow. Adjustable sluice gate to control water level.
Hydraulics laboratories research facilitiesLarge number of numerical modelling tools to investigate water flows, tides and much more to verify the performance and optimize the design of specific projects.
Large wave flume research facilityUsed to test 2D sections of marine infrastructure and study coastal processes at a large scale. Wave-absorption technology. Bidirectional current generation.
Steel wave flume research facilityFor economical, medium-scale, 2D studies of coastal processes and wave-structure and currents interactions.


  • Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador (PRNL)
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Equinor Canada
  • Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)
  • Canadian Coast Guard (CCG)
  • Department of National Defense (DND)
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN)
  • University of Ottawa
  • Baird & Associates
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Technip Canada Limited
  • ARUP Group Limited