Ocean Technology Modeling Facilities

National Research Council Canada, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
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 St. John’s 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 Coastal and River Engineering Facilities, located in Ottawa.

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
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Ocean industries
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
Ice tank research facility90 m long, 12-m-wide basin equipped with a tow carriage, models different types of ice conditions and tests ship resistance and self-propulsion, offshore simulation, captive and free maneuvering in ice and ice forces on structures.
Offshore engineering basin research facilityTo assess the performance and safety of marine systems. Can produce multi-directional waves up to 1 m in height and generate current and wind.
Towing tank research facilityTo simulate marine conditions and evaluate the performance of a wide range of marine systems. Can tow carriages up to 10 m per second, test self-propelled free-running models and generate waves.
Cavitation tunnel research facilityMeasures forces and pressure distributions on rudders, fins, hydrofoils, cable fairings, submerged bodies and hull appendages. Cavitation number range: sigma – 0.8 to 3.0. Propeller model sizes from 130 to 250 mm.
Frazil ice research facilityTo recreate frazil ice in a large, controlled and well instrumented test environment. High-precision temperature monitoring. Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter.
Refrigerated material test laboratory (cold test labs)Material testing for the marine industry that requires low temperatures and specialized equipment. Force measurement load cells. Linear variable differential transformers (LVDT). Extensometers and accelerometers.


  • 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