Inside the US Navy’s ‘Indoor Ocean’ Training Wave Pool

Derek Muller of Veritasium visited the Naval Service Warfare Center Carderock in Bethesda, Maryland to learn more about how water navigators are trained with an “indoor ocean”. This interior body of water is actually a giant wave pool, the largest in the world, that uses 216 giant paddles to create waves and conditions of any type that ships might encounter throughout the world.

This is the biggest wave pool in the world and they can make all kinds of different waves so they can test scale ships and make them better before they actually go out on the open ocean. …It is 360 feet long in this dimension, 240 feet long in that dimension. It’s 20 feet deep. Just about the size of a football field out there.

Muller further explains that the paddles use frequency rather than motion to generate waves.

There are lots of wave pools in the world, but what makes this one different is control. You can create waves of a specific amplitude and frequency and do so repeatedly. …They send out high frequency waves first followed by lower and lower frequency waves. And because the high frequency waves travel slower, the lower frequency waves gradually catch up. …The ocean engineers can do this again and again, in exactly the same way, thanks to their precise control over the waves.

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