Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vertical ship marks 50 years at sea

FLIP - The World's Strangest Research Lab :
the design allows researchers to take acoustic measurements, and study meteorology, physical oceanography and air-sea interactions.
(US Navy photos)

From BBC

Researchers have been showing off a 355 ft vertical ship in the Pacific Ocean, as it marks its 50th birthday.

"A ship rolls with storm waves, but FLIP is so stable it is almost immobile," Scripps Institute of Oceanography engineer Eric Slater said while describing a FLIP experience during a hurricane. "Waves hit it like a brick wall."

FLIP, or Floating Instrument Platform, is owned by the US Navy, conceived and developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, and flips from horizontal to a vertical position by pumping 700 tonnes of seawater into the 'handle' end.
Air is then pumped into the opposite end, causing it to rise up out of the sea.

Everything on board is designed to flip along with the ship, including beds, ketchup and other condiments, and even the bathroom sinks.

Once the 28 minute transformation from horizontal to vertical has taken place, 300m of the buoy are submerged underwater, keeping the 700 long-ton mass steady and making it perfect for researching wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and for the collection of meteorological data.

FLIP was created in 1962 by scientists Dr Fred Fisher and Dr Fred Spiess, who wanted a more stable space than a conventional research ship to study wave forms.

Links :
  • SCRIPPS: Around the Pier: Scripps’ One-of-a-kind FLIP turns 50
  • Ship Technology : FLIP, research vessel
  • Naval Today : US Navy’s Floating Instrument Platform Celebrates 50th Year of Service