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Carderock Division engineers upgrade Test Model Servicing Device capability

By Nicholas Malay, NSWCCD Public Affairs | April 2, 2015

WEST BETHESDA, Md. - The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock, is upgrading the portion of David Taylor Model Basin designed to allow engineers to repair or adjust small-scale ship models without needing to completely remove them from the basin, the Navy announced April 2.Called the Test Model Servicing Device, the component is essentially a walled-off compartment at the east end of the larger David Taylor Model Basin, with a door that can open to allow test models to be towed inside. Once the model is inside, the door is closed and water is pumped out, giving engineers access to a dry environment for servicing or adjusting the models. The floor of the compartment can also be raised or lowered as needed."The replacement includes adding additional capabilities such as the ability to handle longer and heavier models, as well as vastly increase work and rigging areas around the new [facility]," said NSWC Carderock Mechanical Engineer and Test Model Servicing Device Project Manager Scott Carpenter. The newly installed walls hold back basin water and are made with 14 inches of steel reinforced concrete. Below the moveable platform are four pumps used to drain and submerge the area."This replacement of old equipment was necessary because it had outlived its design life," Carpenter said.Much of the work, which began in December, revolved around upgrading the device's moveable platform, which is now nearly twice as long, measuring in at 45 feet."The Test Model Servicing Device's original moveable platform was approximately 23 feet long and made of steel," Carpenter said. "After 66 years of use, the supporting structure began to corrode and work platforms were deteriorating as well."The preliminary planning for this replacement project began in 2003, with the intention of both replacing aging structures, as well as expanding the facility so that it can service larger models."The new 45-foot long [Test Model Servicing Device] will provide sponsors with the capability to test larger-scale ratio models, thus reducing the impact of scaling effects and increasing the confidence of test results used in developing new submarines and surface ships," said NSWC Carderock Hydro Facility Engineering Division Head Joe Moeller. "Additionally, the new servicing device will provide a lifting platform capacity of over 20,000 pounds allowing the handling of not only longer, but heavier models."The entire David Taylor Model Basin building is 3,200 feet long and houses the Shallow Water Basin, Deep Water Basin and High Speed Basin. Wave-makers in the basin produce head and following waves. This allows engineers and scientists to determine the seakeeping qualities and propulsion characteristics of models in either uniform or irregular waves.Research into hull forms, propulsion and ship dynamics provides the foundation for new ship and submarine designs for the U.S. Navy. "This research is critical in helping the Navy to better understand the performance of existing assets to gain undiscovered efficiencies and reduce operational and maintenance costs as well," Carpenter said.

The upgrade project is expected to complete in time for the 2015 International Submarine Races, scheduled to be held during the week of June 22-26 at Carderock.