The Coastal & Ocean Basin (COB) facility, located in the Flanders Maritime Laboratory on the Ostend Science Park, accommodates industrial and academic driven testing of coastal and offshore engineering scale models. The COB is a state-of-the-art wave tank, composed of a large concrete structure (30m x 30m x 2.3m – L x W x H) filled with water in which high-quality waves, current and wind are generated in a controlled manner using advanced generator systems. 

The COB and its associated testing services have been designed in order to facilitate the needs of the coastal and offshore engineering community. Dikes, harbors, breakwaters, offshore (floating) wind turbines, wave energy converters and other coastal and offshore structures are currently installed globally. To guarantee optimal performance in extreme hydrodynamic conditions on sea, the function ability and survival capabilities of these structures need to be tested by the use of the COB and a scaled representation of the prototype situation. 

The scale models are placed in this wave basin and their design and behavior is studied in a 7m by 7m area with high-quality waves, current and wind. The COB has been designed with a number of unique features, such as the ability to generate waves, current and wind at any relative angle. Extreme directional wave conditions with a wave height up until 0.55m in combination with maximum current velocities of 0.4m/s will be generated.  

A summary of features and key characteristics of the Coastal & Ocean Basin (COB) is given below:

  • Basin dimensions: 30m x 30m x 2.3m (L x W x H)
  • Area for testing with high quality waves and currents: 7m x 7m
  • Maximum water depth: 1.4m
  • Maximum wave height: 0.55m
  • Maximum current velocity: 0.4m/s
  • Wavemaker: two wavemakers with piston type wave paddles, along two sides of the basin, to generate regular and irregular waves in a wide range of directions. Additionally second order accurate wave generation and active wave absorption minimize unwanted spurious waves in the basin.  
  • Technology readiness level (TRL): 1-4
  • Qualisys AB (above and under water) for high accuracy 6 degrees of motion tracking

The COB is equipped with a state-of-the-art data acquisition system and probes to measure water surface elevations, current and wind velocities, wave impact loads, wave overtopping, breakwater stability and will enable motion tracking of moving bodies under wave motion.  

Additionally, a 6 ton bridge crane can lift equipment and models into the wave tank for testing. Access doors towards the wave tank halls are foreseen (4.5m x 5m - W x H). A workshop for model construction and instrumentation is located directly next to the wave tank, together with the required storage areas. The COB location is in proximity to the highway A10 and is easily accessible for cargo trucks. 

There are currently no official testing standards for experiments in a wave tanks available. However, the following international manuals and guidelines are used, based on which the tested parameters can be assessed: 

  • EurOtop Manual 2018 (wave overtopping)
  • CEM 2003 (wave impact loading, breakwater stability)
  • Rock Manual 2007 (breakwater stability)
  • Hydralab+ website (hydraulic laboratory practice)
  • IEC TS 62600-103 tech specs (marine energy conversion systems)
  • We are currently evaluating our standardization strategy for the use of offshore wind testing 

The COB is managed by a consortium of Ghent University, KU Leuven and Flanders Hydraulics Research. The coordinator of the consortium and COB Director is Prof. Peter Troch (Ghent University). The other consortium representatives are Jaak Monbaliu (KU Leuven) and Frank Mostaert (Flanders Hydraulics Research). Administrative procedures run via Ghent University, the contracting authority.

Contact person
Peter Troch
COB Director
Department of Civil Engineering, Ghent University 
+32 9 264 54 89

Discover more about the COB on our website and contact us for further inquiries.