About the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. SUSTAIN Laboratory

rosenstiel school sustain

With its 38,000-gallon (143 cubic meter) seawater capacity, the SUSTAIN laboratory offers the largest three-dimensional, controllable air-water test environment readily available for scientific studies and commercial projects.

  • Elevated to 15’ (4.5 m) above grade to protect against storm surge flooding
  • Supplied with flowing filtered seawater or freshwater
  • Able to generate directional waves combined with direct wind forcing
  • Scaling allows for modeling a category 5 hurricane
  • Constructed of acrylic material
  • Innovative optical measurements and flow visualization
  • Total dimensions: 23-m long x 6-m wide x 2-m high
  • Sloping beach with a 1-m horizontal section
  • Electrical and computer laboratories
  • Specimen fabrication shop
  • Roll-up entrance door and overhead hoist for large-scale test and monitoring equipment

Note: A first generation Air-Sea Interaction Saltwater Tank (ASIST), size 15x1x1m, is available for smaller-scale studies.


Figure 2. 1st floor plan of the SUSTAIN laboratory, with scale as shown 22’ between largest pile spacing. The SUSTAIN occupies all space to the right of the exit stairways as shown. It includes 2 offices and 2 lab spaces.


Figure 3/(left) Overhead view from inlet end of SUSTAIN showing high overhead space crane track and acrylic construction. Fan can be seen on the LHS. (right) Mechanically generated breaking wave in SUSTAIN.

sustainFigure 4. Panoramic view over the top of the SUSTAIN looking toward lobby, inlet and outlet ductwork is visible to the left and right respectively. Beam spacing on tank is 2-m crosswise x 1.8 m lengthwise.


Figure 5 (left) 1460 HP axial fan to provide wind in test section. Vibration and sound control and testing provided. (right) 12-element directional wavemaker in SUSTAIN, wind inlet with vortex generators shown. The inlet can be rotated up or down to provide for a smoother entrance of air flow over no waves or to move it out of the way of large wave generation.