Delft, The Netherlands,

Seminar Seawater Hydraulics 16 March 2017

How to design for seawater as hydraulic medium?

On 16 March 2017, a group of professionals from the offshore industry and universities gathered at De Oude Bibliotheek for the second seminar on water hydraulics. This time the seminar revolved around the question: how to design for seawater as hydraulic medium? Niels Diepeveen of DOB-Academy opened the day by illustrating the benefits of using water as a hydraulic fluid with an experience-based example of leakage in a wind turbine.

The downside of using this technology is the highly corrosive nature of seawater. This was addressed by Yaiza Gonzalez-Garcia, associate professor at Delft University of Technology. She gave the participants insight into the material science behind corrosion, which is the main challenge in using seawater as a hydraulic medium. The audience was surprised by the influence of flow velocity on the corrosion rate. Following, Jacob Sukumaran from University Ghent acknowledged water-lubricated plastics and stressed the importance of large scale testing.

In the second session, speakers discussed the methods of corrosion-prevention. First WMV director Guus van der Sluis presented the result of his extensive research on the trade-off between hardness and corrosion resistance. He developed the Lunac coating, a semi-ceramic material with cathodic properties. It is now used worldwide, for example on the lock doors of the new Panama Canal. Stijn Clijsters of LCV explained the concept of laser cladding, an innovative way to apply coatings. This technique is suitable for coating complex shapes and can even be used for additive manufacturing.

Ferry van der Valk and his company DiveWise are developing hydraulic tools for underwater use. He has explored the theoretical background behind his trial and error discoveries and his conclusions brought the discussion from corrosion to the application of seawater hydraulics. He pointed out that fast prototyping leads to the rapid improvement of components. The last presentation of the day was provided by Delft Offshore Turbine engineer Anton Kempenaar. DOT is developing a wind turbine which uses a water pump to generate power. As there is no suitable pump available, DOT is developing one in-house.

The seminar managed to surprise the participants, among which several experts, with some unexpected observations and gave an in-depth insight into hydraulics and corrosion in offshore engineering. Naturally, the participants continued the discussion well after the seminar was formally ended.