Ocean Instrumentation and Robotics

We work on a broad scope of ocean instrumentation and robotics topics including the development of unmanned surface, aerial, and underwater vehicles, novel sensing and data collection methods, and educational pathways towards innovation and entrepreneurship.  Our multidisciplinary research involves collaborative fieldwork in local and international waters in both coastal and offshore settings.

Faculty: Stephen Licht, Chris Roman, Lora Van Uffelen, Jason Dahl, Brennan Phillips, Mingxi Zhou, Adam Soule, Melissa Omand

Underwater Acoustics

Underwater acoustics research at URI emphasizes underwater acoustic propagation in both deep and shallow ocean environments, the effects of the seafloor on propagation and inverse techniques for inferring sediment properties from acoustic signals, modeling and measurement of acoustic pressure and particle velocity signals near offshore wind turbine construction and operation, marine bioacoustics, and navigation of autonomous underwater vehicles and gliders using long range acoustic signals.

Faculty: James H. Miller, Gopu R. Potty, Lora Van Uffelen, Steven Crocker

Marine Hydrodynamics and Water-wave Mechanics

Marine hydrodynamics research at URI focuses upon applications to naval hydrodynamics, ocean renewable energy, and coastal resilience. These topics are investigated analytically, with experiments, machine learning, and Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Faculty: Stephan Grilli, Jason Dahl, Bradford Knight, Che-Wei Chang

Coastal Engineering and Resilience

Coastal engineering and resilience research at URI explores a diverse range of subjects, covering fundamental physical and engineering sciences in coastal areas, coastal hazards, and risk analysis and management. To comprehend the complex and dynamic nature of coastal environments, we research coastal waves, nearshore hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, coastal processes, wave-vegetation interactions, and wave impacts on structures, through laboratory experiments, numerical modeling, and field studies. In addressing coastal hazards, our research extends to modeling tsunamis, storm surges, and storm waves at appropriate scales. We study the effectiveness of natural and nature-based features (nature-based solutions) in mitigating coastal flooding and erosion. In addition, our investigation explores the evolution of shorelines, considering the effects of climate change and rising seas.

Faculty: Annette Grilli, Stephan Grilli, Che-Wei Chang, Reza Hashemi

Furthermore, our research examines the impacts of natural hazards on coastal communities, evaluates different solutions for coastal protection, and assesses the risks and uncertainties to improve the performance of built environments and social systems against hazards, and ultimately enhance the resiliency of coastal communities.

Faculty: Reza Hashemi, Christopher Baxter, Mehrshad Amini, Che-Wei Chang

Marine Geomechanics

Geotechnical engineering research at URI focuses on a variety of topics related to offshore wind foundations, sediment properties, and coastal resilience. The facilities include an advanced soil testing laboratory, Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) rig, pile and anchor load testing equipment, a geotechnical field test site on the URI campus, surface wave testing equipment, access to marine vessels and coring equipment, and access to numerical analysis software. Learn more about our geotechnical research capabilities and facilities.

Faculty: Christopher Baxter, Aaron Bradshaw

Ocean Renewable Energy

Ocean renewable energy technologies researched at URI include offshore wind, wave power generation, tidal and marine current energy. These technologies are investigated with a combination of machine learning techniques, numerical simulations, and experiments. 

Faculty: Reza Hashemi, Stephan Grilli, Jason Dahl, Bradford Knight

Naval architecture and marine engineering research at URI is focused upon applications for naval hydrodynamics. Specific topics of research include applications for both surface and subsurface vehicles, such as vessel maneuvering, vessel seakeeping, propeller hydrodynamics, rudder hydrodynamics, and cavitation. These topics are investigated with experiments, numerical approaches such as Computational Fluid Dynamics, and machine learning techniques.

Faculty: Bradford Knight, Jason Dahl, Stephan Grilli