Date of Award

Winter 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Ocean Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

M. Robinson Swift

Second Advisor

Igor Tsukrov

Third Advisor

Michael Chambers


A scaled physical-model of a macroalgae cultivation structure was constructed and tested in the UNH wave tank. The physical-model was a 3x3 tile array, consisting of horizontal kelp-growing longlines, node buoys, and mooring lines. The model was scaled by Froude number to a 1:180 length scale. Deployment in the UNH wave tank allowed for evaluation of the design’s performance during wave and current conditions. The model was subjected to waves and simulated currents in order to investigate its response to dynamic loading conditions, as well any anomalous behaviors such as snap loading or component interaction. The motion of the system during various loading scenarios and orientations was captured with cameras, and analyzed via tracking software. The motion data was then used to identify relationships and trends in the system’s response. A finite-element analysis companion study of the physical-model was also executed to complement the results of the motion data, thus providing a better understanding of how the full-scale system might behave in an offshore environment. Comparison of the two models was used to identify the strengths of each approach. Model testing did not reveal any resonances or unexpected behaviors detrimental to the concept. The analysis showed that the full-scale design is a viable option for cultivating large quantities of macroalgae in open-ocean environments.