Ocean engineering is a diverse field. At Virginia Tech, the major focus areas are ocean vehicles and structures including ships, advanced marine vehicles, offshore platforms and submarines.
Ship Design of the Future is Here:
Both undergraduate and graduate programs focus on computer-aided analysis and design of ships, using methods based on first principles.
Hydrodynamics: The flow of water around a ship's hull, into the propeller and over the rudder are critical to its performance, as are stability, slamming and minimizing resistance.
Structures: Loads on ocean vehicles are severe, ranging from extreme diving pressures to huge storm waves, to thousands of tons of cargo. Finite element analysis is used to design structures to withstand these loads.
Vehicle Dynamics: An understanding of the motions of ships in a seaway and ship maneuverability is important to designing a functional and comfortable ship.
Computer Based Design Tools:
Virginia Tech is the home of MAESTRO, today's most advanced computer-based method for the structural analysis and optimization of ship, submarine, and offshore platform structures. Other computer tools used include FASTSHIP for geometry definition, NAVCAD for powering, GHS and SHCP for stability, and many other industry standard ship design programs.
The ocean engineering industry is in a phase of transition in the U.S. Several new concepts for reducing cost as well as increasing safety and speed are under development (surface effect ships, open-top container ships, double hull ships). Our graduates compete very successfully in today's job market.