The American Towing Tank Conference is an old institution in Naval Architecture dating back to the 1930’s. A brief portrait of its founding and history to date is presented here to help introduce to the newcomer its place in the discipline of Naval Architecture, Marine and Ocean Engineering.
FOUNDING OF THE ATTC
The distance required to attend the International Towing Tank Conference in 1933 was impractical to allow any significant attendance or attendance at all. Dr. Kenneth Davidson (Stevens Institute Of Technology) felt that “It is believed that the formation of an American association will allow a valuable exchange of ideas, problems, technique and standardization of certain detail practices among tank operators. In addition it is hoped to improve the value of tank results for the designer and ship operator in the estimate of power, relative performances and full-sized trial correlation.” Then Commander Harold E. Saunders agreed and thus The American Towing Tank Conference (ATTC) was founded in 1938.
The first meeting was held 14 – 15 April 1938 at Stevens Institute Of Technology, Hoboken, NJ. Where there were only seven participants, considered the founders of the ATTC:
Founders of the American Towing Tank Conference
Commander H.E. Saunders Experimental Model Basin, Navy Yard Washington DC
Mr. Starr Truscott NACA Tank, Langley Field VA
Mr. John B. Parkinson NACA Tank, Langley Field VA
Professor K.S.M. Davidson Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken NJ
Mr. K.F.Tupper National Research Council Tank, Ottawa Canada
Mr. John Reilly Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Newport News VA
Professor L.A. Baier University of Michigan Naval Tank, Ann Arbor MI
There have been 29 ATTC gatherings since the first in 1938. Captain Harold E. Saunders at the newly constructed David Taylor Model Basin hosted the second meeting. Attendance had grown to 15 with representatives from the David Taylor Model Basin (DTMB), The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), National Research Council (NRC), Newport News Ship Yard, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the National Bureau of Ships (NBS).
Since these first two conferences there has been 27 others with the 30th to be held in 2017 and will be the fifth time the David Taylor Model Basin, now Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division will host it.
CURRENT PURPOSE AND GOALS OF THE ATTC
The ATTC and ITTC had similar goals in the beginning that is to bring together naval architects, engineers and scientists to allow a valuable exchange of ideas, problems, technique and standardization of certain detail practices among tank operators. It is clear that over the years both organizations have improve the value of tank results for the designer and ship operator in the estimate of power, relative performances and full-sized trial correlation. Over time the bodies have adapted not only to changing technologies, but emerging technologies such as environmental protection and energy conversion and the use of various forms of numerical hydrodynamics.
Currently the ITTC has the lead role in the determination of standards and practices per ISO guidelines. This has left the ATTC with needing to find another purpose. Since the ITTC now has the duty of setting standards and conventions, it no longer produces seminal papers on methods and techniques. The ATTC can now fill this void and be the originator of new techniques in naval experimentation, numerical hydrodynamics and marine vehicle design. The ATTC will create the new methods that can be reviewed and adopted as the standard of the future by the ITTC.
As stated in the Rules of the American Towing Tank Conference, The objective of the ATTC is to promote exchange of knowledge and stimulate research for the purpose of improving methods of model-and full-scale experiments and numerical modeling used for predicting full-scale performance of ships and marine installations. This includes the design of facilities, equipment, instrumentation, experimental techniques, and uncertainty assessment, correlation of testing, verification, validation, and application of methods of predicting full-scale performance, and formulating collective policy on matters of common interest.
The American Towing Tank Conference will lead the way to the future for the design, evaluation, and testing of marine vehicles, ships, submarines, ocean and environmental systems.