Hydraulics Lab



The Hydraulics Laboratory offers various testing facilities. An on-site machine shop, fabrication tools and the in house expertise to use them greatly enhance the capability of the laboratory to serve a wide variety of scientific projects and research. 

Building dimensions are 31 m by 46 m. Adjacent is an asphalt-surfaced work yard 31 m by 40 m. Throughout the laboratory there is access to fresh and salt water (which can be chilled and filtered), drainage trenches, electric power (120V single phase and 208V three phase), and compressed air.


Glass Channel

Interior dimensions are 33 m long, 0.5 m wide with a normal water depth of 0.5 m. The electro-hydraulic servo-actuated wave generator will generate waves to 25 cm high. All side walls and 11 m of the tank bottom are glass to provide optical access. Different configurations of beaches can be installed. There is also a reversible flow system variable to .041 cubic meters/sec. A small tow cart runs the full length of the channel and has a variable speed range of zero to 74 cm/s. The channel also has a closed-loop air filtration system that meets class 100 clean room standards and includes filters for organic and inorganic gases

Keck OAR Pressure Facility/Pressure Bomb

The Marine Sciences Development Center manages this 69 MPa (10,000 PSIG) pressure chamber for the Keck Center. Interior dimensions are 0.35 m diameter and 1.8m length. Fresh or salt water is available. Pressure measurement is accurate to <+/- 0.1% full scale.

*Keck OAR Pressure Bomb facility is only available to UC users for UC-related research. Non-university users are not permitted to rent this facility.

Keck Deep Tank/OAR Pool

The Marine Sciences Development Center manages this testing pool located at the Keck Center. Oval shape, interior dimensions are 5.5 m width and 12.5 m length. Shallow depth is 4m with a deep section at 9.1m.  Fresh or salt water is available.



Scripps Ocean-Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS) is designed to enhance our understanding of the complicated chemical, biological, and physical processes that occur at the boundary between the ocean and the atmosphere.
The instrument combines a wave tank with a wind tunnel along a 36-meter-long channel built into the Hydraulics Lab of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. With a wave generator, blowers, light tubes, and heating and cooling systems — and Pacific Ocean seawater from nearby Scripps Pier — the instrument can emulate ocean surface conditions ranging from the tropics to the poles, making it uniquely capable of simulating Earth's rapidly changing ocean-atmosphere system.
More Information about SOARS


The Scripps Oceanography MakerSpace is in the Hydraulics Laboratory. It will provide the community with a shared space with traditional tooling, digital design software, rapid prototyping tools, and test facilities with an emphasis on the marine and earth sciences. It will serve as an educational space that promotes hands-on creativity and innovation, a collaborative space that fosters communication between diverse groups of people and research disciplines, and a design space for developing the next generation of scientists and engineers.

This facility will leverage decades of Scripps expertise in earth science and capitalize on the existing unique recharge capabilities already present in the H-Lab (both equipment like wave channels and pressure test vessels, and the technical experience).

The MakerSpace will have multiple goals:

  • Support Scripps graduate and undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and self-guided discovery of new technology in a hands-on environment.
  • Provide advanced resources for shared use by Scripps faculty and staff.
  • As part of the UC San Diego Collaboration of Likeminded Learners And Builders (COLLAB) infrastructure, it will foster educational ties between students and faculty at Scripps and the UC San Diego campus.

Ultimately, the Scripps MakerSpace will foster the training of the next generation of earth scientists and engineers across UC San Diego by supporting individual research, exploratory learning and capstone student projects.

Supporting Infrastructure
  • Mezzanine conference space - Meeting area for up to 9 people. Includes a 65in television screen with laptop/phone connections for presentations or teleconferences.
  • Direct and 802.11 wireless Ethernet connections are available throughout the lab
  • 3,500-lb. capacity forklift available onsite


Facilities include the Glass Channel, Keck OAR Pressure Facility/Pressure Bomb, and Keck Deep Tank/OAR Pool. Please check the Hydraulics Lab calendar to view the availability of all facilities.


To schedule a facility please contact sio-hlab-scheduling-g@ucsd.edu or click below to fill out an online scheduling form.

Scheduling Form
Non-UCSD user reservations may be forfeited at the manager's discretion to accommodate time-sensitive projects for UCSD users. Should this occur, we will do our best to provide you with ample notice and alternative dates. Please contact sio-hlab-manager-g@ucsd.edu with any questions.


Daily Service Rates

  UC Users Non-UC Users
OAR Pressure Testing $500/day N/A
Glass Channel $600/day $1200/day
SOARS $1800/day $2800+/day
OAR Keck Pool  $300/day $1250/day
Forklift/Crane Services $100/hour $150/hour

Please contact sio-hlab-manager-g@ucsd.edu for further information should you require any extra services.