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Testing Educational Materials About Vessel Noise with Students

Last week we held an inspiring day at the school by the sea! For six hours, a class of 17 year old students explored the fascinating world of underwater noise and its effects on marine life. This exciting workshop was delivered by ITAW, who were testing a prototype of our forthcoming ‘researcher box’: an educational kit for classroom learning about underwater radiated noise from ships.

Students use the prototype SATURN experimental toolkit for understanding propeller noise

Starting with an in-depth analysis of the physical principles behind acoustics, the students then delved into the world of general shipping. How does a ship make noise? How does it affect whales, seals, fish and aquatic invertebrates? And how can this noise be reduced? Before the final task, we held a lively group discussion on the role of shipping in globalisation, discussing the pros and cons. In the end, the students outlined ambitious goals to reduce global shipping noise, reduce CO2 emissions from ships and promote fair shipping.

A short hands-on experiment followed the discussion, which allowed students to explore the performance of different types of model ship propellers. We looked not only at how much noise they make at different speeds, but also at other components such as energy consumption (represented in this experiment by the current drawn from the battery to the motor) and thrust (measured here by the pulling force on a scale). The aim of this activity is to show students how difficult technical solutions can be, and that progress in reducing noise levels may be accompanied by a decline in efficiency. For shipping companies, but also in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, efficiency is of paramount importance.

This educational experiment will soon be available in multiple languages as an activity kit that can be deployed at schools around Europe.

Students use the prototype SATURN experimental toolkit for understanding propeller noise

The students' commitment and interest was incredibly impressive — they did a great job!. We feel confident that the future of marine research is in their hands.

From basic physical research to reducing ship noise - an educational day all round! 🌊🐬🚢



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