Schematics showing water ballast tanks used for motion damping of a floating platform structure. (Image: NASA)

NASA engineers have developed a new approach to mitigating unwanted motion in floating structures. Ideally suited to applications including offshore wind energy platforms and barges, the innovation uses water ballast as a motion damping fluid.

This innovation builds upon extensive expertise of NASA in developing novel vibration and motion damping control methods for various NASA large-scale structural applications. It leverages existing ballast fluid of a maritime structure to proactively mitigate undesirable resonant response characteristics of the platform or vessel.

Essentially, this innovation couples water ballast as a functional working mass to the dynamic motion of a floating structure to provide passive motion management of the primary structure. The system can be implemented pre-design or post manufacture.

The systems are simple and are easily manufactured, transported, and implemented onto a primary structure. The NASA technology has been designed (patents applied for) for a range of platform designs and can be further customized depending on the final application requirements.

To date, target applications have included floating offshore wind energy platforms and service barges. Prototypes have been built and tested in a wind-wave tank test bed at the University of Maine. These have been developed and tested as part of DOE’s ATLANTIS floating offshore wind energy development program and have demonstrated highly effective control of the platform motion induced by wind and wave action.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. For more information, visit here .