Tallinn University of Technology


Marine Technology Competence Centre is home to TalTech Naval Architecture and Hydrodynamics Research Group led by Professor Mihkel Kõrgesaar.

Research focuses on the behaviour of small crafts, ships and marine structures in normal and extreme environments. Our driving motivation is to enable better, safer, and more energy-efficient future ship concepts that serve societal and industrial needs.


The group’s first field of research is Hydrodynamics and Fluid-structure interaction. The goal here is to increase the energy efficiency and to improve the behavior of watercraft in different operational conditions.

The research is supported by the competence centre infrastructure that connects the possibilities of a towing tank and computer simulations. The MARTE research infrastructure enables scientists to emulate weather conditions and accidents and to investigate ship behaviour in various situations and operational conditions.

Ship Structures

In the field of ship structures, novel computational methods are studied and created to evaluate the behaviour of ship structures at accidental and ultimate limit states. Such knowledge is especially important for assessing risks linked to collision and grounding accidents. The traditional simplified methods used in shipbuilding do not include all relevant factors. An effective computational method is a user-friendly tool that allows justified simplifications to quickly design big and complex structures. It is the job of scientists to define the scope of the simplifications.

The main research methods in the study of ship structures are material tests and numerical simulations. Computer simulations provide an overview of the processes at work in materials and constructions while experimental tests are used to validate hypotheses and discover new deformation and fracture mechanisms.


Naval Architecture and Hydrodynamics Research Group


Coupled Simulation Model for Ship Crashworthiness Assessment


The introduction of green renewable fuels increases the capacity requirements of ship fuel tanks compared to fossil fuels. Positioning large tanks inside the vessel poses a significant challenge because International Maritime Organisation (IMO) prescribes minimum safe distances between fuel tanks and the ship's outer shell (sides and bottom) to protect against collisions and groundings. Alternative structural designs are permitted by IMO if the safety equivalence with conventional designs is demonstrated by the state-of-the-art non-linear finite element (FE) simulations. In this project, coupled simulation approach is developed to assess crashworthiness and damage of ship structures to enable optimal design of fuel tanks. The approach will be developed inside FE software where ship motions and structural response are evaluated simultaneously. The developments are validated in TalTech Small Craft Competence Centre* towing tank and material lab.

Developing a technology for pre-programmed autonomous open-water tests for vessels


Developing a technology for pre-programmed autonomous open-water tests for full-size vessels is the core of this university-business cooperation project. Carrying out tests is preceeded by developing: pre-programmed manouvering, situation awareness capacity, equipment kit for data gathering and recording, software tool for data analysis and report production. The research staff and specialists from both TalTech and the company Baltic Workboats work in close cooperation during the whole development process.

Development of marine technology and hydrodynamic research infrastructures and services


The investments aim to develop the necessary experimental research infrastructure for research areas related to marine technology and hydrodynamics, which facilitates co-operation across different fields of science related to marine technology and the interdisciplinary application of research related to the relevant field of Estonia, increasing the competitiveness of Estonian research and development activities at international level. The promotion of research and development activities related to marine technology and hydrodynamics in Estonia is aimed at increasing the capacity to participate in international cooperation. Development activities will also continue to support the interests and development needs of companies.

R&D is linked to the development of optimum solutions for resource efficiency, in particular, to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in the operation of watercraft, as well as infrastructure technology to test technical solutions for the implementation of marine renewable energy resources (waves, wind).

Small Craft Comptetence Centre* – analysis of outer construction elements impact on the performance of a vessel, transition of knowhow and information


The objective of research is to analyse the impact of outer construction elements on the performance of a vessel. The project results in numerical evaluation of spray rails impacting the efficiency of performance of boats, in the findings being experimentally and CFD tested and in identification of optimal configurations of spray rails for monohulled boats.
The project also addresses creating and transferring small craft building related knowhow and information.


* Marine Technology Competence Centre (MARTE) since 2023

Numerical simulation of the FSI for the dynamic loads and response of ships


New Goal Based Standard issued by IMO will change the philosophy how ships are currently designed. The central element for optimal ship design will be fluid-structure interaction (FSI) model, where ship’s behaviour and structural response under hydrodynamic loads is evaluated simultaneously. The project aims to develop such combined model using two-way partitioned approach for FSI simulations. To achieve the objective, two disciplines are combined for numerical calculations: (i) computational fluid dynamics are applied for the evaluation of fluid motions and forces; and (ii) structural mechanics using coupled beam method or non-linear finite element simulations for the evaluation of dynamic response of ship hull. Focus will be on slamming loads, resistance and seakeeping characteristics, whipping response and optimal structural configuration including geometric appendages. The developments are validated with experimental tests conducted in the ship model towing tank of SCC* of TalTech.

Computational tool for novel crashworthy ship structures


The aim of the project is to increase the safety of maritime transport by developing novel crashworthy constructional solutions and assess their performance metrics. These constructions are based on a combination of high and normal strength steels. Developed solutions are lightweight, require less space, but compared to traditional designs dissipate the deformation energy more effectively in case of collision or grounding. The basis for these novel structures is developed numerical simulation approach that can accurately predict breach size in large complex welded structures. Current methods for survivability assessments are unreliable since breach size estimates are not accurate. This is of paramount importance, considering that flooding continues to be the most significant contribution to the overall risk (in passenger ships up to 90% of the risk). Therefore, the project objectives answer to EU and IMO increasingly stringent efficiency and safety requirements for ships.

Development of platform for an autonomous surface vessel and to assess its capabilities to fulfil independent missions


Project implemented in cooperation with SCC*, MEC Insenerilahendused OÜ and Composite Plus OÜ.

Small Craft Competence Centre 


Development of competences (hydrodynamics, naval architecture, materials in the maritime climate) of the Small Craft Competence Centre (SCC)*, increasing and transferring knowhow.

* Marine Technology Competence Centre (MARTE) since 2023

Open Access Research Publications

ERF eng