Boundary Layer Testing Lab


Airglide has the only Boundary Layer Testing Lab on the planet dedicated to designing, optimizing, and verifying air lubrication systems.


The air bubble phenomenon is not verifiable with traditional ship testing in scale-model tow tanks. With traditional testing, two important factors don't scale:

  • air bubble formation and shape which are governed primarily by nonlinear surface tension physics

  • the turbulence modifying mechanism by which those bubbles affect viscous shearing to reduce drag within the boundary layer.

Before the advent of the Airglide Boundary Layer Testing Lab, as an owner or operator you were required to make the blind leap of faith from the computer CFD design to actual installation on your vessel. There hasn’t been any way to test empirically or verify the design or the anticipated results. With the development of the Airglide Boundary Layer Testing Lab, you as the ship owner can have verifiable design.

With Airglide, now you — as the ship owner or operator, can have air lubrication systems with verifiable designs.


Ask us for a tour!

The Airglide Boundary Layer Testing Lab is located minutes from Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale International (FLL) airport in Florida.

Airglide is located in Port Everglades, Florida

It is not possible to overstate the importance of Airglide’s Boundary Layer Testing Lab to you, the ship owner or operator. You see with your own eyes the reduction in drag and the air layer formed during air lubrication in a flow that replicates the bottom of your ship’s hull.

Boundary Layer Testing Lab, Port Everglades, Florida. By  Airglide LLC

Boundary Layer Testing Lab, Port Everglades, Florida. By Airglide LLC

Rendering showing racetrack design.

Rendering showing racetrack design.


The Airglide Boundary Layer Testing Lab is designed and built to measure the single-largest contributor to ship resistance: viscous drag created as the water slides past the shell plate of the ship.

Generally speaking, the other two parameters are the energy expended in creating a wave pattern and the energy expended in the pressure wave primarily in front of and behind the ship.

VISCOUS drag considerations

  • Viscous drag is the largest contribution to overall resistance

  • Small decreases in viscous drag offer the potential for multimillion dollar fuel-cost savings

  • Air bubble effect on viscous drag is not possible to replicate in CFD and model testing

  • Viscous drag affects occur within the boundary layer within centimeters of the hull which is exactly what we can now test with at-scale, easily swappable test plates

  • Current in-service performance monitoring methods lack the ability to discern small changes in viscous drag.

airglide™ ALS TESTING Regime

The Airglide Boundary Layer Testing Lab offers the following benefits to our Airglide™ ALS testing regime:

  • default design to replicate boundary layer of 300m ship cruising at 16-18 kts

  • customizable to fit specific solutions

  • optimize ALS delivery in dynamically similar flow fields

  • capable of producing flows in the transitional and fully rough regime

  • same frictional Reynolds number as a ship, i.e. minimal to no scaling effects

  • windows for test viewing and displays for real-time results

  • accurately measure changes in frictional resistance from energy saving device or coating damage