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Testing the Waters

During the 1940s, much of the work at the Alden Hydraulic Laboratory in Holden (now Alden Research Laboratory) centered on then-classified research involving high-speed water entry of projectiles, such as torpedoes, for the U.S. Navy. Here, in a photograph dated from the same period, students use current meters to map the flow upstream of a spillway in order to optimally position a diversion wall. Students frequently conducted course laboratories at AHL, exemplifying the practical application of their classroom theory. The research laboratory was founded in 1894 by George Alden, as an extension of the Mechanical Engineering Department. Today, as an independent entity, it remains the oldest continuously operated hydraulic laboratory in the United States, maintaining close connections to WPI. Students in the ME and Civil and Environmental Engineering departments often use the lab for their MQP research. Additionally, ARL houses a firefighter clothing test facility, sponsored in 2001 by the U.S. Navys Clothing and Textile Research Facility in Natick, Mass., which is used by WPIs fire protection engineering students and faculty.

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