The scale model laboratory houses the only tidal basin facility on the island of Ireland.

The function of a tidal basin is to generate tides that will induce water circulation within a scaled model of a real system. The internal dimensions of the tank are 8m x 5m x 1m. The tank consists of a reservoir, a manifold chamber and a working area.

During operation water is pumped at a constant rate from the reservoir to the manifold chamber where it is diffused by a perforated manifold. The water flows from the manifold chamber into the working area and vice versa through a porous baffle that separates the two areas. The working area of the basin, where the physical model is constructed, measures 5m x 4.75m.

The bed and side walls of the working area are made from fibreglass. The bed is horizontal and is raised 0.5m above floor level. Due to the weir design, the maximum water level within the model is restricted to 0.37m.

The water level in the working area (and the manifold chamber) is controlled by means of an automated weir located between the manifold chamber and the reservoir. The vertical displacement of the weir is electronically controlled and can therefore be programmed to simulate tides of varying ranges and periods.

Ancillary equipment available for monitoring of flow fields and water quality within the tidal basin include current meters, tide gauges and fluorometers.