UCSD SOARS Hydraulic Lab

Coffman was involved in a unique project for the UC San Diego Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The project involved mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering services to design and construct the Scripps Ocean Atmosphere Research Simulator (SOARS) instrument inside the existing UCSD Hydraulic Lab Building.

The $4M first-of-its-kind ocean simulator will allow researchers to simulate various ocean, weather, and atmospheric conditions to better understand climate change and its effect on our future.

The SOARS instrument includes an approximately 120 ft long by 8 ft wide x 7 ft deep trough for modeling wave behavior. The trough is buried below existing slab-on-grade and constructed of cast-in-place concrete. An elevated wind tunnel directly over the trough is supported by structural steel frames.

The project scope also included the design of two 160 sf integral control rooms consisting of light gauge metal studs and supporting MEP equipment and connection. This project occurred in two phases:

  • Phase 1: Make Ready work including exterior equipment pad and screen, underground utilities, and potential soil enhancements to support trough.
    Phase 2: SOARS instrument installation including Placement of concrete foundations and stem walls for trough, supporting structure for elevated wind tunnel, control rooms, localized MEP connection, and installation of instrument-specific MEP equipment.


  • Education


  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering