Please report any issues with this site to Lexicon Webmaster.

Free Surface Effect

The change in stability of a vessel caused by liquids moving about freely in a tank or hold. As a vessel rolls, liquids in tanks or breached compartments accentuate the roll by moving freely from side to side of the tank accumulating first on one side and then the other. This movement can reduce the stability of the ship. The effect can be reduced by having baffles in a tank to reduce the free movement or by either emptying the tank or filling it completely so there is no "free surface."
Web design by OfficeElf