Trelleborg’s applied technologies operation has engineered and manufactured a custom syntactic foam buoyancy package for the Schmidt Ocean Institute for use on its new remotely operated vehicle (ROV), SuBastian.
The Schmidt Ocean Institute underwater robotic research program includes the design and development of a 4,500 meter robotic vehicle for use on research vessel Falkor. The ROV is outfitted with a suite of sensors and scientific equipment to support data and sample collection, as well as interactive research, experimentation, and technology development. The buoyancy package on SuBastian is made from Trelleborg’s Eccofloat TG30 syntactic foam.
Bob Kelly, managing director within Trelleborg’s applied technologies operation, said: “We are very proud to be part of this pioneering adventure and to work with Schmidt on developing a syntactic foam that met their requirements. One of the challenges with deep water syntactic foam is producing the lightest possible foam for a given depth which translates into maximum uplift or buoyancy for the vehicle. A high strength to weight ratio means our customers get the industry’s maximum uplift or buoyancy per cubic foot, allowing them to design their vehicle with a lower volume buoyancy package, reducing costs and improving vehicle performance and handling.
“We were able to create the precise buoyancy package needed for SuBastian, ensuring success for the future commercialization of this project. The unique customizable design coupled with the selection of Trelleborg’s proven Eccofloat material will provide many years of service with the flexibility to adapt to all future equipment and mission requirements.”
Trelleborg’s Eccofloat TG30 is designed for a service depth of 5,000 meters. The ROV will be suitable to support seafloor mapping, photomosaicing, video and image gathering, and collections of rocks, animals, and seawater samples.
SuBastian recently completed its first expedition on newly discovered hydrothermal vent sites, possibly finding new species in the Mariana Back-Arc, an extreme deep-ocean environment. This research was supported by the NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research Program, the NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office, and the Schmidt Ocean Institute.