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Design of miniaturized underwater vehicle with propulsions for deep-sea research applications

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The ocean is vital to the health of our planet but remains virtually unexplored. Many researchers seek to understand a wide range of geological and biological phenomena by developing

The ocean is vital to the health of our planet but remains virtually unexplored. Many researchers seek to understand a wide range of geological and biological phenomena by developing technologies which enable exploration of the deep-sea. The task of developing a technology which can withstand extreme pressure and temperature gradients in the deep ocean is not trivial. Of these technologies, underwater vehicles were developed to study the deep ocean, but remain large and expensive to manufacture. I am proposing the development of cost efficient miniaturized underwater vehicle (mUV) with propulsion systems to carry small measurement devices and enable deep-sea exploration. These mUV's overall size is optimized based on the vehicle parameters such as energy density, desired velocity, swimming time and propulsion performance. However, there are limitations associated with the size of the mUV which leads to certain challenges. For example, 2000 m below the sea level, the pressure is as high as 3000 psi. Therefore, certain underwater vehicle modules, such as the propulsion system, will require pressure housing to ensure the functionality of the thrust generation. In the case of a mUV swimming against the deep-sea current, a thrust magnitude is required to enable the vehicle to overcome the ocean current speed and move forward. Therefore, the size of the mUV is limited by the energy density and the propeller size. An equation is derived to miniaturize underwater vehicle while performing with a certain specifications. An inrunner three-phase permanent magnet brushless DC motor is designed and fabricated with a specific size to fit inside the mUV's core. The motor is composed of stator winding in a pressure housing and an open to water ring-propeller rotor magnet. Several ring-propellers are 3D printed and tested experimentally to determine their performances and efficiencies. A planer motion optimal trajectory for the mUV is determined to minimize the energy usage. Those studies enable the design of size optimized underwater vehicle with propulsion to carry small measurement sensors and enable underwater exploration. Developing mUV's will enable ocean exploration that can lead to significant scientific discoveries and breakthroughs that will solve current world health and environmental problems.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Design, Development, and Modeling, of a Novel Underwater Vehicle for Autonomous Reef Monitoring

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A novel underwater, open source, and configurable vehicle that mimics and leverages advances in quad-copter controls and dynamics, called the uDrone, was designed, built and tested. This vehicle was developed

A novel underwater, open source, and configurable vehicle that mimics and leverages advances in quad-copter controls and dynamics, called the uDrone, was designed, built and tested. This vehicle was developed to aid coral reef researchers in collecting underwater spectroscopic data for the purpose of monitoring coral reef health. It is designed with an on-board integrated sensor system to support both automated navigation in close proximity to reefs and environmental observation. Additionally, the vehicle can serve as a testbed for future research in the realm of programming for autonomous underwater navigation and data collection, given the open-source simulation and software environment in which it was developed. This thesis presents the motivation for and design components of the new vehicle, a model governing vehicle dynamics, and the results of two proof-of-concept simulation for automated control.

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Date Created
  • 2020