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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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An accessible architecture for affordable access to space

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A design methodology for a new breed of launch vehicle capable of lofting small satellites to orbit is discussed. The growing need for such a rocket is great: the United

A design methodology for a new breed of launch vehicle capable of lofting small satellites to orbit is discussed. The growing need for such a rocket is great: the United States has no capabilities in place to quickly launch and reconstitute satellite constellations. A loss of just one satellite, natural or induced, could significantly degrade or entirely eliminate critical space-based assets which would need to be quickly replaced. Furthermore a rocket capable of meeting the requirements for operationally responsive space missions would be an ideal launch platform for small commercial satellites. The proposed architecture to alleviate this lack of an affordable dedicated small-satellite launch vehicle relies upon a combination of expendable medium-range military surplus solid rocket motor assets. The dissertation discusses in detail the current operational capabilities of these military boosters and provides an outline for necessary refurbishments required to successfully place a small payload in orbit. A custom 3DOF trajectory script is used to evaluate the performance of these designs. Concurrently, a parametric cost-mass-performance response surface methodology is employed as an optimization tool to minimize life cycle costs of the proposed vehicles. This optimization scheme is centered on reducing life cycle costs per payload mass delivered rather than raw performance increases. Lastly, a novel upper-stage engine configuration using Hydroxlammonium Nitrate (HAN) is introduced and experimentally static test fired to illustrate the inherent simplicity and high performance of this high density, nontoxic propellant. The motor was operated in both pulse and small duration tests using a newly developed proprietary mixture that is hypergolic with HAN upon contact. This new propellant is demonstrated as a favorable replacement for current space vehicles relying on the heritage use of hydrazine. The end result is a preliminary design of a vehicle built from demilitarized booster assets that complements, rather than replaces, traditional space launch vehicles. This dissertation proves that such capabilities exist and more importantly that the resulting architecture can serve as a viable platform for immediate and affordable access to low Earth orbit.

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Date Created
  • 2011