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Under High Pressure: Spherical Glass Flotation and Instrument Housings in Deep Ocean Research

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All stationary and autonomous instrumentation for observational activities in ocean research have two things in common, they need pressure-resistant housings and buoyancy to bring instruments safely back to the surface. The use of glass spheres is attractive in many ways. Glass qualities such as the immense strength‐weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and low cost make glass spheres ideal for both flotation and instrument housings. On the other hand, glass is brittle and hence subject to damage from impact. The production of glass spheres therefore requires high-quality raw material, advanced manufacturing technology and expertise in processing. VITROVEX® spheres made of DURAN® borosilicate glass 3.3 are the only commercially available 17-inch glass spheres with operational ratings to full ocean trench depth. They provide a low-cost option for specialized flotation and instrument housings.
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Keywords: Buoyancy; Flotation; Instrument housings; Pressure; Spheres; Trench; VITROVEX®

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2009

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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