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Seawater absorption properties and equilibrium for carbon fiber reinforced epoxy autonomous underwater vehicle hull at 1000m depth

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posted on 2022-05-17, 02:15 authored by Moustafa ElkolaliMoustafa Elkolali, Ahmed Al-Tawil, alex alcocer
The hull of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is one of the main factors that determine its overall compressibility and drag. The hull as well, acting as a pressure vessel, is the most essential part that will allow the vehicle to accomplish deep diving. In order to minimize the total weight and volume of the vehicle, many modern vehicles benefit from composite materials rather than conventional materials. Moisture absorption, known as the hygral effect, has a significant impact on the mechanical properties of the material. Not to mention it also has an effect on the buoyancy of the vehicle, since the overall weight changes. This paper characterizes the seawater absorption and diffusivity of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Epoxy (CFRE) pressure hull samples in ambient conditions at sea level and at 1000m depth. The tests were performed using seawater taken from Oslo fjord in Norway and using a pressure vessel. Twelve specimens, all manufactured from CFRE using filament winding technique, were tested in both conditions, and the moisture absorption curve is compared. Periodic gravimetric measurements were taken, where the equilibrium state was reached after approximately 65 days at sea level and after 35 days at 1000m depth. The results showed that moisture diffusivity for composites used in underwater applications should be defined by both pressure and temperature since it changes with respect to submersion depth.


This research was funded by OASYS research project, which is funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN), the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the European Commission under the framework of the ERA-NET Cofund MarTERA.


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ORCID of Submitting Author


Submitting Author's Institution

Oslo Metropolitan University

Submitting Author's Country

  • Norway