Energy Efficient Underwater Inflatable Array Using Hydrofoam and Water-Swelling Material

Polyurethane foams have found employment in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. These materials have excellent thermal insulation properties along with high mechanical strength properties.

Researchers at FAU utilized these materials to design a foam that can be activated and used in underwater environments. Specific application areas include use in structural frameworks that house underwater sensors, emergency release mechanisms that bring objects to the surface of the water, buoyance balances that control platform depth, and integration into undersea robot designs. This chemically activated foam can be used instead of underwater mechanical pumps, which helps reduce the overall weight of oceanic platform systems and equipment used in marine applications. This helps to expedite in-field construction time while reducing energy requirements and operating expenses.