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System and method for modifying the net buoyancy of underwater objects

Buoyancy is controlled in a tethered object by pumping fluids, either of a first or second specific gravity, from an external source into either a first or second containment chamber to change the respective volumetric capacities of the first and second containment chambers. The containment chambers are configured such that the second chamber is at least partially enclosed within the first chamber. The second chamber is configured to expand and retract within the first chamber, which has a fixed housing. Expansion or contraction of the second chamber results in a corresponding inverse change in a volumetric capacity of the first chamber. The fluid chambers may be separate or contained within the same housing, and may be located on a towing vessel. Sensor data from the tethered object's environment may be used to control the transfer of fluid to the first and second chambers.

Peter Sullivan, James Gabriel Buescher

Patent Number: 
Patent Issue Date: 
April 20, 2012
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