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15 April 2016 Variable buoyancy system for unmanned multi-domain vehicles
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This paper presents the system design, construction, and testing of an active variable buoyancy system (VBS) actuator with applications to unmanned multi-domain vehicles. Unmanned multi-domain vehicles require nontraditional VBS designs because of their unique operation requirements. We present a VBS actuator design that targets multi-domain vehicle design objectives of high endurance, stealth, and underwater loitering. The design features a rigid ballast tank with an inner elastic bladder connected to a hydraulic pump and a proportionally controlled vent valve. The system working fluid is obtained from the ambient surrounding water and the elastic bladder separates the water from pressurized gas, thus preventing any gas from escaping during a venting operation. An analytic model of the VBS characterizing the system dynamics is derived. Ballast tank prototype design and construction is discussed. A VBS test platform vehicle is presented, featuring two ballast tanks, motor, pump, and RF receiver for control.
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Marc MacLeod and Matthew Bryant "Variable buoyancy system for unmanned multi-domain vehicles", Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 979927 (15 April 2016);


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