Pressure Testing to 3000m Depth

Back in September, we were contacted by the Center for Marine Robotics at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). If you’re not familiar with them, they’re the best of the best when it comes to undersea robotics.

They generously offered to test a few of our thrusters in their test chambers, which are capable of simulating depths of over 11,000 meters, the depth of “Challenger Deep” in the Marianas Trench. We sent them a few thrusters from our second production batch – serial numbers 151, 152, and 153. They recently completed a static depth test. We compared performance and inspected the thrusters before and after the test to see if there were any effects from the pressure.

We’re proud to say that the thrusters did great and showed no signed of degradation or damage after being tested to a depth of 3000 meters – almost two miles underwater!

We want to share the test process and results with you.

The Test

The images below show the test chamber. It’s capable of simulating pressures at 11,000 meter depths where the pressure is more than 1000 times what it is at the surface. The thrusters were put into a mesh bag inside the chamber and then a heavy lid was lowered into place and secured by a screw-on top, seen on the right.

Test chamber. (Image credit: Kevin Ulmer)