Sonar Dome Application
US Patent 7,390,560 & Patents Pending


The technology comprises a system for removing fouling from the surface of sonar domes on command. PELís patented Smart Coating Systems US 7,390,560, teaches the technology. Array layers are readily attached to the selected sonar dome surface. On activation the top layer is released with the fouling. Target sonar domes for underwater and surface ships are candidate applications.

The mechanism involves energetic input across the array which releases the fouled layer. A number of prototypes have been prepared, in the laboratory, and in the marine environment. Activation was readily achieved by energy input. Figure 1 shows removal of fouled layer from smart array patch. Figure 2 shows the cleaned surface after fouling removal applicable to sonar domes.

With this method the dome surface will no longer need to be cleaned every few months, and the dome life will be extended. It will no longer require expensive and environmentally undesirable paint materials to prevent fouling. Fouled layers can readily be collected on shedding keeping the environment cleaner. Installation of arrays should be much less labor intensive than current scrape/sand/and paint methods. Dome communications will function without the serious fouling interference. Also there should be less drag effects in the enclosed environment. We estimate about 10-20% longer dome life and labor savings translating into millions of dollars annually saved by this method.

The method should eliminate many problems due to marine growth such as localized corrosion, coating damage, decreased speed, increased fuel consumption, reduced buoyancy, increased vessel displacement, and decreased effectiveness of acoustic sensors. As show in figure 3 a ship sonar dome with smart coating/fouling release system consists of three layers: the inner sonar dome layer, a release layer, and the outer coating layer. In the marine environment the outer layer will be fouled over time. By releasing the outer layer with energy input such as microwave, the fouled layer of sonar dome will be released.
 
Patent US 7,390,560

Figure 1

Technology Demonstration in Marine Environment

Fouled top layer is removed leaving clean layer exposed. Energy input facilitates removal. Fouled layer is readily collected and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.
Patent US 7,390,560

Figure 2

Technology Demonstration in Marine Environment

On removal of the top fouled layer shown above a clean layer is exposed as depicted here.
 

During Coating Removal

After Top Coat Removal

Figure 3

 


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