New Triton submarine in race to reach ocean bottom

Apr 27, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Step back to 1960 when Trieste, the first and only manned vessel, reached the deepest known part of the ocean called Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench near Guam. No other vessel has ever managed to reach this depth of near 36,000 feet. In an announcement this week, Triton Submarines hopes to be the next to reach this great depth in a newly designed submersible.

Triton currently designs submersibles capable of going to a depth of 3,300 feet and are predominantly made for yacht owners and scientists. Their new design, according to CEO Bruce Jones and his team, is called with Triton 36,000 and will be able to reach that depth.

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Current submersibles use acrylic for the passenger compartments; however, this new design will be using a thick glass shaped in a sphere with a technique created by Rayotek Scientific, whose clients include 3M, , DuPont and .

According to Rayotek CEO Bill Raggio, the borosilicate glass (soda-lime glass) gets stronger under compression, so the underwater pressure found at the ocean’s bottom should not cause it to crack. Because of the fact that the expansion and contraction rates are different in metal and glass, areas where the two join can become an issue. Rayotek has created a new patent pending technique which turns the glass into a sphere and more details cannot currently be released.

Unlike the two-man Trieste, the new Triton 36,000 will be designed to hold 3 people. The glass will be required to undergo extreme testing at a pressure rate of at least one and a quarter times that of the planned depth.

Triton1000

Joining in the battle to reach the ocean floor is James Cameron's powered with an electric motor and made of composite materials. Richard Branson is also working on his flying underwater craft and is constructed with carbon fiber and titanium with a quartz viewing dome.

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More information: www.race2innerspace.com/

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User comments : 18

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Moebius
5 / 5 (4) Apr 27, 2011
Only 1.25X pressure testing? It should be 2X. My hats off to anyone with the rocks to take one of these down to those depths, good luck.
whalio
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
Which of the 3 people/companies involved decided to do this first? The first I heard was Richard Branson. So are Triton and Cameron just jumping on the bandwagon or what?
Husky
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2011
i love the sheer panoramic design, hope the bubble wont burst
antialias
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
If anything it'll collapse.
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (3) Apr 27, 2011
Well, if it implodes, the occupants won't have time to say more than, 'Oh--'.

A more important concern is the emergency ballast release: Being stuck on the bottom of a trench while the air runs out might suit a Cameron movie, but the crew would not be amused...
JimB135
5 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2011
Wow that's a small capsule with an incredible view. I agree it would take some nerve to sign up to go to 36000 feet in that vehicle.
JamesThomas
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2011
I find it amazing that we have only explored our oceans floor the size of West Virgina. We have a lot of exploring left to do.
baudrunner
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
I don't think it'll work. There are currents down there too, and they will tend to warp and twist the bubble when it experiences different pressures at different points, causing it probably to come apart. You won't get me down there in that thing, or in anything else for that matter.
Sanescience
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
Neat, Probably a design where the glass bubble is completely self contained and communicates with the "carrier" via wireless through the glass. Looks like the bubble is opened/closed via suction harness. I am curious though how buoyancy is managed with a large displacement, perhaps some *serious* ballast? Even then tho, ballast only achieves neutral buoyancy for a specific depth/pressure, so you still need a dynamic element for going up and down.
Paljor
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
you know the bubble is an extremely strong shape... and the currents won't add that kind of pressure. my question does it have good enough lights, cameras and video cameras to record whats down there? will it take a sample?
StandingBear
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
Silly to do it with glass. Take some Kamikaze to want to test out being inside what amounts to an old fashioned 6-ounce coke bottle dropped off a building onto a concret sidewalk to see if it will bust or bounce. Use carbon nanotubes instead! What part of being many times stronger than steel fails to impress?
gmurphy
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
Glass gets stronger under compression. The spherical shape only adds to this natural strength. Imperfections in the glass are the only risk.
El_Nose
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
my question -- i can see the size and i can see the how many people it can hold -- but how much air is in that thing 36K feet has got to take a few hours
piolenc
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
Borosilicate glass is not soda-lime glass. Soda-lime glass is ordinary glass - windows, ordinary glassware, glass shelving, etc. Borosilicate glass is sold under such names as Pyrex and is a very different animal. So which is this beast made of?
Beard
not rated yet Apr 27, 2011
I hope they don't awaken the one sleeping in R'lyeh.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2011
"Use carbon nanotubes instead!" - Ginko-Tard

Because they are perfectly transparent and they can build 10 foot in diameter hollow spheres with them.

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2011
"but how much air is in that thing 36K feet has got to take a few hours" - Go-Go-Gadget-Tard

What thing? All they have are computer generated pictures.
Bigblumpkin36
not rated yet Apr 28, 2011
Its called a scrubber or re-breather. but what do know im not a scientist