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Foam pressure tests

Under Pressure

WHOI engineers Griff Outlaw (front) and Brian Durante monitor a gauge while pressure testing syntactic foam to be used in the improved research submersible Alvin. The foam, which will provide buoyancy for the 42,000-pound submersible, is one of several major upgrades that will eventually support longer, deeper dives to 6,500 meters. To go nearly 2,000 meters deeper than Alvin currently permits, engineers worked with two Massachusetts-based companies to create a lighter, harder foam able to withstand immense pressure at depth. The foam, which passed the pressure tests, is now being bonded and shaped before it will be fit into the submersible in the coming months. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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