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Optional Scientific Samplers

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Small and large bio boxes on deck

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12" x 24" and science-supplied bio boxes mounted on Alvin's basket with other sampling gear

Biological Sample Collection Boxes (Bio Boxes)

These are the most commonly used and abused collection devices in the general use pool. As such, their condition from leg to leg cannot be guaranteed. For critical-need sampling where cleanliness, watertight integrity, size and insulation are a factor, science users are highly encouraged to construct and supply their own bio boxes.

12" x 12" x 12"

Constructed of 1" thick white Delrin plastic, this box has a fully-hinged lid capable of opening 180+ degrees. Mounting is accomplished by through-bolting the bio box bottom to the basket grating. This can cause some limited leakage when sitting full on deck. The lid has a rudimentary seal around the opening perimeter but the contents can be subject to surface water flow during recovery towing. Water weight is 5 lbs.

12" x 24" x 12"

Constructed in a similar manner to the 12" cube above, this bio box has a removable central divider which can change the configuration from a single chamber to two chambers. Water weight is 8 lbs.

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The multi-chamber rotary collection sampler (back right) takes up quite a bit of basket real estate

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"Fork lift" basket used on ODP wellheads

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Rope reel support frame

Custom Science Baskets

In special cases where the common basket configuration is not suitable for a particular mission, custom science basket frames can be designed around specific user equipment with advanced notice.

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An elevator ready for launch with biological collection plate quivers attached to the platform

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Investigators attaching equipment to an elevator

Elevators

Two free-vehicle "elevator" lift platforms are available for remote equipment deployments and recoveries. Each platform deck is 4 ft x 5 ft and there is a vertical structural shaft in the center. A simple weight release arm is located below this shaft. 150 pounds of flotation (yellow spheres in an aluminum frame seen in background of picture at left) for each elevator is normally carried aboard Atlantis.

For excessive loads both floatation packages can be combined for a single elevator use. Any additional flotation required is normally supplied by the user. Additionally, because elevators use submersible ballast steel for descent weights, the anticipated number of deployments must be specified to ensure enough steel is available. A science plan involving a large number of elevator deployments may incur added charges for ballast steel.

Precision elevator drops can be accomplished using the Atlantis hydro wire, Alvin long-baseline navigation net and an Alvin acoustic release. 

All users intending to use elevators must supply equipment water weights and dimensions well in advance of any cruise.

Magnetometer

The 4-component IFG magnetometer can be mounted in a varity of locations on the submersible. Most common is either in the submersible sail or the science basket. A total of two power conductors and one twisted/shielded wire pair are required to stream realtime data into the submersible hull. Specs: 1,000 nT accuracy, 0.1 nT resolution; 3-axis flux-gate type with Z gradient. Data from the magnetometer is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Only one instrument is available and must be requested for a particular cruise. Water weight is 16 pounds if installed in the science basket. Overall space required varies with the location selected.

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Major water sampler pairs in the lab

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Mounted in the basket (just right of center)

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Positioned by the manipulator (left), the inlet tubes can be precisely placed to sample hydrothermal vent fluid

Major Water Samplers

A syringe-style inert titanium sampler, each with a 760 ml volume. Configured as pairs on Alvin with an inductively-coupled link (ICL) for in situ temperature measurements, but can be triggered individually. Water weight is 22 lbs/pair with ICL. Capable of handling water temperatures in excess of 400 degC. These samplers require a dedicated storage basket, which will vary in size with the number used. A total of 6 major pairs are available at any one time. Post-dive care and maintenance of this equipment is the responsibility of the science party.

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Two full racks of push corers in their quivers mounted on the basket frame

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A corer with sediment sample and biological specimen

Push Corers

Push corers are soft sediment samplers deployed using a manipulator. They are 2.5" ID by 12" long, utilizing a removable, clear polycarbonate barrel. Commonly stowed in a 3 x 4 rack for a total of 12, Alvin can carry two of these racks for a maximum of 24 per dive with limited space available for additional science equipment. A total of 48 push corers can be carried if investigators supply another 24 and there are no other basket space requirements. The racks are easily removable for post-dive processing.

There are a limited number of core barrels available during any particular leg. Investigators contemplating keeping samples in a collection barrel for post-cruise examination must make arrangements to replace all barrels used. PIs should also be prepared to supply watertight plastic endcaps for any samples taken. Procurement information for these two items can be furnished upon request. Water weight per 3 x 4 rack is 20 lbs. Overall basket space required is 12" x 18" per rack.

Scoop Nets

A number of manipulator-deployed scoop sample nets are available. Typically these are rigged with an open 1/4" mesh bag or canvas rock bag. Any special type of bag will be the responsibility of the science user. Water weight is 2 lbs each. Normally placed in the basket on a “space available” basis.

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Niskin bottles mounted on their basket frame

Small-Capacity Slurp Samplers

Pelagic Pumps

A small, impeller-driven 24VDC pump with a maximum (no restrictions) flow rate of 4 gpm. Nominally connected to a one gallon collection chamber with a 200 micron filter in line with the pump suction. Commonly used to collect small animals or bacterial mats or low temperature fluids. Each pump requires the use of a 24VDC in-hull submersible breaker and two conductors of a basket disconnect boot. Commonly configured as a pair set of two pumps and two one gallon collection chambers in a single container. These pumps can also be configured to accept science user filters or instruments when installed with a ½” common hose barb. Water weight (pump only) is 5 lbs. Overall basket space required (two pump configuration with 1-gal collection chambers) is 12" x 18". We have a total of three pumps available.

Hydraulically-Driven Slurp/Fluid Pump

A small fluid gear pump driven by a hydraulic motor. This requires the use of a submersible hydraulic function and has a maximum (no restrictions) flow rate of 4 gpm. The pump has ½" intake and output ports and can be used for higher temperature fluids up to 100 degC. Water weight is 8 lbs. Overall basket space required (pump/motor only) is 6" x 12". No Alvin collection devices/chambers are available for this pump; these must be science-supplied.

Niskin Bottles

Standard one liter PVC water sampling bottles in a 5-pack mount. These can be triggered individually by the manipulator. The rack is easily removed post dive for science processing. Commonly used for water column and hydrothermal vent plume sampling. Water weight is 10 lbs. Overall basket space required is 12" x 18".

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The large multi-chamber rotary collection sampler (clear PVC cylinder, right) on the basket frame

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The large sampler during a dive -- note the long, manipulator-deployed slurp wand and hose

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The smaller version of the multi-chamber sampler

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The single-chamber slurp device with hydraulic pump and sample nozzle

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The high-volume fish slurp sampler on the basket. From left: white Alvin thruster used as a pump; gray PVC collection chamber; milk crate animal storage chamber.

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The high-volume suction hose and nozzle

Large-Capacity Slurp Samplers

Multi-Chamber Rotary Collection Samplers

NDSF offers two versions of a five-chamber rotary sampler capable of taking five unique suction samples, one slightly larger diameter and less tall than the other. Requires one submersible hydraulic function for operation. Five filter sizes are available from 200 micron to 1/4 inch. Rotary action is activated by the submersible manipulator. Water weight is 55 lbs. Overall basket space required for the larger sampler is 24" x 36" and 24" x 24" for the smaller one, plus a quiver for the intake nozzle.

Single-Chamber Slurp Sampler

A variant of the multi-chamber sampler, with the exception that only one unique suction sample can be taken. One submersible hydraulic function required for operation. Filter screen sizes vary dependant on the user's needs. Water weight is 15 lbs. Overall basket space required is 12" x 24" plus a quiver for the intake nozzle.

High-Volume Fish Slurp Sampler

This sampler utilizes a standard Alvin thruster motor assembly as the water motivator source. As such, an additional motor controller and internal sphere control box must be installed plus power and control cabling to the science basket area. An additional collection cage must also be installed as a depository for animals captured. Water weight is 60 lbs. Overall basket space required is 32" x 46" plus a quiver for the intake nozzle.

Temperature Measuring Devices

High Temperature Probe

The Alvin high temperature probe is capable of reading in situ water temperatures from 0 to 450 degC, with a 5 deg accuracy and 0.1 deg resolution. Because of a cold junction thermocouple, accuracy in the lower ranges (0-50 degC) is questionable. Data from the temperature probes is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Only one is carried during a dive. Water weight is 2 lbs. Basket space is not impacted.

Low Temperature Probe

The low temperature probe is capable of reading in situ water temperatures from 0 to 50 degC, with 0.5 deg accuracy and .001 deg resolution. Data from the temperature probes is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Only one is carried during a dive. Water weight is 2 lbs. Basket space is not impacted.

Inductively-Coupled Link (ICL) Temperature Probe

The ICL temperature probe is a wireless data transfer device most commonly used in conjunction with major water samplers to take real time temperature measurements during sampling. The ICL electronics can also be used for a varity of other data transfer and control functions. The sensor tip of the ICL probe is installed in the inner bore of the water sampler intake nozzle and senses the fluid temperatures as water flows past. The measurable temperature range of the probe is 0 to 450 degC. Data from the probe is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Water weight (ICL probe only) is 1 lb.

Heat Flow Probe - 1 meter

The 1-meter long heat flow probe is a five-element temperature sensor used to measure temperature gradients when inserted into soft sediments. Measurable temperature range is 0 to 40 degC; 0.2 deg accuracy, .001 deg resolution. Additionally, a temperature pulse can be generated and monitored to observe temperature decay in sediments. Data from the heat flow probe is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Only one is carried during a dive. Water weight is 4 lbs. Basket space is required to carry the quiver.

Heat Flow Probe - 0.66 meter

The 1/2-meter long heat flow probe is a four-element temperature sensor used to measure temperature gradients when inserted into soft sediments. Measurable temperature range is 0 to 40 degC; 0.2 deg accuracy, .001 deg resolution. Additionally, a temperature pulse can be generated and monitored to observe temperature decay in sediments. Data from the heat flow probe is normally displayed on the observer's internal video overlays and is additionally recorded in the submersible's computer data files. Only one is carried during a dive. Water weight is 4 lbs. Basket space is required to carry the quiver.

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The 'Ghostbuster' in situ chemical sampler designed by Kang Ding/Bill Seyfried of UMN uses WHOI-designed deployment arms married to Alvin's starboard manipulator (Kang Ding, UMN)

Custom Applications

NDSF engineers can supply technical assistance pre-cruise in the design of specialty equipment and sampling devices.  Contact NDSF to learn more about this option.

Last updated: March 4, 2008