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Assembly of the ceramic housing for the new HROV.

Glued to Their Work

Chris Griner (left) and Glenn McDonald use a special epoxy to glue together sections of ceramic tubing, or "housings," that will be used on Nereus. These pressure vessels provide safe shelter (with pressures at a surface-like one atmosphere) for the batteries and electronics that will run the vehicle. Titanium endcaps allow wires into and out of the vessels. "Ceramics, like your coffee cup, are brittle in nature and have only a fair tensile strength, *but they have a huge compressive strength,*" said McDonald. The ceramics on Nereus can resist the pressure of deep water (as much as 18,000 pounds per square inch). "This ceramics pressure vessel can have a thin wall and actually provide flotation, whereas a titanium vessel built for this depth would have a thick wall and not provide any flotation." (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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