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rod catanach

Foam, it's not just for cups

WHOI engineer Rod Catanach shows off foam used to keep several deep sea vehicles buoyant, including Alvin and Nereus. It's a durable, light-weight material; engineers use syntactic foam, a matrix of billions of microscopic hollow glass spheres embedded in a hard epoxy resin. The resulting product is hard enough to resist crushing under extreme pressure, yet it is lighter than water and thus provides buoyancy to lift a 36,000-pound undersea vehicle, said Catanach, a WHOI engineer overseeing the foam’s development for the development of Alvin's replacement vehicle. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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