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nereus ceramic spheres

Floating without imploding

To allow a heavy deep-sea vehicle like Nereus to float in the deepest depths, engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) used an entirely new system of ceramic spheres to provide lift and the ability to withstand extreme pressures. A plastic jacket fits over the spheres and protects them from damage. “You could take a sphere with a jacket on and throw it against the concrete floor as hard as possible, and it’ll bounce, but it won’t break," says WHOI engineer Don Peters.

(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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