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Tyne Pressure Testing: buoyancy aid testing for naval submarine modules

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01 March 2021

Tyne Pressure Testing has partnered with a number of buoyancy module manufacturers to support various buoyancy aid testing and product validation programmes.

Traditionally used on naval submarines, or as part of a riser system in the oil and gas industry, the modules tested on this occasion required instrumented buoyancy aid testing to confirm that they do not allow the penetration of water whilst under pressure. This type of testing ensures that the buoyancy aids are fit for purpose and will not sink whilst supporting infrastructure, once deployed.

Measuring 4.5 metres long, the modules were tested in hyperbaric testing  chamber TPT 5 due to its length and fully automated loading, pressurisation and monitoring system.  Chamber 5 also has the ability to simulate ultra-deep water temperatures down to -2°C.

The testing was overseen by our experienced on-site testing engineers; Kevin Brotherton, Jack Lowes and Angelo Addeo, with client inspection teams subsequently viewing test progress and data charts offsite. Live remote surveillance of ongoing tests can be provided for clients that prefer to witness testing offsite. This is also complemented by the provision of post-test data recordings and certification.

Each buoyancy unit was weighed before being subjected to pressure equivalent to 3,000 metres below sea level. After 24 hours of exposure, all of the units were found to weigh the same as they did before the pressure was applied, which confirmed the design, material and coating treatment were water-tight and had been completely unaffected by the pressure. As a result, Tyne Pressure Testing’s testing engineers confirmed that the units were effective buoyancy aids and therefore suitable to be installed on submarines.

Tyne Pressure Testing’s nine hyperbaric pressure  testing chambers provide the flexibility to suit various components in terms of both size and pressure. This, along with an understanding of client requirements and the demands of global industry standards API 17L & API 17U, means Tyne Pressure Testing continues to be a preferred partner for engineering contractors requiring both  destructive testing and  non-destructive testing for subsea products.