Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Scrubber Design?

Researchers in the UK and U.S. have been looking at ways to build a new CO2 scrubber for possible submarine use. Excerpts:
Professor Stan Kolaczkowski and his team from Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath are collaborating with mechanical engineers from Duke University in the US to develop a chemical-free way of removing carbon dioxide from the air inside deep sea human habitats.
They are developing a system that uses sea water and Dixon rings in deep sea submersible vehicles and other submersible human habitats. The project is funded by a three year grant worth £380,000 from the US Office of Naval Research (ONR).
At present, chemicals such as calcium hydroxide are used to chemically react with the CO2. Although it is known that sea water has potential to absorb CO2, the aim of this project is to develop a system that will be compact and work in a submersible environment where space is very limited.
Based on technology developed in 1948, Dixon rings consist of a fine wire mesh folded into a ring, approximately 3 mm in size. The space in the wire mesh provides an extended surface area for the absorption of the CO2.
Not sure if it would be able to replace the chemical scrubbers we currently use, but if they could miniaturize it enough, it seems like it could work for smaller submersibles.

Does anyone have any good stories about the atmospheric control equipment on their boats? (Stories about how your wife threw out all your deployment clothes because of the amine smell are always good.)


Blogger Atomic Dad said...

I can say that when my first wife was pregnant with my daughter that I had to strip my uniform off at the door. I guess pregnant women and amine don't mix. If she smelled it... insta-puke.

I actually find the smell comforting. I occasionally will find items like books that I had underway that retained the smell. Being on shore duty, that's my connection to the underwater world.


6/19/2010 11:45 AM

Anonymous TsarBombaFTMFW said...

Rudder Amidships: "Being on shore duty, that's my connection to the underwater world."

Dig It!


6/19/2010 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During my XO tour, I dragged our soon-to-retire MSCS on an EastPac run. Since he was so short that he could sit on the edge of a dime and let his feet dangle, he wasn't pleased.

During that run, the "bomb" decided to go off. Some equipment damage, no one hurt. I had run from my stateroom down to ensure the breaker was open, then headed back to get my OBA. When I passed the MSCS in the passageway, he gave me the look of death. Fortunately for me, he didn't have any cutlery handy or I would have been in a body bag, packed in the freezer for the remainder of the run.

6/19/2010 5:07 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

"Being on shore duty, that's my connection to the underwater world."

Same situation, but add the metallic scent of hydraulic spills and drips. All of my original paperwork, both my Gerber tool and Surefire flashlight pouches, along with my blues have such a smell. Ya know what?...I'm proud as all hell, because it shows where we come from in life.

Shore duty isn't so bad, but can someone lemme know when it's time to turn to and get the fuck underway once again? Actually it's a little over a year before I make the transfer but I wish time would speed up just a little.

6/19/2010 6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an draeger O2 rebreather I dive with. The chem smell is pretty bad with it. I flooded the scrubber once, let the unit dry out on the deck. But it ended up dripping on the old lady's beach umbrella.... it disolved the umbrella.... she didn't find it funny. Scrubbers can be pretty nasty.

6/19/2010 6:38 PM

Blogger John said...

I really miss the smell of submarines. I've always loved it and would occasionally smell my work uniforms while in off-crew just to get a 'hit'. Unfortunately I have nothing left from my boat days.

6/19/2010 6:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'all are some sick fucks. First thing I used to do when I got off of the boat was go to the hot tub and sweat out the stench so people couldn't smell me coming from 10 yards away.

6/19/2010 7:42 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

Best freak out ever....We had just pulled in from a 3 week underway, and I had signed leave papers in hand, seabag full of boat clothes and a few civvies on my shoulder as I walked to the pier and headed straight to Hickam to catch a MAC flight home. By the time I got home, the bag was a little rank, so I tossed it in the laundry room with a strong admonition to my mother to leave it alone and I'd do it myself after I caught up with some sleep and jet-lag. She didn't listen and I was awakened about an hour later by the sound of my mother cursing and yelling fo me to get my nasty stinking clothes out of her house! All I could say was "I told you so!"

6/19/2010 7:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The number of dipshits that RAN to the Machinery Room or Machinery 2 when a rapid depressurization of an EOG was called away on the 1MC.
I hope the new scrubbers are
US design and not bought from the brits. The amount of material support and ability to get parts from their other shit is near impossible. Take SEIE....what a piece of shit setup, and no amount of PMS will keep that crap working.
As for the "submarine smell"?
That's not amine, that's feet and ass you are missing. I never smelled like kitty piss......
We had an op that required two zipperheads from the jsdf ride us. We set up a smoking area in laundry so they could smoke packs of smokes each day. I was doing
an off going tour and I notice junior zipperhead feverishly leaning against #1 scrubber and drawing the piping diagram. I could only laugh at his thoughts of sniffing all that hot kitty piss as he was drawing it, now that's dedication!!!

6/19/2010 10:46 PM

Anonymous Sandy Eggo said...

Most people buy Nature's Miracle to clean up cat pee, I buy it almost exclusively for deodorizing my husband's uniforms.

Ironically, my cats seem to enjoy the "boat smell," because they bombard every submariner who walks through the front door (and ignore every other human being).

6/19/2010 10:50 PM

Blogger Jarrod said...

After my first patrol my wife picked me up and after a minute into the ride home I noticed this awful stench in the car. It was like badly spoiled milk, so I assumed she had left the remnant of a latte or a baby bottle in the car somewhere.

Nope, it was me.

6/20/2010 8:12 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

12 years since I was on a boat and I can STILL remember the smell. Just one of those things you'll never get out of your head, like doing sourceless reactor startups (yes, the ex woke me up because I was doing one in my sleep.) And AFAIK, nothing ever REALLY got the smell out of my poopy suits (yes, I still have a couple.)

6/20/2010 8:14 AM

Blogger J120 Bowman said...

As DCA, I loved the EOG!!! I was guarenteed to get at least three wakeups with reports of some damned alarm or warning light during a 6 hour down. The only good thing was the Eng and I shared a stateroom, so the messanger killed two reports with one stop.

I also enjoyed when a new OOD would screw up either the O2 level or more importantly the CO2. Headaches from hell!

6/20/2010 8:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody goofed off Florida:

6/20/2010 4:42 PM

Anonymous Dean Kling said...

The smell of submarines isn't soley dependent on amine but is a mix of hydrocarbons (including hydraulic and diesel oils) naugahyde, ozone and dozens of other smells. Whatever is is, it is distinctive and apparently lasts forever.
Portland has the ex-USS Barbel (SS-580) as a walk-on display at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and walking through the hull cut into the Wardroom you get a blast of the submarine scent that takes me immediately back to my underway days. I served on diesel boats, and boomers, ending up on the USS Florida (SSBN-728) and every submarine had that smell. It is very distinctive and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

6/20/2010 4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re the "Somebody goofed off Florida"

Mast sticking WAY up, 4 miles from shore, which then left at 20 many barley pops had that guy consumed?

6/20/2010 5:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found out my first child was born when we picked up the ORSE board. I got special liberty to leave the boat as soon as we pulled in following ORSE. It was late when we finally got to Charleston from King Bay and I immediately went inside to meet my new daughter. Th next day when I finally got up and went outside to get my seabag out of my brand new car it smelled like the boat. Several cans of Lysol and attempts with a carpet cleaner would not get rid of that smell.

6/20/2010 5:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: somebody goofing up off the coast of Florida - a few years back during TRE workups we got counterdetected by a sailboat; radio picked up the guy talking about the scope and we went deep.

Then a slide of the "Battle Schooner" made its way into the list of surface combatants in the next briefing...

6/20/2010 8:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a new CO2 scrubber design being tested right now. There is a prototype on on East Coast SSN and one West Coast SSBN. Small, quite, and no MEA. Still a few years away from full-scale implementation, but at least they are working on it.

6/21/2010 7:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the Florida skimmer sighting....this is the phrase which got my attention:

"The periscope sank beneath the waves, and whatever was below the surface blew its ballast, sending aloft a mighty hiccup of bubbles."

Really, blew ballast? I agree, this sounds like a few too many brewskies in the hot sun.

6/21/2010 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always loved the smell of the boat. I occasionally go over to the Nautilus museum for a fix. Smells like home... Diggit? Absolutely!

My wife tells me that when we would get off the plane from Holy Loch, the wives could smell us coming through the customs area at Bradley Int'l. Lots of gasps of disgust. More "interestingly", was that was the cue for some of them to kiss their boyfriends goodbye before their husbands came through the doors.

When my wife and I 1st got married, I would dump my seabag out in the middle of the bedroom floor, much to my wife's chagrin and disgust. Which of course brought me a chuckle. On my second sea tour, we had a house with a garage, which is where the washer and dryer were located. As soon as I got home, she would grab my seabag and toss it in the garage before I had a chance to dump it. Damn.

6/21/2010 9:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After my first patrol I only made it home for about 6 hours and then had to return to work to cool down. She decided to help by doing my laundry and dumped out my seabag. What spilled out of the bag but two issues of nasty porn stuck in by the Bull as a "joke". She actually thought they were mine and was quite pissed! Thanks Bull.

It was the last time my wife did my laundry. From then on it became the standard boat prank to play on all the new married JO's. Even the other wives kept the secret from the new JO wife.

6/21/2010 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has the USS BLUEBACK SS581 for touring.

Barbel was sunk in 2001

6/21/2010 1:08 PM

Anonymous Hyman Roth said...

Mysterious periscopes?

6/21/2010 2:11 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Conventional submarine CO2scrubbing is not only mission critical, it is space and cost consuming.

Is there a better way? Chemical-looping combustion or hydrate-based separation may ultimately prove more advantageous than conventional paradigms.

6/21/2010 6:32 PM

Anonymous Joe Turner said...

When I separated 2002, I stuffed all my boat clothes in a sea bag, unwashed from a four month Northern Run. I moved a few weeks ago and as I was unpacking with my wife, she found the sea bag. The sequence that followed, I swear, happened in slow motion. I could see her unlatching the bag, unfolding the top, and then the "aroma" "hit."

The face she made was SO classic. But what made the this "homecoming" special was that she threw up back in the damn bag!

...Lets say we tossed the bag after that.

6/21/2010 7:59 PM

Blogger Atomic Dad said...

To those who called me dig it.

Yes. I love being a mechanic, and I am proud to be a submariner.

So, I see that as a compliment and say thank you!

To those who view that as something rude to say, put it with your "shipmate" and get out of the navy.

Keep it centerline and you will survive. BTW... amine doesn't smell like cat piss, ammonia does.


6/22/2010 10:12 PM

Blogger MT1(SS)WidgetHead said...

"Keep it centerline and you will survive. BTW... amine doesn't smell like cat piss, ammonia does.


Good point MM1/SS,

The girl I'm living with at present, has two cats and we have to scoop once a day and change the box at least twice a week so our place doesn't smell like cat piss from hell once one walks into our apartment. You're right, ammonia isn't the same as amine. But it does start to suck if you don't keep an active eye on it on a daily basis.

6/22/2010 11:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Joe Turner - if you're the same Sonar Tech Joe Turner who was on the USS RI when I checked aboard in '96, drop me a note.

6/23/2010 6:56 AM


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