Buoyancy engine developed for underwater gliders

Kenichi Asakawa, Kensuke Watari, Hidetoshi Ohuchi, Masahiko Nakamura, Tadahiro Hyakudome, Yasuhisa Ishihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A buoyancy engine with a swashplate-type axial piston pump was developed. Its oil extrusion and drawing properties under high hydraulic pressure were evaluated. This buoyancy engine is now installed in an underwater glider that will achieve long-term monitoring of ocean environments up to 2100 m depth in a designated area with lower operational costs. This bidirectionally functioning pump can control the amount of oil in extrusion and draw operations. When drawing oil under high pressure, the hydraulic pump and the electric motor, respectively, act as a hydraulic motor and an electric generator. The generated electric power is absorbed by a damping resistor. The oil-drawing and extrusion properties were measured using a large hyperbaric chamber that is able to produce an almost identical environment to that of actual operations. Results confirmed stable oil extrusion operations up to 21 MPa. Regarding oil-drawing properties, although it was measured only up to 10 MPa in the hyperbaric chamber, it can be inferred that the system can draw the oil and can control the buoyancy precisely up to 21 MPa by replacing the two-way ball valve with an electromagnetic latching solenoid valve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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