US 3683835 A
This disclosure relates to submersible vessel ballast containers which are capable of being jettisoned to gain positive buoyancy. Each container is oppositely disposed on each side of the vessel and shaped to conform to the hull configuration thereof. Sloping sides of the ballast containers permit jettisoning of the containers in an emergency operation in any submarine attitude nose-down, upside-down, or laying on its side, and utilizing a single point release system to guarantee release.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Deslierres [451 Aug. 15, 1972  BALLAST SYSTEM FOR 1,800,976 4/193] Andrews ..ll4/l6.4 SUBMERSIBLE VESSELS 3,335,684 8/1967 Trippel ..l 14/16 R 72 I t h Desl' ll' H' 1 men or 32 M R0 mg Primary Examiner-Trygve M. Blix Attorney-L. Lee Humphries, Charles F. Dischler an  Assigneez North American Rockwell Corpora- D k N m 1 tion 22 Filed: April 1, 1970 [571 ABSTRACT  Appl. 24,777 This disclosure relates to submersible vessel ballast containers which are capable of being jettisoned to gain positive buoyancy. Each container is oppositely ((til disposed on each Side of the vessel and Shaped to Cum I! g form to the hull configuration thereof: s p g sides of  Field of Search ..l14/16R, 16.4, 125,9 18211; the ballast containers permit jfimsoning of the com tainers in an emergency operation in any submarine attitude nose-down, upside-down, or laying on its side,  Reierences C-Ited and utilizing a single point release system to guarantee UNITED STATES PATENTS release 3,404,649 10/ 1968 1 Claim, 7 Drawing Figures Valihora ..1 14/121 PATENTEUAus 15 I972 SHEET 1 OF 2 F/GZ INVENTOR. JOHN M. DESL IERRES ATTORNEY BALLAST SYSTEM FOR SUBMERSIBLE VESSELS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates generally to a sub- 5 marine ballast system for operating a vessel in a neutrally -buoyant condition and more specifically to an inexpensive ballast system capable of being jettisoned in any direction in an emergency operation.
2. Description of the Prior Art Manned submersible vessels generally operate in a relatively neutral buoyant condition. The buoyancy of a submersible vessel is the difference between the displacement and the gross weight of the vehicle. It can either be plus or minus as operational conditions warrant. Buoyancy can be varied by changing the weight, displacement, or both. To operate in a neutrally I buoyant condition, the submersible vessel or submarine, as it is commonly known, is constantly taking on or expelling water to ascend or descend and to compensate for changes in vehicle displacement due to the efforts of varying pressure, temperature and payload. It can be seen that an excess of water or a malfunction of a pump could cause the submersible vessel to take on an excess of water and plunge to the ocean floor. To avoid loss of life, the vehicle must be capable of rapidly expelling this excess on-board water or rapidly jettisoning a weight that would restore positive buoyancy to the vehicle and permit it to rise to the surface.
It is readily apparent that any submersible vehicle which operates in a neutral or slightly positive or negative buoyancy condition is subjected to possible over-.
ballasting and becoming buoyancy critical. In addition, I
any vehicle that is operating close to the ocean floor or in or around sunken hulls, submerged cables, or other bottom debris is subjected to possible entanglement therein. Any entanglement could likewise upset this narrow balance of positive and negative buoyancy and entrap the submersible vehicle. At these times, it is necessary to unload considerable weight from the vehicle to dislodge it from the entanglement.
At other times, when a submersible vehicle is resting on the ocean floor, it will have tendency to settle into the bottom sediment and mud. A suction could be created by this bottom mud and thereby cause the vehicle to be firmly held down on the ocean floor. In order to dislodge the submersible vehicle and to break it loose under this condition, there must be an overcompensation for the downward force with considerable positive buoyancy. In all these conditions the vehicle must unload a sizable amount of weight to reach the surface.
There are many ways to obtain this positive buoyancy when needed in an emergency condition. Some vehicles drop trailing cables, others drop batteries or weight shot; some purge their mercury trim system. All of these systems are possible escapes when the vehicle is seated conveniently in an upright position on the ocean floor. But should the vehicle be lodged against an obstacle or pier, or tilted at an angle, or over on its side, possibly upside down, these aforementioned jettison systems will not work. Most vehicles jettison their weights through a chute on the bottom of the vehicle or drop their batteries out of the bottom of the vehicle. If the vehicle were lying on its side or nose down on the ocean floor, these weights could not be jettisoned. In
addition, these same weights would, upon release because of gravity, hold the vehicle on the ocean floor. In such a condition there would be no escape as the weights egress opening would no longer be downward.
Almost all submersible vehicles install ballast packages in an enclosed well or cavity within the vehicle. In many attitudes the weighted package cannot separate from the vehicle and, therefore, the vehicle cannot unload the weight and gain positive buoyancy.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention, accordingly, comprises many features not found in other submarine type vessels that are designed to work on the ocean bottom where a high degree of maneuverability is required. The invention in its broader aspects provides a plurality of ballast con tainers or tanks, comprising a somewhat boxed shaped configuration, releasably secured to the hull of the vessel. Each ballast container is received within a cavity or cradle in the exterior wall of the hull wherein the overall streamline contour of the submarine is not interrupted. However, the side walls of the container are sloped inwardly from the outer wall to the inner wall thereof. The sloping sidewalls of the containers are complimentarily fitted to the sloping sidewalls of the cradles, wherein means for supporting the ballast containers is located on the front wall of the cradles. Centrally positioned and fixed to the cradle wall is a releasable mounting means which is also demountably secured to the inner wall of said container for jettisoning thereof during an emergency operation. In addition, the support means within each cradle is so arranged so as to control and support the ballast container in a proper position for engaging and disengaging said container from the hull of the submarine. I
- Each packaged ballast is capable of being jettisoned downward, upward, sideward, and relatively forward and aft. The pair of ballast containers can be released separately or simultaneously, depending on each given situation. That is, if during an, emergency operation the submarine is laying on one side, the ballast on the down side may be jetu'soned. This will permit the submersible vessel to float upward and away from the negatively buoyant package. In doing so the submersible vessel will roll and position the opposite package to be jettisoned and thereby cause a positive buoyancy to occur. This, in turn, permits the submersible vessel to float upwardly to the surface of the water.
Where required, thrusters are arranged to be used to force the container to separate from the hull in any desired direction depending upon; the attitude and the position of the vehicle. Therefore, the ballast system may be jettisoned in any emergency position regardless of whether it is laying on its side, nose, or upside down.
Accordingly, an object of the invention is to provide an improved emergency ballast system especially adapted to jettison ballast tanks from any attitude a disabled submarine may take in an emergency.
Another object of the invention is the provision of an improved design of a ballast container to be constructed on the exterior of a water-tight submarine hull yet keeping within the overall streamlined configuration of the hull.
Another object of the invention is to provide a ballast container having sloping sides to permit jettisoning of the container in an emergency operation in any submarine attitude including nose down, upside down, or laying on its side.
Still a further object of the invention is to utilize a single point release system'to guarantee release in any direction of the container.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved emergency ballast system especially adapted to a relatively small submarine vehicle.
Other characteristics, advantages, and objects of this invention can be more readily appreciated from the following description and appended claims. When taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, this description forms a part of the specification wherein like references and characters designate corresponding parts in several views which are as follows.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a submersible vessel showing the different directions a ballast container may take upon being jettisoned;
FIG. 2, is a schematical partial plan view showing the oppositely disposed ballast containers;
FIG. 3 is a schematical end view of the vessel tilted about its axis and jettisoning one of its ballast packages;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the ballast container releasably secured to the hull of the submersible vehicle;
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view of a releasable mounting means for the ballast container;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 1 showing a portion of the container backwall therein; and
FIG. 7 is also a sectional view taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 1 showing a portion of the backwall of the container positioned thereon.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the detailed drawing of the invention, there is shown in FIG. 1 a manned submersible vessel, otherwise known as a submarine, and generally indicated by reference numeral 10. The submarine includes a typical water tight hull structure 12 having a hydrodynamic configuration, somewhat similar to a teardrop in shape. The hydrodynamic smoothness of the hull, however, is interrupted by cradles or compartments, generally indicated at 14, which are disposed within the hull structure 12. In addition to being oppositely arranged, as illustrated in FIG. 2 and 3, the ballast tanks may be located in other areas of the vehicle as shown in phantom lines of the same figures. These cradles are so designed as to accommodate a jettisonable ballast container or tank 16. When said tanks are received within said cradles the water tight hull becomes a smooth uninterrupted hydrodynamic submersible vessel capable of working at extreme depths on the ocean floor.
In FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 the cradles 14 are clearly seen as being an integral part of the hull 12, comprising a support wall 18 recessed inwardly from the outer wall of the hull. Connecting said support wall to the outer hull are sloping sidewalls 20 and 21, respectively. These sidewalls 20 and 21 are integrally joined along one edge to the vertical edge of the hull opening and from there tank 16 which comprises a somewhat semi-circular box shaped compartment having a convexed front wall 22 wherein the radius of said wall is that of the radius of the hull 12. Due to the arcuate shaped wall 22, its upper and lower edges 23 and 24, respectively, terminate and are secured to the respective upper and lower edges of the back wall 26. Each wall is sloped in the same direction and at the same angle as that of the complementary sloping walls 20 and 21 of the cradles 14.
This, then, forms a compartment generally indicated by numeral 30. However, compartment 30 can be segmented into smaller compartments 30a and 30b, as illustrated in FIG. 4 by baffles 32. These baffles or shelves may be used as support structures for batteries 31, as shown, as well as supporting frame work of the tank walls. Since the compartment 30 is designed to carry dead weight for buoyancy control, it can be seen that any type of well known weight devices may be incorporated within the compartment such as lead, water, or mercury. Therefore, the batteries as shown in the drawings are used for illustration purposes only.
Another essential component of the submarine jettison type ballast is the utilization of a single point release system comprising a releasable securing means, shown generally-in FIG. 4 and indicated by reference numeral 32. A housing 34 of the releasable securing means is fixed within a centrally positioned opening 36- of the recessed support wall 18, said housing being preferably cylindrical for receiving a piston-like member 38 within its bore 40 which is capable of being released when desired during an emergency. The piston 38 is adapted with an annular groove 42 for receiving a conventional O-ring type seal 43, which can be seen more clearly in FIG. 5. There is a conical shaped projection 45 on the outer face of the piston 38 which mates with the matching recess 46 within the back wall 26 of the container 14. The piston 38 is secured to the wall 26 by a thread stud 47 which passes through an opening 48 and directly into an internally threaded bore 49 of the piston 38. Thus, the piston 38 is a part of the complete assembly of the container 14.
There is formed on the opposite face of the piston and centrally positioned thereon a bolt 50 having a circular beveled head portion 51 which is received in a releasable latching device, generally indicated at 52. The latching device may be made to operate by many various methods. That is, mechanisms that could be mechanically hand operated, electrically operated, or by any explosive cartridge type release. These methods vary depending on the particular design of submersible vessel.
In achieving positional stability of the ballast tank 16, there is secured to the support wall 18 of the cradle 14 a bolt 54, as seen in FIG. 6, having a spherical head 56, said bolt being centrally positioned above the piston 38 for supporting the load of said tank 16 in any direction.
The spherical head 56 is received within a mating spherical socket 58, said socket being located within an enlarged area of the back wall 26 of the tank 16. There is also centrally positioned below the piston an additional load support means comprising a bolt 60. Said bolt 60, in FIG. 7, is shown as having a somewhat rectangular radiused shaped head 62 which is adapted to be received in an elongated socket 64 located in the lower section of the back wall 26. Said bolt head 62 is designed to accept fore and aft loads only; this is due to the arcuate shape of its vertical sides which are capable of receiving sideward loads wherein the beveled upper and lower ends 65 will not accept loads in an upward or downward direction.
With the foregoing in mind, it can readily be seen in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 that, when an emergency condition prevails and it becomes necessary to jettison the ballast tanks 16, a variety of directions are then capable when separation takes place. As an example, FIG. 3 illustrates a condition wherein the submarine is rotated about its major longitudinal axis arranged along line a-a and the ballast on the lower side is being jettisoned, which would be considered at this time as hav ing a negative buoyancy. As the ballast separates from the vessel the negative buoyancy on the side of the separation becomes positive, thereby shifting the negative buoyancy condition to the oppositely disposed tank, thereby causing the submarine to rotate in the direction of the arrow b, at which time the difference between the displacement and the gross weight of the vehicle is such that a positive buoyancy is created within the entire submersible vessel allowing the vessel to reach the surface of the water.
However, where a condition might exist in which a force is needed to separate the ballast in a particular direction, there may be incorporated into the jettison system a means for forcibly separating the ballast from the hull of the vessel. Such a means could be a thruster type of device, such as generally indicated at 70 in FIG. 4.
While there has been illustrated and described a specific embodiment of this invention, further modifications and improvement will be obvious, to those skilled in the art and it is desired, therefore, in the appended claims to cover all modifications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of this invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A ballast system for placement within the hull of the submersible vessel comprising:
a pair of independent containers oppositely disposed on each side of said submersible vessel and inde pendently releasably mounted thereon, and each having a front wall conforming to the overall configuration of said hull, a back wall and a pair of side walls inwardly sloping from said front wallto said back wall;
a pair of cradles recessed on opposite sides of said hull, and each comprising a support wall recessed inwardly from said hull and a pair of opposite side walls sloping inwardly from said hull to said recessed support wall;
a load support means being positioned on said support wall of said cradle for supporting the load of one of said respective containers; a releasab y mounted means for demountably securing one of said containers within a respective-cradle independently of said other container;
a thruster means positioned within said respective