RiSE issue 5

New ultra-low density high performance syntactic foams

Balmoral’s technical team developed a new ultra-low density syntactic buoyancy foam Balmoral’s technical team developed a new ultra-low density syntactic buoyancy foam

With industry demands to reduce the volume of buoyancy and increase payload on remotely operated and autonomous vehicles (ROV/AUV) Balmoral Offshore Engineering’s technical team recently completed an extensive R&D programme to develop a new range of low-density syntactic foams.

The main objectives were to produce a single, robust, ultra-low-density foam type. The new material is designed to operate at various service depths, optimised for low density and high safety factors with minimal buoyancy loss over a 25-year design life. All of this was achieved without compromising any of the key goals.

Finished foam densities, spanning 2000-7000msw operating depths, have been significantly lowered as a result of percipient R&D work and testing.

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The new grades boast ultra-low density, extremely low manufacturing tolerance, excellent water ingress resistance, negligible long-term buoyancy loss, impressive mechanical properties

Gregg Stewart

Technical manager, Gregg Stewart, comments: “The new grades boast ultra-low density, extremely low manufacturing tolerance, excellent water ingress resistance, negligible long-term buoyancy loss, impressive mechanical properties – including high bulk modulus and high hydrostatic collapse pressure safety factors.

“The new materials are also suitable for other deepwater applications including manned submarines, suspended oceanographic instrumentation and pipe support buoyancy. For ROV/AUV purposes the new materials can be supplied either as slab-stock or fully designed and customised buoyancy blocks.”

Maximum depth rating (msw) Grade Finished foam density (kg/m3) Hydrostatic collapse pressure safety factor: Maximum operational pressure
2000 LDF2000 385 ± 15 >1.50:1.00
3000 LDF3000 415 ± 15 >1.50:1.00
4000 LDF4000 435 ± 15 >1.50:1.00
5000 LDF5000 479 ± 15 >1.50:1.00
7000 LDF7000 530 ± 15 >1.21:1.00
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