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Life Support Biosph Sci. 1998;5(3):287-94.

Proposed minimum requirements for the operational characteristics and testing of submersible atmosphere monitoring and control units.

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  • 1The Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD 20723, USA.


The design of a submersible and its myriad subsystems is a complex undertaking made more difficult by the interval between new designs. Special applications also tax the life support designer, such as diver lock-out submersibles, which are far more complex than one-atmosphere vehicles. The long intervals between designs generally means that a new generation of designers will be approaching the problems without the benefit of the knowledge and experience of the past generation of designers. This new generation of designers often has greatly improved technologies and materials at hand. Yet in the application of the new technology, life support issues that were addressed and resolved in the old and proven designs get lost in the process of redesign due to the lack of experience in the life support arena. Competent engineers operating outside their normal area of expertise can generate costly or even deadly mistakes. For this reason a set of performance requirements that details the critical functions of the life support systems is needed. Atmosphere control electronics can seriously impact the safety of the submersible crew. The triple dangers of fire, toxicity, and asphyxia demand that the electronics that monitor and control the submarine compartment atmosphere have certain characteristics. These characteristics are easily captured in a performance requirement. This article will present a set of proposed minimum performance requirements, with the goal of establishing a dialog for the creation of guidelines for the classification, rating, design, and testing of embedded electronics for life support systems used in submersible applications. These guidelines will serve as the foundation for the later creation of a set of industry specifications.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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