Innovative Flow Control Devices for Shipboard Fluid System Rupture Isolation

Period of Performance: 12/14/2007 - 06/25/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

SEA Corp.
62 Johnny Cake Hill Array
Middletown, RI 02842
Principal Investigator


Current shipboard emergency flow control devices for fluid systems use either pneumatic power or electric motors to close valves when a rupture is detected. These systems are dependent on the availability of the electric power or low pressure air systems. In a casualty situation, these support systems could also be lost and the flow control devices would not operate as intended, placing the ship in even greater extremis. SEA CORP proposes to use its extensive experience in the use of commercially available automotive airbag inflators to develop an innovative application of this existing technology to provide the pneumatic energy to autonomously close fluid system valves when a rupture is detected. The inflator(s) would be individually mounted to each valve and controlled by local circuitry that would normally use available ship s electrical power, but would have a small (D-cell size) battery backup in case normal power is lost. Algorithms will be developed, or adapted from current smart valve systems, to ensure that only those valves required to secure the rupture would close, allowing use of the remainder of the affected system. This technology is easily adaptable to commercial applications such as shipping, oil, and chemical facilities, especially in remote locations.