Novel Composite Submarine Hatch Materials and Construction Methods

Period of Performance: 07/13/2010 - 01/13/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Walz & Krenzer, Inc.
91 Willenbrock Rd., Unit B4
Oxford, CT 06478
Principal Investigator


Existing high pressure watertight hatches on U.S. Naval submarines have complex operating mechanisms and many steel components which are susceptible to significant corrosion and maintenance issues when subjected to immersion in sea water. The objective of this project is to develop a new and improved high pressure watertight hatch utilizing composite materials which will result in less corrosion, less maintenace resulting in lower total ownership costs, and an overall reduced weight while maintaining their watertight capability. Simplicity and effectiveness of the operating mechanism as well as a reduced number of components will be a significant goal of the design process in order to minimize maintenance. Novel operating mechanism designs will be investigated. Streamlining the fabrication and shop pressure testing process and well as simplifying the installation process will also be reviewed as part of the R&D process. Potential composite materials will be compared and evaluated based on multiple criteria, including strength to weight ratio; stiffness; corrosion resistance; degradation in seawater; impact & wear resistance; and cost/manufacturability. Walz & Krenzer has been supplying high pressure watertight doors & hatch to both the marine & industrial markets since 1939, and is well known in the marine industry for engineering prowess.