Bladder Buoyancy Engine

Bladder Buoyancy Engine for Underwater Gliders: Fall 2012-Fall 2013 (as member/team lead for the MIT Marine Robotics Team)

Goal: design and fabricate an easily-sourcable and inexpensive bladder-based buoyancy engine for a glider capable of diving to 200m

Role: determined operational requirements (pump, bladder, endcaps, and pressure vessel), designed mechanical supports for engine components, specified and ordered components, and fabricated prototype engine (made endcaps on mill, waterjet support plates, and cut tube and rods to size) 

-outlined performance specifications for pump and motor based on mission requirements 

-modified pump and motor shifts to internally couple components and reduce engine size

Worm-gear motor drives pumping of mineral oil between internal and external bladders.  The change in volume of the vehicle as the internal bladder expands and contracts propels the vehicle through the water in a sawtooth pattern.


Assembly of buoyancy engine in pressure vessel