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Marine and Environment

Robust Co-Prime Sensing with Underwater Inflatable Passive Sonar Arrays

Mentor: Bing Ouyang, Ph.D.
Scholar: Jordan Thomas
Home Institution: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Without SONAR sensing devices monitoring the ocean, we would have significant holes in our knowledge of what is happening with wildlife, marine vehicles, or the ocean floor. Unfortunately, our current sensing devices provide only limited information. Due to the nature of current sensing algorithms, accurate devices are long and difficult to deploy; compact versions are inaccurate or limited in the frequency they can detect. All the current devices are also temporary. To have practical, accurate, and potentially permanent sensing of the ocean using SONAR, our Underwater Inflatable Co-Prime Sonar Array device (UISCA) utilizes a unique “two-way compression” method. The first part of that method employs a co-prime algorithm which reduces the number of sensors and the distance between them without sacrificing accuracy. The second part is what we focused on during summer 2018: the physical compression of the UISCA. Using ANSYS computational fluid dynamics software, we analyzed the behavior of the UISCA in the ocean current. Simultaneously, we investigated different options for the inflation of the structure. Finally, we constructed a prototype of the UISCA and tested its inflation properties in water.

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Jordan Thomas