Environmental Constraints to Instrumental Ocean Observing: Power Sources, Hydrostatic Pressure, Metal Corrosion, Biofouling, and Mechanical Abrasion

  • Jorge E. Corredor


Electronic instruments and platforms, especially the mobile platforms, require a stable source of electrical power which in most cases is not available from a large-scale terrestrial power grid. Batteries alone for submerged applications or combinations of solar cells and batteries for surface applications are the principal power sources now in use, but wave, wind, and other power sources are becoming available. Significant power economy afforded by modern electronic systems now extends power autonomy beyond 1 year for certain applications. Sensitive electronic components for ocean observing are contained in pressure-resistant housings constructed from corrosion-resistant materials or otherwise protected from corrosion. Pressure housings must be provided with waterproof ports for external sensors, power, and data cables. Metal structures are subject to electrochemical seawater-induced corrosion, in many cases mediated by bacterial metabolism. Metal structures immersed in seawater can be protected using both passive and active strategies, the former employing sacrificial metals and the latter the use of impressed electrical current. Biofouling can severely impair instrument response and vehicle performance. Mechanical means (wipers, shutters, slick surfaces) and/or biocidal means (organometallic formulations) allow reduction or amelioration of biological fouling. Special consideration is due to anchoring systems and electrical wires and cables subject to abrasion in high energy marine environments.


Pressure housings Metal corrosion Biofouling Mechanical abrasion 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge E. Corredor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine Sciences (retired)University of Puerto RicoMayagüezPuerto Rico

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