"> Underwater core sampler field test!


Last July (24-29/07), on the seabed of Marzamemi (SR), the first test campaign of the remote-controlled vehicle for coralligenous sampling was carried out. The team has developed the device starting from data collected during previous tests on a semi-automatically operated system. During these operations, several issues emerged indeed, in particular regarding motor power as well as excessive weight and dimensions. Furthermore, the cores taken were mostly fragmented or completely damaged.

The result of the last year of design and development is a new remotely operated coring devices nearly 50% lighter than the previous one, having almost twice its coring torque. Geometry optimization and material selection resulted in a significant smaller prototype, suitable to be integrated underneath the ROV belly. Core tubes where also modified with an innovative “double tube” mechanism that enable to prevent core breakage or loss.

The new test campaign, carried out at depth from 25 to 35 meters, was preceded by preliminary tests in pool. Test were useful to verify the functioning of all the mechanical parts and to adjust ROV balancing. The first objective of the field tests was the identification of the target together with the descent and anchoring operations to the seafloor. Subsequently, the ability to carry out core drilling was verified, managing to sample the first core. The last goal was the activation of the tool change device thanks to which it was possible to carry out three core sampling during the same mission.

First launch for the corer prototype in the Marzamemi sea.

ROV searching for its target.

A glimpse of the “double tube” system.