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Glossary of Terms for Applications Used in Submarines

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine force is the country’s first and last line of defense in its global strategy of deterrence. Sentech, the global leader in the design and manufacture of position sensors, is deeply invested in U.S. Navy submarine systems support, producing Linear Variable Displacement Transducers (LVDTs), Rotary Variable Differential Transducers (RVDTs), FASTAR sensors, HYDRASTAR sensors, signal conditioners, and solenoids.

The following is a glossary of terms for submarine systems and a few of the roles Sentech sensors play in keeping the systems operating.

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Glossary of Applications Used in Submarines

Marine Propulsion Systems

This is located in the aft of the submarine and powered by steam turbines, the submarine’s rotating propeller drives it through the water. In modern nuclear-powered submarines, the nuclear reactor provides the heat that produces the steam for the turbine drive.

Submarine Air, Water, Fuel Systems

Breathable oxygen, potable freshwater, and fuel systems are what keep the crew healthy, the steam turbines unclogged, and the submarine moving:

  • Oxygen comes from pressurized tanks that must be closely monitored to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide, as well as expelling human waste products using pressurized air.
  • Submarine freshwater is either stored in tanks or on nuclear-powered boats, manufactured by desalinating seawater.
  • Submarine fuel systems are either diesel-based or heat generated by nuclear fission.

Each of the foregoing submarine systems involves temperature, pressure, and flow monitoring LVDT sensors manufactured by Sentech. Each are designed to work in demanding saltwater, high pressure, and high-temperature environments.

Fuel Storage and Delivery Systems

LVDT applications in submarines include measuring the position of the rods. These provide power generation to heat the water that generates the steam and drives the turbines and propeller shaft.

Missile Guidance Systems

Submarine missile guidance systems depend on the global positioning system, gyro navigation, and velocity measurement technology. The systems use controlled ignition of rocket fuel and an automated system of feedback on what must occur and when.

LVDTs and RVDTs play an important role in guidance and precision from the violent combustion of the missile launch to keeping satellites oriented in the freezing vacuum of space.

Defense Satellites and Launch Systems

Defense satellites are the network of solar-powered earth orbiters that guide a submarine-launched nuclear missile to its target. 

Robotic Controls

Robotic controls are either automated or manually operated systems that make it possible to control robots. Underwater robots, for example, are programmed for deep dives into dangerous and remote parts of the ocean.

For example, the Navy’s Orca robot submarine, Echo Voyager, uses depth sensors and gyrometric navigation and relies on GPS navigation. It uses a diesel-electric system and a 1,000-gallon fuel supply.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Modern submarines rely on integrated and highly functioning propulsion and environment monitoring and control systems.
  • Sentech LVDT sensors and LVDT applications support propulsion, satellite, and missile launch as well as onboard air, water, and submarine nuclear fuel systems.
  • The principal advantage of Sentech’s sensors are their ability to function in high vibration, heat, and radiation environments and provide the automatic control and feedback required to keep the submarine powered and the crew alive.

Reach Out to Sentech for all Your Submarine Needs

Need assistance with new or existing submarine sensor needs? Contact Sentech today, and learn about the best performing and most cost-effective solution to any manufacturing or monitoring problem.

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