Development and Evaluation of a Hyperbaric Toxic Gas Monitor (SUBTOX) for Disabled Submarines
Technical Report,01 Apr 2004,01 Sep 2012
Navy Experimental Diving Unit Panama City United States
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Current procedures for monitoring toxic gases on disabled submarines DISSUBs rely on chemical detector tubes to determine when submarine escape action levels SEALs of such gases are reached, so that specific steps can be taken to protect the survivors. However, detector tubes are known to have limited storage times to degrade quickly under adverse storage conditions such as high temperatures and to be inaccurate, costly, time consuming, and cumbersome to use. In addition, pressures aboard a DISSUB may become elevated and produce currently unknown effects on detector tube performance. Over an eight-year period 2004 2012, Navy Experimental Diving Unit NEDU helped ENMET Corp. to develop the first hyperbaric toxic gas analyzer SubTox to monitor, under pressure, the eight gases ammonia, carbon monoxide, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfurdioxide for which SEALs have been defined. With results from laboratory and field testing, and with positive feedback from many Fleet personnel including an endorsement by U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey for submarinesINSURV and overwhelming enthusiasm among submariners who have seen SubTox during NEDU field testing, NEDU and Naval Sea Systems Command NAVSEA agree that SubTox is ready for a proposed 18-month transition plan that NEDU and ENMET have developed. This plan, if successful, would result in the Fleet procuring a limited number of first-production SubTox monitors. NEDU believes that SubTox, by replacing the detector tubes now used, should improve the Navy s ability to monitor DISSUB atmospheres. To date, however, Navy support has not yet been obtained for the proposed transition plan.