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Vortex-Assisted Pressure Control at Inlet of Underwater Launch System

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Patent application, Filed 29 Oct 2003

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The present invention relates generally to controlling the flow of a surrounding environmental fluid into an inlet formed in a moving vehicle, and more particularly to a system that uses vortices to control such a flow at the inlet of, for example, an underwater vehicles underwater launch system. Many underwater launch systems used by underwater vehicles utilize the forward motion of the vehicle and underwater pressure to develop a dynamic pressure head for launch initiation. An inlet formed in the vehicles hull admits water as the vehicle moves forward. A launch pressurization system coupled to the inlet pressurizes and directs the water flow to a launch tube. The inlet can be open at all times or fitted with a door that is kept closed and flush with the vehicles hull until a launch is required. A vortex-assisted pressure control system is provided for controlling fluid flow into an inlet formed in a vehicle where such fluid flow into the inlet occurs during vehicle movement. A vortex generator, or generators, is positioned forward of the inlet with respect to the forward movement of the vehicle to generate streamwise vortices in the fluid as the vehicle moves through the fluid. Each vortex generator is controllable so as to adjust the strength of the streamwise vortices and the lateral position of the streamwise vortices relative to the inlet. Sensors are used to detect the lateral position of the streamwise vortices relative to the inlet, and the pressure of the fluid that has entered the inlet. A controller adjusts the vortex generator based on sensor measurements to control the lateral position of the streamwise vortices and the pressure of the fluid entering the vehicle via the inlet. Still another object of the present invention is to provide a vortex generating system for a vehicle that minimizes an acoustic signature associated therewith when the system is not in use.

Subject Categories:

  • Submarine Engineering
  • Fluid Mechanics

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