WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Ryan Hanyok, a science and technology photographer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, was working on a demanding underwater test when he encountered a situation that would test his mettle.
"I needed to find a way to house a camera that could capture images at a rate of more than 1,000 frames per second, at varying angles, yet have the capability to sustain extreme hydro forces without getting wet," Hanyok said.
After some research, Hanyok realized he could develop a product that would fulfill the demanding requirements necessary and at a lower cost.
"I found and tested a variety of housings, but I was still encountering an issue with hydrodynamic forces at high speeds," Hanyok said. "So I started asking around, and was eventually able to come up with a concept that could be built in-house for much less, essentially saving the client money."
Hanyok, who is from Carderock's Corporate Communications Division, teamed with Carl Baumann, a mechanical engineer in the Facilities Engineering Branch, and Andrew Nowakowski, a naval architect in the Hullform and Propulsor Testing Branch, to come up with the above-mentioned concept to meet the project need.
The strut is a hemispherical dome attached to an arm-and-pulley system that can be raised and lowered into place for capturing underwater images. Inside the dome is a high-speed digital camera, attached to a bracket capable of pivoting in numerous directions, powered by a single cable linked to a portable computer.
Finding the right solution to the problem wasn't easy, as they were working on a truncated time table and lacked experience in a number of fields. The trio knew that collaboration amongst different departments was paramount to their success.
"Imaging department is unique because, although we are within the Corporate Communications Division, we work with people from all departments," Hanyok said. "I believe it was the collaborative efforts of the people within my network that made this project a success."
The three tapped the additive manufacturing group for materials and 3-D printer capabilities to print variations of the camera bracket, they spoke with engineers about fluid dynamics; the manufacturing and fabrications group for steel, aluminum and plastic components; and other experts about the right polymer to use, capable of withstanding hydrodynamic forces.
Hanyok said that although the team was able to develop a great solution, they did encounter a few setbacks.
"One issue we had was that we 3-D printed the fairing at the same time we were manufacturing the dome," Hanyok said. "Once both parts were completed we realized that the two did not match up as precisely as planned, so my thought was to use dental wax to fill the gaps. It would have been great if everything fit properly, but we worked with what we had to meet the deadline."
Hanyok said the new tool can be used on many platforms and carriages, and that he looks forward to seeing the different environments it can be tested in.
"We haven't tested it in open water yet, but I am always surprised what the engineers and scientists here at Carderock are asked to develop and test, so you never know what this design could be used for in the future," Hanyok said.
The strut has only been used for one test to date, but is scheduled for another test in the model basin later this summer.
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