An astronaut who is going to help build or learn how to fix the International Space Station (ISS) faces a multitude of challenges and obstacles he or she must train for before launching into space. This includes learning how to move around and using tools in an enormous space suit with bulky gloves.
They begin their training in a pool that simulates weightlessness. Inside, there is a model of the ISS where they spend seven hours underwater for every hour they’ll be spacewalking on a mission.
In order for the astronauts to have a true space simulation, they can’t be the only ones with neutral buoyancy – all the assembly components must have neutral buoyancy as well. But how do you make hundreds of pounds of heavy, metal equipment float?
That’s where we come in. Our hydrostatic and pressure-resistant LAST-A-FOAM® R-3300 Submersible Series provides permanent floatation for the assembly components. The foam, which can withstand 300lbs per square inch over a 24-hour period submerged in water, is a perfect fit for this application. It’s resistant to water, gasoline, and oil, and has good adhesive qualities that allow it to be bonded within the construction of the submersible vessel.
While supporting training operations for the ISS is important, the applications don’t stop there. The R-3300 is frequently used for underwater pumps for offshore drilling rigs, to fill in around electronic housing and computer controls, and for underwater robotics to inspect, measure, and maintain submerged components.
While the fact that our submersible foam is resistant to water may seem quite obvious, there are some characteristics that may surprise you:
It’s Machinable, Uniform and Contains no Glass Fillers
We can cut, carve and sculpt the foam. It’s extremely machinable, and has a very smooth surface and fine cell structure, allowing us to fulfill aesthetic needs in addition to performance. The fact that the foam is an engineered product means you’ll get exactly what you expect, every time. Grain and static free, this dimensionally stable product is one you can rely on to perform “under pressure.”
It Has a High Strength to Weight Ratio
There is somewhat of a price/density correlation because you need more material to make a heavier foam. However, we also see a trend in the industry that a lightweight foam with long durability for application use can convey value because the ultimate goal is to lightweight the operation. The lighter the foam is with the necessary buoyancy force, the better it is. Because we can machine our materials to exact specification, we calculate the best value to the customer.
What’s more, our R-3300 series now has four densities and depths (uncoated). They are:
- R-3312 to depths of 300ft
- R-3315 to depths of 700ft
- R-3318 to depths of 800ft
- R-3325 to depths of 1200ft
Do you have underwater applications that could use polyurethane foam? (You don’t have to be an astronaut!) Give us a call and we’ll talk more about how the LAST-A-FOAM Submersible R-3300 could fit your needs.