Mechanical Engineering


Math; Sustainability; Environmental Engineering


Bahram Nassersharif

Advisor Department

International Engineering




Raytheon; Underwater Vehicle; Ballasting System; Mechanical Engineering

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.


NOURA RAYES (Mechanical Engineering); Ballasting System for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Sponsor: Bahram Nassersharif (Mechanical Engineering)

Over the last year, our Mechanical Engineering Capstone team, Nautilus, has been working to design a ballasting system for various Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) sponsored by Raytheon Technologies. Common AUV systems are used for a wide range of applications from environmental monitoring, oceanic exploration, to data collection. AUVs also have many technical advantages that make underwater tasks more efficient, cost-effective, and generally safer. Raytheon Technology, specifically, is looking to improve their existing ballasting mechanism for their AUVs to use for military defense. For this project, Raytheon Technology has set a standard for this design to improve upon current space, weight, and power efficiencies. The end goal of this design is to create a modular ballasting system, to meet the specific requirements set by Raytheon, to be designed for a Type B AUV. Ballasting systems are known to drive the vertical motion of AUV systems based on density control. To control the desired depth of such devices, ballast is used to create negative, neutral, or positive buoyancy based on Archimedes Principle. Predominantly, the vehicle should be able to remove .6lbs of water and reach a depth of 14ft, having a variable ballasting time no longer than 10 minutes and a mission length of at least 30 minutes. A syringe-type ballast system design was established to meet the desired criteria. After the team’s proof of concept, the design was evaluated for improvement. Currently, the system has been made to utilize two linear actuators, to act as the devices trim tanks, that each have feedback control. The feedback on this design is necessary to precisely regulate the density of the vehicle. Composing this project includes methods of sketching, mechatronics control, machining, CAD modeling, 3D printing, waterproof testing, and teamwork collaboration.