Key work finished on Chinese submersible to carry humans to greater depths

Exit and observation window installed on titanium personnel sphere, state media reports

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 November, 2017, 7:42pm

The exit and observation window have been completed on a titanium sphere – a key part of a submersible being built by a Chinese state-owned company to carry humans to 10,000 metres below sea level.

They involved some of the most important and demanding procedures that will go into building the personnel sphere, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday. The manned submersible is expected to undergo its first deep-sea trial in 2020.

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The sphere – which is where those on a mission would spend most of their time – is expected to be the most advanced in the world, with the greatest diving depth, according to the report.

Officials from manufacturer Baoji Titanium Industry, which is developing the submersible in northwestern Shaanxi province, said it was the first time titanium had been used to make a personnel sphere for a submersible.

The metal was more flexible, so offered better protection against the massive pressure at the bottom of the sea, Wang Dingchun, the company’s deputy general manager, told the broadcaster.

The company could also make titanium alloy that is “almost corrosion-free”, he said.

The sphere is being made in two halves that will be welded together with just one seam to make it more solid. Traditionally there are more pieces involved.

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A test dive of the submersible is to be conducted in the Mariana Trench – which is thought to be the deepest part of the world’s oceans – in three years.

China has previously built two submersibles that dived to 4,500 metres and 7,000 metres below sea level.

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