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Underwater connectors are very essential and complex components of deep-sea engineering equipment and their design and manufacture have apparent multidisciplinary characteristics. Wet-mateable connectors (WMCs) represent the highest level of technology in this field, and only a very few countries in the world can produce WMCs. So, WMCs are likely to be a constraining factor to some maritime powers that might try to achieve breakthroughs in this field, constraining the innovation-driven development of deep-sea equipment.
2. Background and Functional Units
2.1. Characteristics, Classfication and Terminologies
2.3. Main Available COTS Connectors
|Brands||Products||Pressure Rates||Contact Resistance||Insulation Resistance||Insertion Loss||Return Loss||Technologies|
|TE’s SEACON||HydraElectric||4000 m||0.005 Ω||20 GΩ||-||-||PBOF and Shuttle Pin|
|HydraLight||7000 m||-||-||0.5 dB||50 dB||UPC and APC|
|All-Wet||13,700 m||0.001 Ω||500 MΩ||-||-||-|
|MacArtney||SubConn® Circular||11,000 m||0.01 Ω||200 MΩ||-||-||-|
|OptoLink||6000 m||-||-||2.5 dB||28 dB||Expanded-Beam|
|Teledyne ODI||NautilusTM||6400 m||0.01 Ω||10 GΩ||-||-||PBOF and Shuttle Pin|
|APC-RSH||-||-||0.5 dB||45 dB||APC and Rolling Seal|
|NRH||0.01 Ω||10 GΩ||0.5 dB||45 dB||Hybrid Connector|
2.4. Functional Units
Connecting Unit provides the reliable and stable transmission of electricity or optical signal (or both) between plug and receptacle connectors with the desired specifications, when underwater connectors are in the mating state. The connecting unit is the primary functional unit, whose design is demanded not only to guarantee the stability and security of connections but also to reduce power loss on contact interfaces as much as possible.
Sealing Unit can provide enough water sealing performance for the underwater connectors. The sealing unit could be the most important functional unit, which should maintain a clean, stable and safe environment to the connecting unit. The sealing unit should prevent seawater, sediment, grit and any other contaminants from entering the interior of connectors, and prevent the oil leakage of PBOF connectors as well.
Pressure-Balanced (or Pressure-Compensated) Unit can produce an internal pressure to balance the ambient pressure automatically, reduce or even eliminate the differential pressure between the internal and the external of underwater connectors. An excellent pressure-balanced unit should have good reliability and sensitivity.
Aligning Unit aligns the electrical and optical connection to improve the quality of connection by its mechanical structure. It is an important functional unit to realize low power loss of underwater connectors, especially for optical connectors.
Locking Unit locks plug and receptacle connectors to improve reliability, stability and quality of connection after mating. The locking unit should be flexible to mate or de-mate the connectors.
The entry is from 10.3390/jmse9080813
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