Sea Perch ROVs Teach Students About Naval Engineering

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Naval Carderock Public Affairs

Engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division, a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity, mentored middle and high school students at the Patriots Technology Training Center (PTTC) while they built small remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) July 3.

The students attended a two-week PTTC summer camp on technology which involved constructing ROVs at Kenmoor Middle School in Landover, Md. Students also participated in an ROV competition in the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex (PGSL) swimming pool in Landover.

The event was part of the Sea Perch program, coordinated and facilitated by the Navy's Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD). This program teaches students how to work as a team to build a propulsion system, develop a controller, investigate weight and buoyancy and investigate other naval engineering principles. Sea Perch is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research as part of the National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering in order to encourage students to pursue rewarding careers in science and engineering in general, and naval architecture, marine engineering, naval engineering, and advanced marine design.

By building and testing Sea Perch ROVs, students learned how engineers use mathematics and science to design, build, and test ships, boats and submarines. They worked as teams with the NSWC Carderock Division engineers led by Toby Ratcliffe, naval architect, and Jeanne Robertson, student outreach program manager.

"For many kids," Robertson said, "this is their first time with a long-term project. They were very pleased that they could build and maneuver an underwater vehicle that really worked, and they were able to be part of a team that built their Sea Perch ROV."

After the competition, Carderock Technical Director Randy Reeves spoke to the students about their experience. He hoped they had gained an understanding of the technology behind the construction and operation of ROVs.

"The application of math and physics," Reeves added, "to develop solutions to problems and produce something that makes our lives easier or more enjoyable is engineering. By building, testing and employing these underwater ROVs, you have begun to understand forces, electricity, motors, control systems, buoyancy and structures. These are subjects that engineers deal with everyday."

NAVSEA is committed to being the nation's employer of choice by hiring the best and brightest workers available and keeping these talented individuals engaged in some of the nation's most interesting scientific and engineering work.

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