Red Hot Titantium Sphere

Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution.  Workers at Ladish Forging drove a press onto hot
titanium, transforming it into a cup, part of the personnel sphere for
the submersible.

In case you missed it the first time Kevin mentioned, the NY Times has a fantastic writeup about the casting of the sphere for the new Alvin

“Amazing,” Tom Furman, a senior engineer at Ladish Forging, said after
a big press bore down on an 11-foot disk of hot metal, making the
delicate manipulation look as easy as rearranging a gargantuan pat of
butter…The objective of the metalworking company was to transform two giant
disks of titanium — stronger and lighter than steel, and perfect for
withstanding the vast pressures of the deep — into twin hemispheres. If
forged successfully, the cuplike hemispheres would be welded together
to form the beginnings of the personnel sphere, initiating the
vehicle’s birth.

of sphere is only one of the three hurdles.  The second is producing a
foam back hard enough to resist pressure but light enough for
buoyancy.  The third creating batteries exceptionally sturdy, strong,
and long lasting.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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