Variability of ship’s electric signature during the RIMPASSE trial


  1. Birsan, M.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Atlantic Research Centre, Halifax NS (CAN)
invest more in electric signature research to better protect our ships against this increasing threat. For this reason, the RIMPASSE trials were performed to investigate the electric signatures of the research vessels RV Planet and CFAV Quest when measured at various ranges. The trials revealed significant differences between the ranges for both vessels. The electric field beneath the ship is caused by metal corrosion and the related protection system. Both vessels were protected against corrosion by a set of sacrificial anodes. Correlating the signature measurements with the measurements of the shaft current and the hull potential, which also varied from range to range, suggests that a possible cause of signature variability is the precipitation/dissolution of the calcareous deposits on propellers. The formation of calcareous (calcium carbonate) deposits depends on the seawater chemical composition and temperature, the corrosion current density, and ship velocity. In principle, the layer of calcareous deposits has a beneficial role on platforms subjected to corrosion in seawater because it coats the cathodic areas, thus reducing the current. This difference in current has a significant impact on the ship’s electric signature, thus it is important to investigate the water conditions (composition and temperature) that influence the formation of the calcareous layer. Using inorganic carbon chemistry in the seawater, it is possible to predict which of the two processes, precip

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electric signature;corrosion currents;calcareous deposits
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-R272 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Dec 2015
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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