Rosemount Analytical continues to assist preservation of Civil War sub
North Irvine, Calif. - In 1864, the H.L. Hunley, a Civil War submarine and the first ship capable of maneuvering completely underwater, sank off the coast of South Carolina, while returning from its first mission. Now, after over 135 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, one of the most sought-after artifacts in the history of naval warfare has been raised, and is being restored.
North Irvine, Calif. - In 1864, the H.L. Hunley , a Civil War submarine and the first ship capable of maneuvering completely underwater, sank off the coast of South Carolina, while returning from its first mission. Now, after over 135 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, one of the most sought-after artifacts in the history of naval warfare has been raised, and is being restored.
The Rosemount Analytical division of Emerson Process Management (Austin. Tex.) has been is assisting this monumental undertaking. The ruggedness and reliability of the firm's products, combined with Rosemount's analytical expertise, resulted in its being selected to provide sensors and analyzers for the restoration and preservation of the H.L. Hunley. Phase one of the restoration project was recently completed, and phase two is expected to begin in January 2002.
After the delicate wooden submersible was raised and moved from the sea, Rosemount Analytical devices began to be used during the preservation process to monitor the Hunley's conductivity, pH/ORP (oxidation reduction potential), and dissolved oxygen levels. The first phase of the restoration project included the raising the sub, and the excavation of artifacts and the remains of the crewmen.
The sub has now been kept for approximately 15 months in a large tank of water, which is being monitored with Rosemount Analytical instruments. During phase two, the chloride-removal process will begin, which will prevent the sub from corroding, rusting or deteriorating. One step in that process involves immersing the sub in a large tank filled with an electrolyte solution of water and sodium hydroxide, which will draw the chlorides out of the metal.
During this restoration project, the analyzers continue to be used to monitor pH/ORP, conductivity and dissolved oxygen in the sub's storage tank. 'Rosemount's equipment allow us to reliably monitor the electrolyte solution, which is critical to the success of the Hunley restoration,' says Dr. Robert Neyland, Hunley project director and underwater archaeologist from the Naval Historical Center. 'Without this sensor data, it would be impossible for us to maintain a proper environment for the chloride removal.'
Davis and Floyd and C.R. Hipp Construction Co., a division of Encompass Services Corp., in conjunction with the Friends of the Hunley Inc., awarded the instrumentation contract to Rosemount based on the durability of its sensors and analyzers. Rosemount sensors supplied for the Hunley project are housed in ruggedized cowlings to prevent damage to the electrodes. 'The reliability and rugged design of the Rosemount sensors are critical to the project,' says Al Hitchcock, C.R. Hipp's president. 'This durability makes them well-suited for this type of critical operating environment.'
Built for the Confederate Navy in 1863, the H.L. Hunley was plagued with disaster. The sub sank twice during testing with all hands onboard, and then sank a third and final time as it was returning from its first mission. The Hunley was re-discovered in 1995.
Friends of the Hunley raised the sub on August 8, 2000, and in an extensive effort, is preserving the relic; honoring the crewmen aboard the ill-fated vessel with a proper burial; and restoring the sub in preparation for display at the Charleston Museum.