A need exists for a device that autonomously prevents kayaks from capsizing. Sustaining an upright position, while maintaining its natural handling characteristics, requires an active system which senses the kayak degree-of-heel and produces a righting moment when necessary. Through buoyancy simulation utilizing Solid Works, a full characterization of kayak system stability determines the degrees-of-heel at which corrective moments are applied to the system and the magnitudes of the moments. The active design is composed of three major systems. First, the mechanical system mounts two buoyant features in a way that does not interfere with the kayak trim or movements. The buoyant features alone, without any powered righting mechanism, raise the kayak system to 90 degrees above the capsized position to a point at which the kayaker can breathe. When powered by the CO2 system, the buoyant features actively return the kayak to a full upright position. The critical angles at which the CO2 system extends the buoyant features are sensed via an inclinometer. Optical interrupt sensors, placed around a circular piece of tubing, detect a passing bubble, indicating when the kayak is tilted into the critical degree-of-heel ranges. Eight AA batteries provide needed power for the inclinometer circuit and solenoid valves. 500+ system actuations are possible via a 20 oz compressed CO2 tank. Aside from turning the system on, the kayaker is free from any interaction with the device, unlike all current, kayaker-dependent, devices on the market.
self-righting device, kayak
Northeastern University, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Averrie, Paul A.; Constantineau, Cole; Marini, Matt; and Mullins, Tom, "Self-Righting Kayak Design" (2007). Capstone Design Program: Mechanical Engineering. Paper 93. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10011717
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