Development of a multibottle gas-tight fluid sampler WHATS II for Japanese submersibles/ROVs


Urumu Tsunogai, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, N10 W8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 0600810, Japan.
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This paper summarizes the design and performance of our recently developed gas-tight fluid sampler WHATS II, especially designed to collect seafloor venting gas-rich fluid from submersibles/remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). It consists of four 150-cm3 stainless steel sample cylinders, eight ball valves, a motor-driven arm, a rail, a peristaltic pump, a control unit, and a flexible Teflon tube connected to a titanium inlet tube. All the parts have been designed to be used at undersea as deep as 4000 m. The motor-driven arm on the rail can open and close each of the four cylinders. By pumping out distilled water that has filled an open cylinder and the dead spaces of the sampler, we can fill the cylinder with sample fluid. WHATS II can take a maximum of four different gas-tight samples in a series. The whole operation can be arranged from the cabin, etc., of a submersible/ROV. Use of only one motor to operate eight valves makes the sampler small, light (21 kg in sea water), and easy to handle. In addition, the sampler is able to collect an almost uncontaminated gas-tight sample from the seafloor. To date, the sampler has been used in more than 90 dive surveys by Japanese submersibles/ROVs, including Shinkai 2000, Shinkai 6500, and Hyper Dolphin, with a success rate of >90%.