A floating apparatus denoted a temperature probe aquatic suspension system (TPASS) has been developed for measuring the temperature of an ocean, lake, or other natural body of water at predetermined depths. These types of measurements are used in computer models to relate remotely sensed water-surface temperature to bulk- water temperature. Prior instruments built for the same purpose were found to give inaccurate readings because the apparatuses themselves significantly affected the temperatures of the water in their vicinities. The design of the TPASS is intended to satisfy a requirement to minimize the perturbation of the temperatures to be measured.

This Temperature-Probe Assembly floats on a body of water. The metal sleeve at the middle hangs down into the water. Temperature probes are mounted inside the sleeve for measuring temperatures at several different depths.
The TPASS (see figure) includes a square-cross- section aluminum rod 28 in. (≈71 cm) long with floats attached at both ends. Each float includes five polystyrene foam disks about 3/4 in. (≈1.9 cm) thick and 2.5 in. (≈6.4 cm) in diameter. The disks are stacked to form cylinders, bolted to the rod, and covered with hollow plastic sleeves. A metal sleeve is clamped to the middle of the aluminum rod, from whence it hangs down into the water. Temperature probes (which can be thermocouples, thermistors, or resistance temperature devices) are placed within the sleeve at the desired measurement depths. Wires from the temperature probes are routed to the input terminals of a data logger.

This work was done by Randy Stewart of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Clyde Ruffin of GB Tech, Inc., for Stennis Space Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Physical Sciences category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to the Intellectual Property Manager, Stennis Space Center; (228) 688-1929. Refer to SSC-00136.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2003 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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