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1. WO2021041926 - CHANGEMENT D'ÉLÉVATION BASÉ SUR LA COMBINAISON D'UN LIQUIDE AVEC UN SUBSTRAT

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

CLAIM OR CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A method of varying buoyancy, comprising:

providing a substrate within an apparatus surrounded by fluid, the substrate configured to produce gas on demand when exposed to a liquid, the substrate initially not exposed to the liquid;

exposing the substrate to the liquid, the substrate thereby producing gas; and

capturing the gas produced by the substrate to increase buoyancy of the apparatus within the fluid.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein, prior to exposing the substrate to the liquid, the apparatus contains a volume of fluid, and wherein the method further comprises displacing at least some of the volume of fluid within the apparatus when capturing the gas.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising:

generating power using the gas produced by the substrate; and operating the apparatus using the generated power.

4. The method of claim 3, further comprising conducting at least a portion of the gas to a balloon, such that the balloon becomes inflated with the gas.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the balloon is coupled to an antenna, and wherein the method further comprises deploying the balloon on a tether that connects the balloon to the apparatus, enabling the apparatus to send and/or receive wireless communication signals via the antenna.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising powering the apparatus to send and/or receive the wireless communication signals using the power generated from the gas produced by the substrate.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein exposing the substrate to the liquid causes a passive, unpowered hydrolysis reaction that releases hydrogen gas without requiring an application of electrical power.

8. The method of claim 7,

wherein the substrate is composed at least partially of aluminum; wherein the liquid is composed at least partially of water, and wherein exposing the aluminum to the water causes the passive, unpowered hydrolysis reaction spontaneously to occur.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the liquid and the fluid both contain water.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein exposing the substrate to the liquid includes at least one of (i) metering an amount of the substrate exposed to the liquid and (ii) metering an amount of the liquid exposed to the substrate.

12. An apparatus for use within a fluid, comprising:

a substrate configured to produce gas on demand when exposed to a liquid;

a mixing assembly configured to controllably expose the substrate to the liquid; and

a container in communication with the mixing assembly and configured to capture gas produced by the substrate in response to exposure of the substrate to the liquid, the gas captured by the container effecting an increase in buoyancy of the apparatus within the fluid.

13. The apparatus of claim 12,

wherein the liquid is composed at least partially of water; wherein the substrate is composed at least partially of galvanic aluminum, and

wherein the substrate, when exposed to water, is configured to undergo a passive, unpowered hydrolysis reaction that releases hydrogen gas.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a fuel cell configured to convert hydrogen gas produced by the unpowered hydrolysis reaction into electrical power.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, further comprising an antenna coupled to communication circuitry powered at least in part by the fuel cell, the antenna attached to a deployable balloon configured to inflate with gas produced by the substrate and to deploy from the apparatus to enable wireless communications.

16. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising multiple sealed compartments that contain respective portions of the substrate, the compartments having respective covers that are individually controllable to open on command.

17. A method of changing elevation of at least a portion of an apparatus, the method comprising:

executing a pre-programmed change elevation command and/or receiving, from remote equipment that is located remotely from the apparatus, a change elevation command to change elevation of a container of the apparatus while the container resides at a first elevation;

in response to the change elevation command, performing a mixing operation that mixes a liquid with a gas-generating substrate to generate gas; and

inputting the generated gas into the container to change elevation of the container from the first elevation to a second elevation that is different from the first elevation.

18. An apparatus, comprising:

a container;

control circuitry constructed and arranged to execute a pre programmed change elevation command and/or receive, from remote equipment that is located remotely from the apparatus, a change elevation command to change elevation of the container while the container resides at a first elevation, and to provide a mixing signal in response to the change elevation command; and

a mixing assembly coupled with the container and the control circuity, the mixing assembly being constructed and arranged to perform, in response to the mixing signal from the control circuitry, a mixing operation that mixes a liquid with a gas -generating substrate to generate gas and to input the generated gas into the container to change elevation of the container from the first elevation to a second elevation that is different from the first elevation.

19. An apparatus as in claim 18 wherein the mixing assembly includes:

a substrate holder constructed and arranged to hold a set of substrate segments, each substrate segment including a predefined amount of the gas-generating substrate, and

a mixer coupled with the substrate holder, the mixer being constructed and arranged to supply, in response to the mixing signal, the liquid from a liquid source to a particular number of substrate segments of the set of substrate segments while the set of substrate segments is held by the holder.

20. An apparatus as in claim 19 wherein the liquid includes a water-based solution and wherein the gas-generating substrate includes an aluminum-based material that produces hydrogen gas when mixed with the water-based solution.