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This paper elaborates the design and development of a multilayered vibration isolation baffle used with underwater sensor systems. The protection of underwater acoustic sensors, especially those fitted on ships and submarines, from structural vibrations from own body is of paramount importance in improving the performance of the sensors. The details of the design of a composite baffle having multilayered structure comprising fiber reinforced composites and damping/nondamping rubbers have been described in detail. Two rubber layers based on nitrile and polychloroprene rubbers were prepared and characterized using dynamic mechanical analysis. The master curves indicate the damping nature of NBR in the frequency range of interest. Prototype baffles were fabricated based on the design and tested for vibration transmissibility and acceleration sensitivity. The results show large changes in the transmissibility due to variation in the layer composition and a tremendous improvement in the isolation capabilities of the composite baffle over a metal baffle to the order of 18-20 times isolation improvement and nearly 20 dB damping at resonance. The presence of baffle improves the performance of sensors by 20 dB as seen in acceleration sensitivity studies. Overall, the new specialty baffle may improve the performance and efficiency of sensors in an array by manifold. The use of multilayered composite baffles is expected to improve the performance of the sensors thereby enhancing the ranging and target detection capability of the sensor systems.
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