SoMAS VDB-1 Vortex Debubbler



The SoMAS vortex debubbler is designed to remove nuisance air bubbles from an input seawater stream before sending the water to bubble-sensitive instruments (e.g. salinometers, fluorometers). The main part of the device is a vertical cylinder. Seawater is injected tangentially into this cylinder causing the water inside to spin rapidly. Centripetal acceleration causes bubbles to migrate to the center axis, where they are drawn off at top center. Cleared output water is drawn off at the bottom periphery.

The history of the SoMAS Vortex Debubbler was presented at the 2006 INMARTECH Symposium at WHOI by Thomas C. Wilson, Jr. (PDF)


Construction: All internal surfaces are corrosion proof nylon, ABS, UHMW polyethylene, PVC, and BUNA-n elastomer. External hardware is stainless steel.

Connections: Plumbed connections are PVC plastic ball valves with female NPT threaded ends. Male NPT barb hose adapters are provided to allow an alternate connection option.

  • Input: for input of process seawater.
  • Waste exhaust: for output of bubbles and approximately 25% of seawater.
  • Output: for output of bubble-free seawater.

Controls: Ball valves at input, waste, and output.

Chamber pressure: Units have been tested at SoMAS with our commercial potable water supply at 40 PSIG for 30 minutes. Ultimate (destructive) pressure testing of this design has not been done. Subjecting the unit to pressures above 30 PSIG is therefore not recommended.

Two standard sizes are available:

  • 3 inch diameter, internal volume approximately 1 liter. Suggested flow rate 18 to 24 liters per minute (4.75 – 6.35 gallons/min). Recommended for larger instruments such as the Seabird SBE21 Seacat thermosalinograph. Connections ¾ inch NPT female thread, ¾ inch hose barb fitting adapters provided.
  • 2 inch diameter, internal volume approximately 0.5 liter. Suggested flow rate 9 to 12 liters per minute (2.4 – 3.2 gallons/min). Recommended for smaller instruments such as the Seabird 45 thermosalinograph or Turner fluorometer. Connections ½ inch NPT female thread, ½ inch hose barb fitting adapters provided.
  • Custom units can be made in other sizes. Please inquire regarding pricing and delivery.

Output flow rate: 75% of input flow.

Waste flow rate: 25% of input flow.


Prices and specifications are subject to change without notice.


Instrument Laboratory
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook NY 11794-5000 USA
Tel: 631-632-8706 fax: 631-632-3124
FEIN: 14-6013200

Item specification:

SoMAS Vortex Debubbler, Model VDB-1.

Please specify size:

3 inch diameter.

2 inch diameter.

Contact Tom Wilson for the price of either size standard unit.

Custom units can be made in other sizes. Please inquire regarding pricing and delivery.

Sales terms:

FOB: Stony Brook NY. Vendor can prepay and add shipping charges.

Payment terms: Purchase orders accepted, terms net 30 days. Credit cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Delivery: Normal quoted delivery is 20-45 days ARO. We generally build equipment to order, but do try to keep a small stock on hand. If there is a logistically urgent situation we can attempt to do a rush order, but delivery will depend in part on our ability to obtain parts from suppliers. Warranty: Hardware is warranted to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of one year. Software and firmware are provided “as is”. Within one year of initial delivery, SoMAS will repair or replace at its option hardware found to be defective in materials or workmanship. Buyer must return items to SoMAS for warranty service at buyer’s expense. After repair, SoMAS will return items to buyer at SoMAS’s expense. Under no circumstances will incidental and consequential damages be covered. This warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, misuse or failure to properly maintain the equipment. Damage caused by seawater flooding is specifically excluded unless it can be positively shown that a defect in materials or workmanship caused the seawater leak.

Above and Below: REVISION H Bottom plate can be removed by hand for easier cleaning.  Retrofit available for many earlier units.

INSTALLATION ON M/V P.T.BARNUM SoundScience project an instrumented ferry crossing Long Island Sound

Above: Installation of a Vortex Debubbler on M/V P.T. Barnum for the SoundScience project, an instrumented ferry crossing Long Island Sound.

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