COMEX - Hyperbaric Experimental Centre (CEH)

EMS800 of the Hyperbaric Experimental Centre

The Hyperbaric Experimental Centre (CEH) features hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers which can be used for the qualification of equipment, and human intervention methods in hostile environments. The diversity and size of the test facilities available at the CEH will meet the majority of your needs. The centre offers three testing facilities for confinement and pressurization experiments and for the tests of equipment in a Neutral Buoyancy Facility (Pool).

1. EMS 800

The facility consists of 4 chambers (EMS 800) with a total volume of 60 m3. It can host a crew of 6 to 8 subjects. The working pressure can reach 70 to 80 bars (700-800 msw).

2. Hydrosphere

The Hydrosphere consists of 3 chambers with a total volume of 110 m3. The facility is rated for 20 bars and can host a crew of 8 for pressure, confinement and isolation studies. One of the chambers is 5 meters in diameter and the working pressure can reach 30 bars (300 msw).

The bottom chamber can be flooded and is used for diving experiments or equipment and materials testing under temperature conditions that can simulate tropical or arctic waters. The simulator is equipped to perform long duration experiences, for more than one month or high altitude simulation (i.e. EVEREST-COMEX 97 also known as EVEREST III).

3. Neutral Buoyancy Facility (NBF) - Experimental Pool

Microgravity, Lunar or Martian gravity training can be performed in COMEX’ Neutral Buoyancy Pool. The facility was used for the EVA training of the first European astronauts in the frame of the HERMES-COLUMBUS program.

The pool has a size of 25mx23m and a depth of 3m. It features a 10m depth shaft of 5.9m in diameter. Additional services include diver and ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) support. COMEX disposes of wet-suits for EVA training and the necessary engineering staff to develop mock-up models for NBF experiments.

4. Chambers for primates, small mammals and cell models

The CEH features a cellular biology laboratory especially designed for the study of the effects of pressure (hyperbaric and hypobaric) and gases (oxygen, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen) on cell culture models. This laboratory is equipped with a fully automated hypo/hyperbaric bio-incubator for hydrogen tests (see Figure 5). On-going studies on hydrogen as an anti-inflammatory therapy and in the treatment of cancers are opening up new prospects for its application in medical science.

The laboratory features one chamber for primates that can be pressurized up to 120 bar with a volume of 3m3, a chamber for small mammals for pressures up to 200 bar and a volume of 50 litres and a chamber for cells cultures that can reach pressures up to 140 bar and that has a capacity of 22.4 litres.

5. Hydrostatic test chamber CE4000

The 400bar rated chamber was originally developed for testing submersible hulls, but it can be used to analyse any other equipment or material. The hull disposes of penetrators to provide telemetry and control links (electric, hydraulic and pneumatic) inside the chamber. The facility has an internal diameter of 2.5m, a volume of 8m3 and is rated for 40MPa (compression rate 0.3MPa/h). The temperature range is -2°C to +30°C.

Mode of operation

Please contact the CEH at the address below to set up an experiment protocol with our staff. Access can be granted to research institutes, agencies and industrial entities on a very flexible basis.

Contact person/address

Dr. Peter WEISS

36 Bvd des Oceans
13009 Marseille
Tel.: +33(0)4 91 29 75 36
Fax.: +33(0)4 91 29 75 07
Mob.: +33(0)7 86 28 15 45
E-Mail :

Last update: 11 October 2011

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