All stationary and autonomous instrumentation for observational activities in ocean research have two significant things in common. Firstly, they require pressure-resistant housings and secondly, they need buoyancy to bring instruments safely back to the surface.
The use of VITROVEX instrument housings made of glass is naturally attractive for meeting both these requirements as they offer the dual advantage of buoyancy and pressure proof enclosure - a perfect combination for small and autonomous underwater instrumentation packages.

VITROVEX instrument housings are available in either spherical or cylindrical shape; each with different sizes and pressure ratings up to full ocean depth.
Nautilus Marine Service complements its VITROVEX glass enclosures by a broad range of services and accessories to support customization of instrument housings.

As of March 25th, 2019 the customs tariff no. for all Vitrovex pressure housings has been set to 9015 9000.

Please follow below for details of each individual model series, related services and accessories.

Delivery program


more about Spheres


more about Tubes


more about Accessories

VITROVEX instrument spheres

VITROVEX instrument spheres are composed of two mated hemispheres that are evacuated and locked into position by a sealant and a protective tape. Once the spheres are sealed, the two hemispheres are kept together by the atmospheric pressure on land and the pressure of the water column when deployed. Instrument housings usually incorporate a vacuum port to facilitate repeated sealing and unsealing actions.

Parting plane sealing faces and ground flats around drill holes are honed to a precise flatness and finish by means of a triple grinding process including milling with diamond tool, manual smoothing and polishing where appropriate.

Precision moulding of the highest quality glass, skilled craftsmanship and strict quality control ensures that VITROVEX spheres show very little deviation in shape even under high pressure. VITROVEX spheres are to a very large degree free of imperfections, and hemispheres of the same outside diameter and wall thickness are completely interchangeable, individually replaceable and require no special alignment during assembly.


20" instrument spheres

17" instrument spheres

13" instrument spheres

10" instrument spheres

7,5" instrument spheres

4,5" instrument spheres

3" instrument spheres

VITROVEX® Cylindrical Instrument Housings

Nautilus Marine Service can also offer cylindrical pressure housings in addition to spheres.

These housings give a great freedom of design and should therefore be customized upon consultation with Nautilus Marine Service or its representatives.

Just to mention a few, cylindrical Instrument Housings can be simply supplied with corresponding end caps on both ends, with one end cap and the other one closed, with flanges one both ends to attach end caps or with flanges in the middle to extend the length of the cylindrical part.

Cylindrical Instrument Housings can be made of borosilicate glass or fused silica and for some of the housings we supply end caps made of optical grade glass or metall.

For flanges or metal end caps we recommend the usage of titanium due to its similar thermal expansion coefficient.






Accessories and Services

Nautilus Marine Service offers a broad range of services and accessories to support customization of instrument spheres.

VITROVEX glass spheres can be provided with mounted flanges made of titanium, stainless steel and plastic as an alternative solution to open and close spheres as easy as accustomed non-glass enclosures.

Supplementary to vacuum port, VITROVEX instrument spheres can be provided with a variety of drill holes and corresponding ground flat to accommodate bulkhead connectors, feedthroughs, etc. for connection to electronics and batteries inside, or releases, sensors or other packages on the outside (see downloads drill hole specification form)
VITROVEX bulkhead adaptors offer an additional approach to realize through-wall connections. They are available for circular and low profile connectors and provide greater flexibility for the use of glass enclosures since additional interfaces could be attached proactively and sealed with blanking plugs.

For protection, storage, and ease of handling LDPE (low-density polyethylene) protective shells are available as well as mounting framework with swivelling sphere fixings, rope, thimbles and shackles (EDDYGRIP system).

High-quality VITROVEX glass can also be polished to even enhance optical properties for high-resolution digital camera/video applications.

Please check out the individual parts below for more details.




Adaptor plates


Filler plugs

Bulkhead adaptors

Vacuum ports

Protective shells

Mounting framework

Lifting aids

Sealing tape

Protective tape

Mounting rings

Drill holes

Installation of Hydrophone/Transducer

Installation of bulkhead connector

Pressure test


Polyurethane coating

Paint coating

Optical enhancement

Shell modification