Re: ode to Popular Mechanics

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 11:19:21 MST

KPJ wrote:
> It appears as if Michael Lorrey <> wrote:
> |
> |> passenger and cargo submarines that go fast and save fuel because they are
> |> under the surface turbulence.
> |
> |Sorry, the excessive surface area of subs versus ships precludes fuel
> |savings. Surface ships will always go faster for a given amount of fuel.
> I understand there exists an effect possible for submarines, one which creates
> a gaseous volume around the submarine, and insulates the submarine surface
> from water with a thin layer of a gas (air? water vapour?), thus allowing for
> much higher speeds when submerged - even rivalling surface ship speeds. Since
> this miltech apparently belongs to the cutting edge, I have found very few
> refs to it in the on- and offline literature.

This is highly inefficient for cargo purposes, it does allow speeds of
250 knots+, but requires thrust only rockets can provide. The method is
used by a new torpedo the Russians have (which is now thought to be the
cause of the Kursk disaster). It has a nose cone that forces the water
away from the torpedo at such velocity that it generates a cavitation
bubble for all of the torpedo aft of the nose cone. The thrust of the
rocket engine is required to keep the torpedo going fast enough to
maintain the cavitation speed.

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