Sunday, October 28, 2007

What Do Automobiles and Submarines Have in Common?

Consider the average speeds of automobiles and submarines. Admittedly, the ordinary cruising speed for both is in the double digits even if ranges do differ somewhat. In autombiles drivers can see where they are going over 99% of the time, while in modern submarines the inverse probably applies (drivers may see where they are headed less than 1% of the time).

Now a new steel is available to improve automotive safety. Weight matters in auto fuel economy, but safety has become a primary requirement of personal transportation. In submarines, mission completion is a primary requirement with weight and fuel economy hardly considerations at all.

Submarine accidents can have significant, negative impacts on both mission completion and availability for more missions. Can TWIP steel be applied to improving submarine safety (i.e. reducing collision injury and damage)? Could bow sections be latticed with this material without impairing critical factors such as sonar performance and anechoic characteristics? One would hope, since air bags are not a viable option on subs.
The crude concept shown applied to USS Texas's (SSN-775) hull would cause potential fouling as well as sonar detection, so please chalk it up to my wish for all you guys who serve to have only fair winds.



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