Sunday, February 15, 2015

UPDATE on the Tear-Drop Submarine Hull from 1864


Eight years ago introduced our M.E. readers to the amazing discovery of The Sub Marine Explorer, in a Tear-Drop Submarine Hull Dates to 1864.   A recent article about the Explorer (photo) has the tear drop hull design of post-WWII German, Russian and U.S. submarines like the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) says [emphasis mine]:

"For the first time, a comprehensive sense of how the submarine was built, how it operated, and the incredible level of sophistication inherent in Julius  Kroehl’s forgotten craft was apparent."


Among other innovations, Sub Marine Explorer (photo above) had the tear drop hull design of USS Albacore (1953).  The USS Albacore (AGSS-569) pioneered the American version of the teardrop hull (sometimes referred to as an "Albacore hull") of modern submarines that was derived from extensive hydrodynamic and wind tunnel testing. Well, how did inventor Julius Kroehl arrive at the ideal shape almost a century earlier?


Interested readers are urged to digest the full INA article (linked above). Of particular interest are revelations of some sophisticated Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute studies conducted by Dr. Erich Horgan, Mike Purcell and Greg Packard.

While calling the pearl-diver Explorer a glorified diving bell, some of its detractors are quick to describe the confederate sub (Hunley) as high tech for its time, when actually, it was only a crude device used in a visionary manner by some very courageous volunteers.  While the Explorer's hull may now be beyond economical restoration, the INA article reports that, "technology and characteristics of a rare, surviving example of Civil War-era nautical technology have been preserved through the detailed plans prepared as part of this project".

Hat tip to reader Bear Nyhof for requesting this update.

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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