Shanghai To San Francisco In Under 2 Hours Via Submarine?

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Shanghai To San Francisco In Under 2 Hours Via Submarine?

Researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology, in northeast China, have been looking into the same technology that allowed the Russian Shakval torpedo to reach speeds of around 230 m.p.h. Through supercavitation, the process of enveloping a submerged vehicle in an air bubble to minimize friction, a submarine could, in theory, travel at the speed of sound (3,603 m.p.h.).

Supercavitation possibilities

The problem with supercavitation is maneuverability or just being able to steer the submerged vessel. However, the team from Harbin is claiming that they have solved this problem by having found a way for the vessel to shower itself with liquid while traveling inside the created air bubble. This would create a membrane on the surface of the submerged vessel that could, in theory, be manipulated in order to steer it.

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“We are very excited by its potential,” said Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering at the Harbin Institute’s complex flow and heat transfer lab. “By combining liquid-membrane technology with supercavitation, we can significantly reduce the launch challenges and make cruising control easier,” he told the South China Morning Post.

Supersonic submarine: Not going to happen

Li does point out that this is a long ways to becoming a reality. A criticism that is mild compared to other doubters.

“The idea that any Chinese research association would talk about its best ideas is ludicrous beyond words,” says physicist and naval weapons expert Norman Friedman, of the U.S. Naval Institute. “They simply don’t go public with this kind of project, though they do sometimes show off things that don’t exist.”

At the end of the day, this sub isn’t going to happen any day soon. Even by manipulating the membrane in order to steer, it’s simply too risky. If at any point that the ship breached the air bubble created by supercavitation due to the efforts to steer it, it would immediately snap off at the speed suggested due to the difference in density. And that’s just not much fun when traveling underwater at around 3,700 m.p.h.

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.
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