China is busy in coming up with a super-sonic submarine that will be able to reach San Francisco from Shanghai in under two hours. According to the researchers that are working on this ambitious project, the craft will make use of a radical new technique in order to generate a ‘bubble’ around itself that will reduce drag drastically.
Theoretically speaking, a super-cavitation vessel is able to achieve the speed of sound while being submerged (that amounts to about 5,800 Km/hr). This research is being carried out by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab.
Professor of Fluid Machinery and Engineering, Li Fengchen says that he is ‘very excited by its potential’. The submarine is basically inspired from a Soviet technology that was developed during the Cold War era. Soviet made a super-cavitation torpedo known as Shakval that could reach speeds of 370Km/hr or more upon being fired.
The system in question, in simple words, constantly ‘showers’ a particular special liquid membrane on its surface thus creating a ‘bubble’ that reduces drag. The submarine goes to the supercavitation state upon reaching a speed of 75Km/hr. However, Li has admitted that a number of challenges need to be overcome before this submarine travelling can become feasible. For instance; a powerful rocket engine for the underwater craft still has to be developed.
Li also said; ‘If a swimsuit can create and hold many tiny bubbles in water, it can significantly reduce the water drag; swimming in water could be as effortless as flying in the sky.’ Check out the youtube video below for more: