Supersonic Submarine Could Go From Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 Minutes

Supersonic Submarine Could Go From Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 Minutes 1 photo
Chinese scientists have allegedly found a way to use the technology developed by the Soviet military during the cold war called supercavitation. The recent discovery is reportedly an important step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.
Even though the concept is quite old, a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab claim they’ve found a way to finally use it for a submarine. In just a couple of words, Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team’s innovative approach means they discovered a way to form the “bubble” required to cover the entire craft and lower the water drag.

As opposed to air, water produces a lot more friction or drag, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft. But if the friction cause could be overcome, than basically anything running under water could reach similar speeds as machines do in the air.

According to South China Morning Post, a Soviet supercavitation torpedo called Shakval was able to reach a speed of 370 km/h (229 mph) or more - much faster than any other conventional torpedoes. “In theory, a supercavitating vessel could reach the speed of sound underwater, or about 5,800 km/h (3,603 mph), which would reduce the journey time for a transatlantic underwater cruise to less that an hour, and for a transpacific journey to about 100 minutes,” the source writes.

The two great problems the concept is facing is steering, which won’t be possible through conventional mechanisms, and the speed the submerged vessel needs to be launched at. Li said they have found a way to use a man-made liquid membrane on the vessel surface which could also help with the steering.

However, propulsion still reamins a problem, considering the range of current technology would not be enough to propel the submarine on long distances and with high speed.

Several countries are working on similar projects, but the latest progress remains still unclear because they are regarded as military secrets.
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