Naval Architecture

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  • Topic: Buoyancy, Metacentric height, Royal Navy
  • Pages : 7 (2526 words )
  • Download(s) : 679
  • Published : September 6, 2007
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Brittany Wyman
Many have said naval architecture is a black, it's all trial and error. Trial and error is how the many ships of today were made. Back in Viking times, they had no idea why their boats would float, but they did. They also had no idea that the ships of today even have a basic shape of them. Naval architecture is no longer a black art, it's all math and science, everything works because of the basic principles of naval architecture and physics, but if it was for the trial are error of past ship makers the simple principles of naval architecture would not exists. Even though Viking ships do not have a big part in the United States history, they are the beginning of big ships; therefore it is necessary to start with them. Vikings sailed the world in about 1000 A.D., they were very mysterious people and for them it was very difficult to go far distances, except for sailing, moving around on land was difficult because of the thick forest. The Vikings ended up making different types of ships, warships, trade ships, and freight ships. The ships were long and narrow and very close to the water. During this time the Vikings used trial and error they would sculpt and build the ships out of wood, and then see if it would float. The average sizes of the ships were 30 meters long, and 3.8 meters wide. Today, it is known that it can only float in at least .9 meters of water. This is because of buoyancy force, the amount of water the ship displaces and the amount of water under the boat causing and upward force. Buoyant force was realized by Archimedes (287-212 BC), he had to make a crown for the king out of pure gold, but he did not know how to tell if it was pure gold of not, so he went to go take a bath. During his bath he realized that he felt lighter and was being held up by water, this made him realize buoyant force, and how to check if gold was really gold. Even though Archimedes figured this out over 1000 years before the Vikings there was still no real mathematical way besides Archimedes formula to figure it out compared to a ship, also they were in two different parts of the world, therefore there was no way for communication, the Vikings didn't even know Archimedes existed. (www.vikingdenmark.com, ntl.bts.gov, hypertextbook.com) In 1450 three and four mast ships were being used. The pilgrims used these types of ships to run away from the king to what is now America. The ships pilgrims used were Caravels, they had two decks and designed to sail in the wind, so if there wasn't much wind they weren't going very far. The there masts were used in these ships because they caught more wind and could move quicker than the one mast ships the Vikings used. The basic shape of the three and four mast ships were very similar to the shape of a Viking ship. The Viking ship, or the idea of a Viking ship influenced these ships these ships but through trail and error they realized the Viking ships went much too slow therefore over time they realized that more masts and sails were needed, but to be careful of the displacement of water under the ship or it will not float. Meaning if the ship is too heavy for it's width and it's sinking, make it wider and it will no longer sink. In the 1800's "clipper ships" were first built. These ships were narrower and had very tall masts. This made them faster. The ships did not sink because they realized the metacentric height, which is the distance between center of gravity and the point where the intersection of a vertical line drawn through the center of buoyancy. Therefore, by making the ship taller with it's masts it is possible to make it narrower because by making it taller the metacentric height it raised which raises the center of gravity, which makes the boat float. (://www.geocities.com, A Manual of Naval Architecture for Use of Officers of the Royal Navy, ntl.bts.gov)

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