Topics: Submarine, Torpedo, United States Navy Pages: 12 (5099 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Wouldn't it be fun to ride a torpedo, or drive a nuclear reactor around underwater? In this research paper I am going to illustrate the ingenious submarine. The submarine is one of the most important strategic and tactical weapons systems of the 20th Century, and this importance will increase in the 21st Century. The tiny, leaking, creaking, and unsafe submarine boats of the 1890's, displacing under two hundred tons and carrying a handful of men and a few torpedoes have grown into massive, sophisticated and deadly weapons systems. These displacing as much as 26,000 tons, carrying a crew of over a hundred and armed with missiles which can destroy large areas of the world. Every day hundreds of submarines are patrolling the oceans of the world. Many of them are on routine training, but some are armed with strategic missiles and for them every patrol is as fully functional as if they were at war. The surface of the ocean is hostile enough on occasion, but the depths are always hostile to man. Yet, for many centuries man has dreamed of penetrating the depths of the oceans and now this dream has become possible.A submarine is a ship that travels underwater. Most submarines are designed for use in war - to attack enemy ships or to fire missiles at enemy countries. These submarines range in length from about 200 feet to more than 550 feet. Their rounded hulls are about 30 feet in diameter. More than 150 crew members can live and work aboard such warships. At war a submarines will attack from beneath the surface of the water. A submarine needs to remain underwater to be effective. Early submarines did not stay submerged for long periods, because they had to surface often to get air for their engines and crews. Today's nuclear submarines can stay underwater for several months at a time. A submarines long, cigar shaped body enables it to move swiftly while underwater. A pressure hull, made of high strength steel or titanium surrounds the ship and prevents it from being crushed by the pressure of the water around it. Built into the bow and stern of the pressure hull are tanks that, when filled with water, give the submarine ballast (weight) for diving. Submarines that are not built in the United States usually have a second, outer hull. The space between the hulls is used to store ballast tanks and equipment that does not need protection from water pressure. A tall, thin structure called the sail rises from the middle of a submarine's deck. The sail stands about 20 feet high. It holds the periscopes and the radar and radio antennas. The top of the sail also serves as the bridge, from which the captain directs the submarine when on surface. Steel fins called diving planes stick out from both sides of the sail or bow and from the stern. These diving planes guide the ship to different depths. One or two propellers in the stern drive the submarine, also rudders above and below the propellers steer the craft. The earliest inventors had no other way but manpower to propel their submarines. Initially, this involved oars, then came propellers turned by hand, either by a single person, as in David Bushnell's Turtle². Or by several people turning a crank, as in a Confederate Hunley and the German Brandtaucher (meaning "Incendiary Diver") in the mid-19th Century compressed-air was used as were electrical accumulators, both were of limited endurance and required the submarine to return to the port to recharge, which was tactically unacceptable. There were also a number of attempts to harness steam, not only for surface propulsion, but also to provide power when submerged, using stored energy devises, but none worked satisfactorily.Eventually it was realized that the solution was to combine the efficiency of the batteries for underwater propulsion and some form of power which could be used on the surface, both to propel the submarine and recharge its batteries. Steam was used tried several navies...
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