View Full Version : How Submarines Operate

15-02-2008, 13:14
Submarines,like all ships depend on buoyancy to stay afloat.A series of tanks are fitted to all submarines and when flooded with water they give the ship a negative buoyancy and it begins to sink. At a desired depth pumps or compressed air clear the tanks of water untill a neutral buoyancy is achieved submarines will then float at the desired depth.To surface the tanks are blown empty to give the ship a positive buoyancy.
All submarines depend for their ability to dive upon changing their buoyancy,they are equipped with thick inner pressure hulls and lighter outer hulls.The space between the hulls is divided into several diving and trim tanks,the diving tanks control the depth at which a submarine will ride and the trim tanks are used to keep the ship steady on an even level and at neutral buoyancy.
But diving tanks alone are insufficient to manoeuvre a submarine.Some form of propeller is essential to drive it forward,rudders are also necessary to steer the ship to the left or right and diving planes are attached to help control the angle of the dive,the planes are short stubby wings which can be tilted to force the submarine up or down.The interaction of the tanks,propeller and diving planes are used to achieve a balance in every variety of submarine.

15-02-2008, 13:25
A great explanation of something that I didn't now much about Rom.

Thanks for it. It's a lot clearer now.

John Brown
15-02-2008, 13:27
Interesting stuff Rom.

Makes you realise what a job old Ezra Lee had on his hands whilst operating 'The Turtle' single handedly back in 1776. He even had to work the weapons system as well:eek:


15-02-2008, 15:52
The idea of building an underwater craft was being explored as early as 1578 when an Englishman demonstrated a submersible boat to King James 1,a quarter of a century later Cornelis drebbel built a wood and greased leather contraption that could submerge and be pulled about by oars.
The first underwater ship that could properly be callede a submarine was built in the late 18th century,this was a one man ship designed by an American,David Bushnell and christened the TURTLE.During the american war of independance it attempted to set a mine under HMS EAGLE,Admirals Lord Howes Flagship.The turtle approached the vessel driven by a hand cranked propellor,the attempt to attach the mine to the copper sheathed bottom failed and the mine blew up harmlessly.
A hand driven submarine finnaly made a successful submerged attack when the HUNLEY a confederate submarine sank the Federal warship HOUSATONIC during the american civil war.Built from an iron boiler the 30ft HUNLEY proved a death trap for her crew,in Feb1864 she drove a spar torpedo into the HOUSATONIC which was anchored in blockade of Charleston harbour,the explosion sank both ships.

26-02-2011, 16:12
The original post here is a very straightforward piece for the benefit of the layman, and as such should be regarded as no more than a very basic precis into how the principles of how a sub should function.
Needless to say the dynamics of operating a submarine are considerably more technical, and sometimes extremely spurious.
The basics of operating a vessel under water have been known for Centuries, the same as flight in fact.
The principal reason both took so long to master was down to the technical challenges involved, which even in this era can leave the highest qualified engineers scratching their heads.
In fact, submarines and planes have a huge amount in common.
Especially the earliest pioneers in both disciplines.
We all have a huge debt to pay to one and all.