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Old 08-17-2020, 01:59 AM   #1
Sniper297
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Icon10 Whatever floats your boat

Read a book long ago (can't recall the title) about the basic design of submarines. Essentially the engineering consists of making a cylinder, add a bow and stern, fill with machinery. At this point the air inside the vessel is still enough to make it float - don't want it to always float, want it to submerge sometimes.

So fill the keel with lead ballast until the weight overcomes the air inside, too heavy to float, it sinks. Don't want it to always sink and stay sunk, need it to float sometimes - so add more air. Saddle tanks full of air on the outside, now it floats.

Open the vents, water comes in the valves/ports at the bottom, forces the air out the vents at the top, when the air in the tanks that kept it afloat is gone, down we go. To get back up vents are shut, compressed air blown into the tanks forces water out the bottom, we're floating again - held up by the air in the tanks.

With all that in mind, why call them "ballast" tanks? Technically what they really are is flotation tanks!

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Old 08-17-2020, 04:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper297 View Post
Read a book long ago (can't recall the title) about the basic design of submarines. Essentially the engineering consists of making a cylinder, add a bow and stern, fill with machinery. At this point the air inside the vessel is still enough to make it float - don't want it to always float, want it to submerge sometimes.

So fill the keel with lead ballast until the weight overcomes the air inside, too heavy to float, it sinks. Don't want it to always sink and stay sunk, need it to float sometimes - so add more air. Saddle tanks full of air on the outside, now it floats.

Open the vents, water comes in the valves/ports at the bottom, forces the air out the vents at the top, when the air in the tanks that kept it afloat is gone, down we go. To get back up vents are shut, compressed air blown into the tanks forces water out the bottom, we're floating again - held up by the air in the tanks.

With all that in mind, why call them "ballast" tanks? Technically what they really are is flotation tanks!

Change my mind!
Do you have any idea who wrote the book..or any other clue?....The book sounds like a thoughtful and enjoyable read.
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Old 08-17-2020, 12:14 PM   #3
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"sounds like a thoughtful and enjoyable read", well, thanks, those are my words, my synopsis, my interpretation of the book - or possibly books. Can't remember any of the titles offhand since I've read so many, or where or when.

Odd bit of trivia, again can't remember the book titles, but I do remember when and where - driving a taxi in Chicago, 1974, stopped at the downtown library and checked out a few books to read at slack times, most about WWII fleet boats. All US fleet boats started the same size, a cylinder 16 feet in diameter and 250 feet long, only difference was the length of the torpedo rooms - overall length was minor, 302 feet for Porpoise, 308 for Salmon/Sargo, 312 for the rest. Why that sort of thing stuck with me for 46 years I have no idea.

Anyway early subs, like USS TURTLE and CSS HUNLEY, had the ballast tanks inside the hull instead of outside. That meant they were naturally buoyant, by flooding the internal tanks they were taking on weight. Remove the internal tanks and they would stay afloat.

Later subs had external tanks, remove the tanks and the buoyancy is gone, won't float without them.
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Old 08-17-2020, 01:43 PM   #4
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I'm certain that neither one is the book you remember, but Norman Friedman's Submarine Design and Development and David Miller's Modern Submarine Warfare both make for excellent introductions to submarine design, as does John Alden's The Fleet Submarine in the US Navy for fleet boats.



Some others I recommend:
US Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History, US Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated History, and British Submarines In Two World Wars by Norman Friedman, The U-boat by Eberhard Rossler, and Cold War Submarines by Norman Polmar.
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Old 08-17-2020, 04:52 PM   #5
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Trouble with being old and senile, don't recognize any of those titles, but John Alden and Norman Friedman are very familiar names.
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