Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Life of Ease in our Invisible Submarine

Wouldn’t it be neat if you could roam around wherever you wanted without anyone knowing you were there?  People have thought so for a long time, and have spent a lot of time and effort researching and developing stealth technology, particularly for military forces.  But as you can imagine, it’s hard to make yourself completely undetectable, especially when you’re riding around in something as big as, say, a submarine.

When an object – a boat or an animal, for instance – moves through the water, the water around it gets pushed around in all directions and flows all around the object disturbing it.  This turbulence creates a wake, a chaotic pattern of ripples and waves and churning water which trails being the moving object.  If you look out into the bay and see a line of swirling, churning water on the surface, you know that a boat recently passed by.  In the same way, a submarine leaves behind a wake underwater that reveals the sub’s presence.  Military forces would love it if there were a way to negate this wake effect, to create a submarine that doesn’t leave a trail.