Norwegian submarine participates in NATO exercise

Submarine – a vessel that goes under water. Most large submarines are war vessels. Some small ones are used for scientific or business purposes. These are often called “submersibles” and cannot go far or stay long away from base. Some are used to explore under the sea and look at fish. A submarine is always called a boat, not a ship.

Stirling engine – alpha type

Stirling engines – Invented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the Stirling engine has the potential to be much more efficient than a gasoline or diesel engine. But today, Stirling engines are used only in some very specialized applications, like in submarines or auxiliary power generators for yachts, where quiet operation is important.

What’s the problem?
Rear Admiral David Johnson, U.S. Navy (video 10:07) – discusses the importance of engineering education and the importance of a technically advanced navy. He uses the specific example of designing, building, testing and operating a submarine.

  • Ask – What does the Navy want and need the new submarine to be able to accomplish? What role will it play? When must the submarine be ready to use? How much money can they spend? How does the engineering guide the decisions that Rear Admiral Johnson and his team have to make to design and build a new submarine?
  • Imagine – What technologies are available at the beginning of the design process? What new technologies will become available during development process? Can some new technologies be designed and built specifically for use on the new submarine?
  • Design, Build – How will they integrate all the systems and components during the design and build process? Who will build each component? How id the process managed when so many different companies are involved?
  • Improve – Once the submarine has been built, how do they ensure that it continues to perform well? What process is in place to ensure that changes and improvements can be made even after the submarine is in use?

Engineering ideas

  • engine, combustion, diesel, generator

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • Build a submarine that will dive down through the water and come back to the surface.