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Our deep sea exploration submarine was designed with the intent to have a maximum crew capacity of 12 and a depth capability of 4 to 5 miles. The general layout would be similar to a military submarine but on a much smaller scale. To support the crew and all the necessary controls and instrumentation, the mean hull diameter was set at 12 ft. The main cylindrical section was divided into the fwd, mid and rear compartments which are the control room, the research and analysis room and the engine room, respectively. Sonars and fwd ballast tanks are situated in the nose of the submarine whereas the propulsion system and aft ballast tanks are mounted inside the conical tail section. Two vertical and two horizontal fins that are welded onto the tail provide stability and maneuverability. The fwd and aft bulkheads separate the nose and tail section from the main compartments. Internals stiffeners welded onto the hull provide additional strength for the submarine.
A very strong material is required if our submarine is to withstand the crushing pressures of the ocean floor. As a result, AISI 4340 Steel, oil quenched at 845°C and tempered at 425°C, was selected. Although its tensile strength is higher at lower temperatures, which is typical of the ocean floor environment, room temperature properties were conservatively used for additional safety margin.
With the general layout defined and material selected, some preliminary analyses were required in order to size the hull thickness as well as the internal stiffeners. A finite element model was created and an Eigenvalue Buckling Analysis was conducted to determine the critical buckling pressure (Pcrit). The critical buckling pressure was then used to back calculate the depth capability using Bernoulli’s equation (Eqn 1).
P = Po + ρgh
P = Critical Buckling Pressure Po = Atmospheric Pressure 1
(A thickness of 1 ft. Figure 1 Submarine Design Configuration and Dimensions 2 . was prescribed for the bulkheads and remained constant through each iteration) The final dimensions of our deep sea exploration submarine structure as a finite element model is shown in Figure 1 below.219 psi. yielding a maximum ocean depth capability of 4.9 miles. Preliminary analysis shows that its buckling strength is 11.ρ = Density of Seawater g = Gravitational Acceleration h = Ocean Depth Several iterations were performed until reasonable sizes for the hull and internal stiffeners were determined such that the 4 to 5 mile depth capability of the submarine can be achieved.