A program supported by the US Navy. UU It is exploring the use of electromagnetism to create a blanket of water that would diminish the wake and drag of a ship.
A scheme of a prototype of the proposed camouflage device (Credit: Yaroslav Urzhumov / Duke University)
The concept was developed for the first time at Duke University in 2011, and theoretically works by matching the acceleration of water surrounding with the movement of an object. This would not only increase the efficiency of the propulsion, but also leave the water around the object practically unchanged. While the original concept relied on a complex system of small pumps to create the water mantle, the current version instead uses electromagnetic fields created by cables and coils to move the charged particles found in seawater. The work is described in the journal Physical Review E .
"There are many ways to reduce stele and drag, such as circling an object with low-friction bubbles, which is actually done with some naval torpedoes," said Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. in Duke.
"But there is much you can do if you are only applying forces on the surface." This idea of camouflage opens a new dimension to create forces around a ship or underwater object, which is absolutely necessary to achieve total cancellation of the wake. . "
When a charged particle travels through an electromagnetic field, the field creates a force on the particle. Because seawater has an abundance of ions such as sodium, potassium and magnesium, there is a large amount of charged particles available to push. Using magnetohydrodynamic simulations, Urzhumov and his colleagues demonstrated that controlling the speed and direction of water around an object creates the appearance that the water within the mantle is completely stagnant relative to the surrounding sea.
However, a disadvantage is the enormous energy requirements of the system. According to Urzhumov, a ship or submarine deploying the device would need to be powered by a nuclear reactor. However, he believes that water layer technology will find future applications.
"The original idea was so great that it attracted colleagues from the Naval Underwater Warfare Center to help us follow it, although they were incredibly skeptical," Urzhumov said. who was also involved in the original document of 2011. "Since then, we have identified a way to materialize this seemingly impossible proposal."
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