THE LEAGUE OF
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
There is a scene where we discover that Nemo's great submarine is solar powered.
Yeah, you read that right.
Now that's not quite as stupid as it seems because they mention this when the sub is on the surface, charging its batteries with solar energy*. But why would Hollywood writers choose solar power when (nuclear) there is a much more (nuclear) obvious choice (nuclear) that the U.S. Navy has been (nuclear) using for many decades (nuclear) ?
Who can say?
My guess is that solar energy, while perhaps not the most obvious choice as a submarine power source, was the most politically correct choice. And by the way in the original Jules Verne story Nemo's sub was powered by extracting electrolytes from the water. That wouldn't work but it still makes more sense than a solar powered submarine.
SCIENCE MOMENT BY
*"But wait!" You may well say, "Didn't the old World War II subs also have to surface to recharge their batteries?"
Absolutely! But it had nothing to do with solar power.
Diesel engines require a lot of Air in their Fuel mixture (about a 10:1 ratio) and, as a consequence, expel a lot of exhaust.
They can't expel that exhaust underwater.
Because of this, when underwater, the submarines usually ran on battery power, using their diesel engines only when fast surfacing, engaging in high speed maneuvering, and avoiding or engaging the enemy.
The crews only had about a minute underwater to use their diesel engines before they were forced to surface.
There just wasn't enough air within the submarines to run the diesel engines. Sub crews preferred to run silent on battery power, or just staying still and quiet as the enemy cruised overhead, as they couldn't run diesels for more than a minute without surfacing (plus the engine noise gave them away).
Surfacing, or being just below the surface and using a snorkel device (German WW2 subs for a brief time), allowed the diesel powered engines to operate, getting all the air they needed and expelling all the exhaust they had to, in order to recharge the batteries. The diesel engines kept the batteries charged and submarines had to surface to make that happen.
Want to learn more about diesel and nuclear powered submarines?
Well of COURSE you do! So spend a mind-expanding day at your local public library! Feel those new neural connections Grow!
Or check out this quick link of soundbite answers!
GoTo HowStuffWorks! How do the engines breathe in diesel submarines?
This review copyright 2003 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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