Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Torpedo Warhead Physics

(Intel Source: The Sub Report) This open-source article from "Dr. Karl" purports to explain the physics behind the destructiveness of a modern torpedo warhead:

"First, the actual explosion generates a very high pressure shock wave. This rams into the middle of the underside of hull of the ship at about 1.5 kilometres per second.
"Second, the shock wave crushes the underside of the hull, and also lifts it up. It bends the ship bend upward in the middle, like a banana. The upper decks of the ship crack apart. After a few hundredths of a second, the shock wave has come and gone. But within a few more fractions of a second, the expanding bubble of gas from the explosion then hits the underside of the hull. The bubble reaches a maximum size of about 18 metres across, and it maintains the massive upward force on the bottom of the hull, once the shock wave has passed. So the ship is bent upwards in the middle in two stages - from the shock wave and then the expanding gas.
"Third, after about half-a-second, the bubble (thanks to some fancy physics) begins to shrink. The ship then "sags" in the middle, and begins to "banana" in the other direction. This breaks the hull of the ship even more. Navy people call this sagging the "whipping" phase. It's actually very "useful" in breaking the back of a ship - after all, if you want to break a stick, it's much more effective to bend it back-and-forth, rather than bend it in only one direction.
"Fourth, after about one second, the shrinking bubble has reached its minimum size, and begins to expand again. The water pressure around it is greatest directly underneath (being further from the surface) and least at the top (being closest to the surface). So it tends to expand upwards more than downwards - in fact, it pushes a lot of water upwards as a high-speed wall of water. This "bananas" the ship back in the first direction again.
"Finally, the wall of water and the enormous bubble ram right through the hull. Combined, they can be powerful enough to completely rip the superstructure (that is, everything above the hull) clean off the ship, giving the appearance of a second explosion. The hull is often snapped into two separate halves."

All I know is, torpedos make things blow up!

Going deep...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not helping Navy Recruiters sign up many skimmers today, are we?

9/02/2005 4:14 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

To paraphrase my old boot camp CC, "I'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse that a brother on a skimmer"...

9/02/2005 5:34 AM

Blogger CDR Salamander said...

Now, your arn't talk'n 'bout the MK-46?

Or the MK-50?

Those who know....

9/03/2005 2:12 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Mk 48 Mod 3 or possibly Mod 4.

Target was HMAS Torrens, and I think the Sub was the HMAS Farncombe.

Personally, I always thought that there were few targets the old Mk 45 couldn't deal with. Pk 2.0

On a similar subject, as somone who, for my sins, has spent some time on board targets - er - surface vessels, the skimmer's answer to a Nuke Boat nearby was usually something like this.

9/04/2005 8:00 AM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

You know, Cold Warrior that I was, I'm really really glad we don't have to think of stuff like this any more.

I can remember monitoring an exercise in the Pacific remotely via a Link net wayyyyy back when, and feeling an icy cold stab through my vitals as a non-exercise symbol "Surface Zero" appeared.

But it was just the French letting off another physics package in Muroroa Atoll. For a while though, I was really really scared, not for myself, but for Humanity as a whole.

Here's to the bad old days of MAD and SIOP : may they never come again.

9/04/2005 8:06 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Zoe's right... the nuclear-tipped depth charge was always one thing that a sub couldn't really stop...

9/05/2005 11:06 PM

Anonymous said...

I read so much useful data above!

11/22/2011 12:34 AM


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