EB To The Rescue!
Good story from the AP yesterday about a miscalculation by Spanish submarine designers:
A new, Spanish-designed submarine has a weighty problem: The vessel is more than 70 tons too heavy, and officials fear if it goes out to sea, it will not be able to surface.Being a 2x Newcon Eng, I worked with EB design guys quite a lot; the ones who were served Submariners were pretty good, but some of the other ones required quite a bit of explaining to understand how their designs translated to issues for the crew. Still, as far as I know all the boats they designed could at least make it back to the surface.
And a former Spanish official says the problem can be traced to a miscalculation — someone apparently put a decimal point in the wrong place.
"It was a fatal mistake," said Rafael Bardaji, who until recently was director of the Office of Strategic Assessment at Spain's Defense Ministry.
The Isaac Peral, the first in a new class of diesel-electric submarines, was nearly completed when engineers discovered the problem. A U.S. Navy contractor in Connecticut, Electric Boat, has signed a deal to help the Spanish Defense Ministry find ways to slim down the 2,200-ton submarine.
Have you ever worked with civilian submarine design engineers?
Update 0855 07 June: For any non-submariners that wander by, here's a quick and simplified primer on submarine buoyancy. Ships in general float because they displace a volume of seawater with weight greater than the weight of the ship. A submerged submarine strives for neutral buoyancy, in which the submerged submarine displaces a volume of seawater equal to its weight.
For the Spanish submarine problem, assuming it's not carrying 70 tons of extraneous equipment, the simplest solution would be to increase the volume of the boat with a new compartment that weighs 70 tons less than the volume of seawater it displaces. I suggest a win/win solution - put in a big-ass berthing compartment. It wouldn't have a lot of heavy equipment, and would give the crew lots of sleeping space. They could increase the length of the submarine by 10%, displacing about 220 extra tons of seawater, and I'm sure they could bring it in at under 150 tons. Everybody wins!