How Does a Submarine Operate?

A submarine is able to float in water due to the principle of buoyancy, which states that the weight of the water displaced by the submarine is equal to the weight of the submarine itself. This means that the pressure exerted by the submarine on the water is the same as the pressure exerted by the water on the submarine.

Buoyancy works the same way for a submarine as it does for other ships and even objects like rubber ducks in a bathtub.

However, what sets a submarine apart from other ships is its ability to control its buoyancy. This allows the submarine captain to decide whether to sink or rise to the surface of the ocean.

To control its buoyancy, a submarine utilizes special tanks that can be filled with either water or air. When the submarine needs to surface, the tanks are filled with air, making the submarine less dense than the water around it and causing it to float to the surface.

Conversely, when the captain wants the submarine to dive, the air is released through a vent and the tanks are flooded with water. This increases the submarine’s density, making it sink.

The submarine carries a supply of air on board to fill and refill the tanks. In case of an emergency, the tanks can be quickly filled with high-pressure air to bring the submarine and its crew back to the surface.

Living on a submarine presents unique challenges, such as maintaining air quality, fresh water supply, and temperature.

The air we breathe is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and carbon dioxide. When we inhale, our bodies use up the oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Nitrogen and argon are not involved in this process.

Inside a sealed submarine, the available air is limited. Therefore, it is crucial to continuously supply fresh oxygen to the crew. Oxygen is typically provided from pressurized tanks, and a computerized system monitors the oxygen levels in the air and releases fresh oxygen as needed.

Carbon dioxide, which is exhaled by the crew, must be removed to prevent it from becoming toxic. Scrubbers, which utilize soda lime, are used to trap and remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Furthermore, the moisture from breathing must be eliminated to prevent condensation within the submarine. Dehumidifiers are employed for this purpose.

Since submarines do not have access to municipal water systems or wells, they must find a way to maintain a fresh water supply for drinking and other purposes.

Most submarines possess special equipment that can desalinate seawater, removing the salt and turning it into fresh drinking water. This process, known as distillation, can produce a significant amount of fresh water daily, which is used for various purposes onboard the submarine.

Submarines, being made of metal, transfer heat from inside the ship to the cooler water surrounding it. To ensure the comfort of the crew, submarines also require heating systems.

Let’s give it a try.

Are you ready to delve even deeper into the world of submarines? Gather a crew of friends or family members to assist you in exploring the depths of the following activities:

– Would you be willing to spend several months in a submarine at the bottom of the sea? Explain why or why not. Imagine what life would be like if you were confined to a submarine for an entire summer. What things would you miss? What would be enjoyable about it? Create a list of advantages and disadvantages and share it with a friend or family member. Do they share your perspective? What advantages and disadvantages can they think of?

– While it may not transport you to the ocean floor, this homemade vessel will allow you to take charge of your own submarine. So, what are you waiting for, captain? Are you prepared to go under?

– Does water really exert pressure on submerged objects? Absolutely! To learn more about this force, try out The Pressure of Water experiment. All you need are your hands and a plastic baggie. Share your newfound knowledge with friends and family members!

Sources of Wonder:

– http://www.pitara.com/science-for-kids/5ws-and-h/how-does-a-submarine-work/

– http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/engines-equipment/submarine.htm

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