Boats in a waterless ocean

August 13, 2012

Invisibility cloaks I guess have been in the works for awhile, it just took a clincher like J.K. Rowling to bring it to the limelight.

I’ve been reading random articles about it for awhile, combinations of materials and design that will bend light in such a way as to camouflage an object perfectly into whatever it’s surroundings. What intrigued me about my latest readings is a way to do the same thing, but with water.

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Well there's one way to achieve frictionless water travel

While the invisibility cloak that everybody knows and loves (and is built into a blanket), bends and manipulates light, an “invisibility cloak” for boats would “bend” water. Just by the shear number of quotations marks I use indicate how experimental this still is, but the science behind “bending” water is pretty wicked, and no it’s not by constantly brushing hair with a million combs (anybody?)

The theory is that a ship’s hull would have 10’s or 100’s or small propellers placed (I assume) below the water line. These propellers would push the water beginning at the bow of the ship all the way to the stern, with propellers the entire length of ship. The idea is if you can push the water the same speed as the ship (or relative to a certain speed of the ship), it would essentially eliminate friction along the hull. The ship would inherently seem…… Weightless? It would “glide over” water, but still actually going through it (I swear all quotation marks are necessary), it would simply “bend” it out of the way.

The fact that it would theoretically eliminate friction between boat and water, is interesting in the sense that it’s something I never would have thought of. Fuel consumption would drop considerably, products become cheaper and shipping becomes greener (and cheaper). “But wouldn’t fuel consumption be the same because you still need to drive the props?”. That’s what I thought, but you need quite a bit of power to overcome friction. Without friction though? I wouldn’t think nearly as much power would be required, but this is just my guess…

Anyways, point being, I’m still around.