cluttonfred

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I am sure that many remember this Popular Mechanics article or one of the many like it back then on a rumoured type of Russian concrete sub with 200 mph Shkval rocket torpedoes:

Concrete Submarines
Cheap and deadly, these stealthy boats could shift the balance of naval power.
December 1998
Popular Mechanics

The thing is, aside from the hype, both the concrete construction and the heavier-than-water submarine concept do seem to have merit. Does anyone know of actual craft or serious proposals for concrete and/or neutral-to-negative buoyancy submarines?
 

TinWing

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Mole said:
I am sure that many remember this Popular Mechanics article or one of the many like it back then on a rumoured type of Russian concrete sub with 200 mph Shkval rocket torpedoes:

Concrete Submarines
Cheap and deadly, these stealthy boats could shift the balance of naval power.
December 1998
Popular Mechanics

The thing is, aside from the hype, both the concrete construction and the heavier-than-water submarine concept do seem to have merit. Does anyone know of actual craft or serious proposals for concrete and/or neutral-to-negative buoyancy submarines?

Popular Mechanics is not a credible source of information on defense projects.
 

cluttonfred

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Popular Mechanics is not a credible source of information on defense projects.

I never said that it was...but the concepts may still have merit and other, more credible, sources may provide some insight.
 

Michel Van

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a Popular Mechanics article... serious ?
index.php


but return to mater of Concrete Sub and Ship

i do remember vague there were proposal for Ship made from Concrete in WW2,
think it was for Cargo or Aircraftcarrier build from this stuff

use Reinforced concrete to build Submarines, why not ?
but need epoxy-coated or galvanised stainless steel rebar
seawater is very salty
 

red admiral

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I remember reading an article in New Scientist a couple of years ago (probably 2007) about concrete submarines for use in sea exploration. Some were piloted and some were AUVs. I'm pretty sure one of the designs was being built at the time. I think one of them was positively buoyant but had a fair amount of engine power so could hold depth using just hydroplanes at speed.
 

smurf

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Concrete is strong in compression, and less dense than steel, and so looks a logical material to use to build a submarine?? ::)
 

Abraham Gubler

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Orionblamblam said:
Oddly enough: http://concretesubmarine.com/

This is hilarious! The Columbian submarine industry attempts to go legit! Of course what is the 99.99% consumer demand for submarines in Columbia? Drug smuggling!
 

RP1

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I just did a project for the EU on concrete ocean structures... it's actually quite a good material for offshore structures and submarines, being strong in compression. For ships less so, as they are subject to tensile loads. However, with appropriate pre-stressing this can be overcome.

Concrete has successfully been used for barges and a few ocean going vessels. It's particular advantages are; long life (DNV has classed some LNG storage barges as having an unlimited life span) and low maintenance, ease and speed of construction (training for concrete is easier than for quality welding) and resistance to damage and extreme cold (some concretes gain strength when subjected to low temperatures). The problems are avoiding tension, increased weight, severe problems if the quality is not maintained (porosity etc) or construction is interrupted and some difficulties in repair (if still at sea - in dry dock it should be simple). It can also be difficult to attach fittings - you can't weld to concrete, so normally a steel plate is cast into the concrete around the location of the fitting.

Concrete by default is porous and water will infiltrate it, but only at a slow rate and to a depth controlled by the pressure inside the material (remember it is under compressive loads). Chloride ion infiltration can be a problem in that it will corrode re-bar and tensioning tendons but this can be avoided by either increasing thickness or using special types of concrete, including high density and waterproof types, special coatings or mixtures containing additives such as polymers - the latter have been used on some large offshore projects.

RP1
 

Firefly 2

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Michel Van said:
a Popular Mechanics article... serious ?
index.php


but return to mater of Concrete Sub and Ship

i do remember vague there were proposal for Ship made from Concrete in WW2,
think it was for Cargo or Aircraftcarrier build from this stuff

use Reinforced concrete to build Submarines, why not ?
but need epoxy-coated or galvanised stainless steel rebar
seawater is very salty

The Carrier you mention would rather be Project Habakkuk, made of pykrete I think. There was a thread about it some time back.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1719.msg17660
 

RP1

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A number of cargo vessels were made from concrete:

http://www.concreteships.org/

RP1
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Soory to OT for bit, but since the narco-traficantes get brief mention above, wasn't there a rumor of homebuilt aircraft carrier they were said to have built in the 90's? I vaguely remember hearing something about it around '92 or '93.
 

TinWing

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RP1 said:
A number of cargo vessels were made from concrete:

http://www.concreteships.org/

RP1

Yes, concrete hulled ships were moderately successful during the First World War. However, running costs were uncompetitive in peace time, and it simply wasn't an economic form of shipbuilding. Obviously, a steel hulled ship is lighter and more economical in both initial ship building cost and running cost. Overall, the best use of concrete in shipbuilding might have the "Mulberry" harbor facilities.

However, a number of concrete ships have survived as breakwaters, which speaks volumes about the durability of "ferrocement" construction, or perhaps it simply indicates that they weren't worth scrapping for very obvious reasons.
 
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Concrete tug 'Cretehauser' was built in 1919, gutted in 1935 for use as an emergency breakwater and beached on the River Wear in 1942.

boat1.jpg


Cretehawser was launched at Southwick in March 1919, 262 tons, 720 horsepower. One of twelve powerful, single screw ferro-concrete vessels ordered by the Admiralty in 1918 due to a steel shortage. Cretehawser was the first to be built in Sunderland by Wear Concrete Building Company Limited, a subsidiary of Swan Hunter.

It was badly damaged during a World War Two air raid and subsequently towed upriver for safety. Its current position was as far as it would go before it sank. It is now a useful roost for riverside birds.

Of the other eleven only two remain, one is a hulk in the River Moy, Ballina, Eire. The other was converted to part of the marine facilities at Carlingford in Eire. The rest were either wrecked or broken up
 

RP1

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Obviously, a steel hulled ship is lighter and more economical in both initial ship building cost and running cost

Not necessarily - it depends on what dominates the weight and running costs. For LNG tankers there is a trade off between insulation and weight, for barges the structural weight is much lower (no wave loading) and for maintenance-dominated structures (usually static / semi mobile facilities), concrete has as little as 15% of the maintenance costs of steel.

That being said, it's highly unlikely that concrete would make significant inroads into anything other than niche shipbuilding applications.

RP1
 

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A large number of concrete barges were made in 1944 to carry petrol for the D-day landings. Not sure if they were to supplement the Pluto pipeline or as a backup in case of failure.

Don't know what they did about the porosity other than they all had a fine finish to the outside skin and therefore presumably the inside.

There used to be 20-30 of them used as pontoons on the River Medway at Rochester in Kent. I walked across them many many times in the early 1980's.
They were in very good condition and the only real signs of age were the rusty metal hatches to the tanks and the metal deck fittings.
 

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I can't seem to find the reference, but I remember an article about an experimental cement mix that had a very high compressive strength.

Part of the trick, IIRC, was a carefully graded range of filler sizes, so the voids were minimal. Then, the mix was vacuum & ultrasonically de-gassed, removing many microscopic bubbles and ensuring complete 'wetting' of the ingredients. The result was as even as chalk, had remarkably low porosity, was rather denser than you'd expect and behaved more like engineering brick than something cold-cast. You could probably improve on that by mixing in an appropriate adhesive...
 

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http://utterinsanity.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/some-old-insanity-concrete-submarines/

I've read about (civilian) surface ships made of concrete before, so I wasn't that shocked about it. Intriguing idea anyway.
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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I did make a search on the search engine before I created my thread, nothing came up, but I don't mind the merge. :)
 

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I recall reading about a concrete submarine called lekton or necton it was to replace the liberty ship if things got worse in the battle of the Atlantic. a scale test article was built and tested and was famously derelict in saanfrancisco until the mid 70s when it was buried under a pier.
 

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here is another concrete sub i am not sure it is the neckton as it is built in ney york not sanfran . also this is to be towed like the japanes sub barges wheras the neckton was to be self propeled.http://books.google.com/books?id=stYDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=POPULAR%20MECHANICS%201942&pg=PA77#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

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I wonder if someone will experiment with this construction technique with regards as concrete sea vessels?
 

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AKS said:
A large number of concrete barges were made in 1944 to carry petrol for the D-day landings. Not sure if they were to supplement the Pluto pipeline or as a backup in case of failure.

Don't know what they did about the porosity other than they all had a fine finish to the outside skin and therefore presumably the inside.

There used to be 20-30 of them used as pontoons on the River Medway at Rochester in Kent. I walked across them many many times in the early 1980's.
They were in very good condition and the only real signs of age were the rusty metal hatches to the tanks and the metal deck fittings.

Both the US and UK built concrete barges in WW2, I'm pretty certain the US also built a small class of proper concrete ships. Many of them ended up as floating service and repair platforms for the Pacific Service Squadrons that supported the US fast carriers in the Pacific. Painting and sealing the hulls should have worked fine for porosity, concrete isn't waterproof but it doesn't leak like crazy either and nobody expected these things to last that long. The key thing is to ensure that at all points the rebar has a proper covering of concrete, IIRC 2 inches minimal. The biggest risk is swelling from the rebar rusting.
 

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I have found some more information regarding concrete submarines . in 1928 heinz lipschutz proposed a concrete sub that was heavier than water who"s crush depth allowed it to rest on the bottom of the ocean it was called the u-plane . the u-plane used lift from hydrofoil's to fly trough the water but at rest would rest on the ocean floor. http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/11124.htm
i have all so found the design that was the fullsize necktonhttp://books.google.com/books?id=mCYDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA80&dq=Popular Science 1931 plane&hl=en&ei=b0IkTfqeCoKBnAfU-bWiAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CEcQ6AEwCTgo#v=onepage&q=Popular%20Science%201931%20plane&f=true
 

RP1

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U-plane details. From RINA The Naval Architect, March 1991.


RP1
 

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Grey Havoc

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The Popular Mechanics article is currently offline, so, via the Orbital Vectors blog, here's a copy of one of the illustrations used for that article:
 

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