Ok, for any of you technology loving patriotic folk out there I have a question and some random musings. The USS Seawolf (SSN-21) is supposed to be ultra quiet and a super efficient killer. I remember pics from its commissioning and was interested that the lower mid section was draped in a giant white tarp with Old Glory emblazoned across it. One knows that when the military covers something up (figuratively or otherwise) that is the most interesting place to look.
My best friend is a nuke tech on a boomer sub and talks of the ‘mystery prop system under the tarp’ with awe and glee. As I was reading “Blind Man’s Bluff” about our Cold War Sub antics, it occurred to me that the system under the tarp may be some twist on the principle whereas water in one section of a looped system of pipes is heated the water begins to rise compared to the cooler water in a different part of the same system. This creates a flow of water sans mechanical pump.
Now that I have looked at some of the info online concerning the Seawolf it appears the sub is capable of great quiet and great (for a sub) speed.
So it seems that my ‘idea’ as to how one may get a super quiet flow of water (the heated water flow previously mentioned) with which to (possibly) propel the sub would not be sufficient to reach the 25 knot speeds often mentioned with the Seawolf. So in short, is my idea completely wacko? Could you get anywhere near the force needed to push this hulk with just the force produced with the heated water system? What system (generally speaking) does the Seawolf use to move fast and quiet? Or, have we just continued to improve prop design such as to further the anti-cavitation etc?