A coating (spray, paint) that repels water and oils (water, apple sauce,
chocolate syrup, motor oil, etc.). This stuff is different from water
PROOFING in that it REPELS water. You pour water on it, the water bounces
back and hits you in the eye (slight exaggeration). Ice can't stick to it.
Just the thing for coating power lines in freezing temperatures.
Think torpedoes. The Russians developed a super fast torpedo that
covered itself with a layer of bubbles and it cut the drag way down
so the torpedo was very fast. I'll bet The Navy is already experimenting
with the compound or has been for some time. ^_^
When the next big naval war breaks out and everyone starts shooting off
various super-cavitating torpedoes it's going to turn the page on decades of
naval warfare tactics. They're cheap enough to build in huge numbers -
enough to overcome most countermeasures because they're on target so
quickly. I don't think coatings would help them - they ride inside a shock
wave. The idea is to minimize the amount of wetted surface on the body by
enclosing it in a low-density gas bubble so there's no real contact between
torpedo and water.
The Navy's biggest underwater concern is noise not waterproofing <g>.
Apparently with their new shrouded water jet propellers, submarine
technology has really made progress. So much so that the HMS Vanguard and
French Triomphant submarine collided in the Atlantic Ocean a few years ago.
Modern US subs are also covered in a special anechoic "skin" to reduce their
sonar signature that might not take well to waterproofing. A more
"pressing" issue with modern subs is all the wiring that needs to pass
through the pressure hull from the ever-increasing number of external
sensors and electronic gear. IIRC, it's now the number one limiting factor
to increasing "crush depth" and the place where subs spring leaks on deep
test dives. With pressures well above 1,000 PSI at maximum cruise depth,
bad things can happen.
Subs can hide in three dimensions. Surface ships cannot. Nor is it easy to
hide the various signatures (IR, sonic, magnetic, wake, etc) of surface
ships, especially huge aircraft carriers from the kinds of targeting sensors
available to torpedo builders. With all the ways superfast torpedoes can be
delivered (air, ship, undersea bunker) the next big naval war will clear any
ocean area "in dispute" of surface ships in a few days. That's one reason
why there's a new Air Force initiative to deliver lethal ordnance anywhere
in the world in just a few hours.
The Pentagon's finally starting to believe the Chinese when they say they
don't have to build expensive big ships - just enough cheap ship killing
devices like the Shkval for one to get through. We've had some
countermeasures in R&D, namely RAMICS and AHSUM, but it's unclear whether
they will be a match for Shkvals entering the water from multiple launch
platforms. Some say no countermeasures would or could be effective against
nuclear-tipped super-cavitation torpedoes. As the saying goes, close only
counts in horseshoes and hand grenades (and nuke-tipped torpedoes!).
Fortunately, they're much more expensive to produce than the HE variety.
has some pictures of one on display. The Army's recent hypersonic
missile test made me think of this torpedo.
I'd expect the first watercraft to try superhydrophobic coatings would
belong to those who have obscene amounts of money to spend on minute
performance gains. So, America's Cup yachts and "row crew" rowboats.
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