Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The Hunley submarine was an engineering marvel and one of the subjects of my book, “Why the Wind Blows.”
The brave men who designed the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel faced many challenges beyond the ability of the technology of their time. However, they rose to the challenges and were way ahead of their time in crafting the submarine to handle the challenges of the oceanic currents. One of their designs is still being used in submarines manufactured today.
Engineers who design vehicles to move through fluids face a quandary. A torpedo-shaped vehicle can move quickly and efficiently through a liquid like water, but it is difficult to maneuver precisely or to hover. A boxier vehicle can be designed to hover and move with more precision but lacks speed and efficiency.
Engineers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have now solved that problem.
For their solution they went to the design found in jellyfish and squid. These creatures move through the water efficiently by expelling water in a vortex ring. So the engineers experimented with various designs until they had small, but efficient, vortex ring generators. Then they tested them on small vehicles. One of their designs was used to successfully parallel-park an unmanned underwater vehicle. This design is expected to be used in more than underwater vehicles. Engineers also envision tiny capsules equipped with tiny vortex jets cruising through the digestive tract to find or treat diseases.
As ingenious as this design is, it really gives glory to its original designer – God. This glory is not just in God’s initial design of jellyfish and squid, but his design of the human brain, which can understand and copy his original designs.
“Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them.” Psalm 69:34
Dianne Brady is an author and speaker and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.