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Engineering What must I major in to design submarines?

  1. Aug 29, 2017 #1
    I am inspired to design civilian submarines for underwater tourism. I want to design a low-cost submarine that will increase accessibility of the underwater world to people who don't have too much money. I think that new materials are needed that will be cheaper but still serve their function. So I would need to study materials engineering. I would need to know structural engineering, mechanical engineering. But I don't think I can get away with mechanical engineering.There must be a specialization of engineering dedicated to the design of aquatic vehicles that I don't know of yet.

    Apart from designing the submarine, one engineer can't do all the work, a team is needed to help design and somehow the parts for the submarine need to be made and assembled together in a plant. Then it must be transported to our project site where the submarines will be maintained and sent out to the sea full of children, families, etc. eager to see the ocean. It sounds like I need to utilize the companies who work in the relevant industry. Also, pilots would have to be hired and someone would need to oversee that. So the management of such operations for the purpose of tourism of the ocean, what education is needed to begin such an endeavor?
     
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  3. Aug 29, 2017 #2

    berkeman

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    Welcome to the PF.

    The short answer to your question is that you need to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree.

    The next step beyond that is for you to be an experienced scuba/skindiver. what experience do you have diving?

    And to your more general question about forming a company, look to assemble a team of MEs, EEs, business and finance folks, and technicians to help put it all together.
     
  4. Aug 29, 2017 #3
    I am curious, is mechanical engineering really the way to go? What about marine engineering, or naval architecture?
     
  5. Aug 29, 2017 #4

    berkeman

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    Good question.

    Can you compare and contrast the curriculums of each of those majors? What schools offer degrees in those other majors? What schools are you considering applying to?
     
  6. Aug 29, 2017 #5

    berkeman

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  7. Aug 29, 2017 #6

    jack action

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  8. Aug 30, 2017 #7
    I think that you will find that ME, MarE, and NavalArch are all relevant, and none entirely sufficient. Submarines are very special beasts, and require a wide variety of skills. If I had to pick just one, I'm guessing that Marine Engr would be the best option, but I'd look very closely at the schools that you consider as candidates, and ask questions. Tell them what your goal is, and ask how their program would support that goal.

    I'd also suggest that you go to the web site for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). They offer some support for students studying in this area.
     
  9. Aug 30, 2017 #8
    I have no experience diving, but I will learn. I thought about how the ocean is so full of things to see, it has so much imagination, especially the incredible variety of creatures, and also undersea structures which are worth seeing. Experiencing this completely different environment is like being in another world. This gives the sense of adventure to the experience, including the fact that a submarine is like a spaceship of the ocean. That feeling must be marvelous to be deep underwater, knowing that experts in the engineering field put all that hardware together to keep you alive under so much water; that an engineer designed the barrier that keeps you alive and safe and separates you from the dangerous environment outside.

    Also, I want to see submarine tourism become more widespread and affordable, so I can go with my family and friends on a free afternoon to the beach and take a submarine ride, so anyone can do it. I was in Managua, Nicaragua, and at port Salvador Allende, they have boat rides where at least I think 20 people can go, and it does not cost too much, that is what I want to do with submarines. Additionally, I'd simply enjoy designing submarines. It would be incredible to see my imagination come to life especially designing huge submarines, that can fit a hundred or more people, and different shapes and forms. I'd be so happy to see that my submarines are being used in thousands of ports and beaches because they are functional and economical.

    I have another motivation, that is not only to build submarines but structures underwater. Things to spark the imagination, like observatories, where people can relax next to huge windows while reading a book. Or normal things we find here on land, like libraries, and malls, but underwater to experience an incredible new atmosphere, as in "the pervading tone or mood of a place".

    I will reply in a little while about comparing the curriculum.
     
  10. Aug 30, 2017 #9
    Whatever your choice of study (I think it does not matter that much, a friend who studied aerospace engineering is now working on ship aero/hydrodynamics) it is probably more important to get involved in submarine-related projects. Check out projects like these and participate to get experience in designing and building submarines:

    http://internationalsubmarineraces.org/
     
  11. Aug 30, 2017 #10
    First of all if you come up with a way to get me to 10,000 ft depth for $5, you can take my money right now :smile: Watching all the Bioluminescence would be amazing. Then again, withstand few hundred atmospheres on a budget, sounds like a "fun nut to crack".
    Submarines are cool, especially that my brother works on some at Rolls Royce. That being said I would recommend that you would go to some lecture or watch some online, so that you get a feel for the content to double check your interest. I know first hand that creating concepts and imagining some stuff is all great but when you get to the nitty gritty bits, not so much.
     
  12. Aug 30, 2017 #11
    Is the curriculum for mechanical engineering, all engineering fields for that matter standardized, is it the same in all colleges?
     
  13. Aug 30, 2017 #12
    To a degree this is true, but certainly it is not true in detail. For example, I think I can safely say that everywhere, an ME degree will include Statics, Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials, Thermo I, Thermo II, and Heat Transfer, and Senior Design. Whether it includes Theory of Machines, Vibrations, Controls, Fluid Mechanics, Materials, etc. depends entirely on where you look.

    You might want to look at the ABET criteria for accreditation which will describe most American ME programs, at least all that are accredited.
     
  14. Aug 30, 2017 #13

    jack action

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    There's usually a specialization involved with mechanical engineering (aeronautic, automotive, design, robotic, etc.). It's usually the last year courses that differ from one specialization to another. I'm sure there is one with a «marine» specialization somewhere.
     
  15. Aug 31, 2017 #14
    You might want to take a look at MIT. Once upon a time they had a separate dept for naval architecture and marine engineering. That dept got merged into the mechanical engineering dept.
     
  16. Aug 31, 2017 #15
    There is the US Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy, but I'm pretty sure that in both cases, their focus is surface ships.
     
  17. Aug 31, 2017 #16
    I would focus on Marine/Mechanical Engineering and then try at best to get hired by Perry Oceanographic (unfortunately this business is no longer active) and or Sea Robotics http://www.searobotics.com/.

    I worked shortly in my career for Sun-Tech Engineering which was in partnership with Perry Oceanographic and we built ROV (Remote Operated Vehicles), they eventually broke up and most of the engineers formed Sea Robotics corporation, all in Palm Beach County, Florida.

    The ROV I designed is in the 'Living Seas' Exhibit at Disney World Epcot in Orlando. Exhibitors can manipulate the ROV to take photos, of the corals, fish, etc. This was one of the best times I've had besides testing torpedoes at the AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Center- U.S. NAVY testing base in Andros, Bahamas) http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/What-We-Do/Detachments/AUTEC/ . This would give you a foundation of sorts to get you started at least in Naval engineering and design. I would guess getting a 4-5 year NAVY gig (officer training) would allow you some latitude in submarine work/design, etc.
     
  18. Aug 31, 2017 #17
    Oceaneering International is another marine engineering firm that has done lots of underwater work.
     
  19. Aug 31, 2017 #18

    berkeman

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    It's a good thing there were no people on board! :wink:
     
  20. Aug 31, 2017 #19
    Had a chuckle...poor choice of words... Perry Oceanographic went out of business and the engineers formed Sea Robotics. :sorry:
     
  21. Sep 1, 2017 #20
    Thank you for so many replies and advice, but there are no marine engineering, or naval architecture universities in the state where I live, Florida. I think universities, in general, have affordable lodging programs for students who don't live nearby, am I correct?
     
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