Military ship travels 60 mph with almost no wake

Dig this: The Department of Defense is developing a ship that can travel at high speeds while producing virtually no wake. It’s called the “M Hull” ship, because its hull is composed of four arches laid sidelong, like two Ms. According to the manufacturers — the M Ship Co. — the arches channel the water into spirals, which reduce drag, improve efficiency, and ease the transition from slow to high speeds. But they also impart an element of stealth, as their press release notes:

The M-hull geometry is designed to capture the bow wave, which is a significant component of the wave pattern around a ship. By capturing the bow wave, the vapour/fluid flow field passively dampens the visible and acoustic signature of the vessel. The stern wake energy that moves away from the ship through the momentum transfer process of water molecules is inhibited by the presence of millions of captured air bubbles under and trailing the ship. In the same way, noise from the vessel’s passage and its machinery is reduced.

Here’s a story about it with a cool graphic illustrating the water spirals.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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