You gotta hope

That is was quick…an implosion or a fast leak, rather than slow suffocation in the freezing cold, trapped in a 20 foot cylinder as the air slowly ran out.


I mean, really, the latter seems like a bad way to go.


12 thoughts on “You gotta hope

  1. Implosion or a penetration would at least be fast. Slow suffocation, as the CO^2 increased and the O^2 decreased, would be nasty.

    • Not really. With increasing CO2 levels, you start to go into a semi stupor and a sleep like state. Once the CO2 levels kill you, you will have been unconscious for a good while and will be effectively anaesthetised.

      Based on the experiences and research conducted on submariners during the two world wars where they were subject to such conditions.

      If the submersible reached crush depth, then the sudden overpressure as the hull collapsed would be an instant “lights out” and they would have been dead before they knew it.

    • I doubt you could open the hatch. Generally, the outside pressure keeps it shut.

      • Well, 370+ Atm works out to…around 5500 psi.
        And it kind of depends on the internal arrangement.
        Outward-opening top hatch? No chance.
        Inward-opening bottom hatch? Over in about half a second, if you can undog the locking lugs.

        You’d have thought they’d have a means of dropping ballast to float free, but they may have become entangled.

        Pisser, any which way.
        Still kind of belongs in the “Play Stupid Games” file.

        • 5439 (14.7 per ATM) psi times say, 24″ diameter hatch.
          You apparently can use a calculator, so you tell me how you would open that hatch with about a half million pounds of force holding it shut. Or move the “locking bars”…(hint: It opens outward for a reason).

          But I too thought there’s got be some way to let a bunch of ballast go.

          And, of course, you don’t give up until there are no other options….Which, apparently hasn’t happened…yet.

          • Some subs have only a top hatch.
            That’d have been a no go.

            Some have a bottom hatch, for exiting at shallower depths.

            That brings up the problem of pressurizing to match.

            As I said, I don’t know the internal arrangement of this p.o.s.

            But as noted above in subsequent posts, either a window opened or the hull suffered catastrophic failure and that 5500 psi opened a new hatch.

            Over in about 0.2 seconds.

            But it was all diversity-built!

    • It was reported that even if the “sub” surfaced on it’s own, they would suffocate because they could not open the hatch from the inside.

  2. I guess they could shutoff the heat and freeze to death.
    But me, I’d be trying to come up with a solution until I died. Survival instinct and all.

  3. Since it’s a sealed environment, theoretically it’s possible to very rapidly vary the external environment by multiple orders of magnitude, as in “anything from 12K foot depth to sea level” within a few seconds. Such a rapid transition rather than slow pressure transitions might cause severe damage to the hull endering it instant scrap but in an emergency working successfully only once would be adequate.

    Meaning, “the big red button” that releases the the emergency ballast to bring it back to 0 feet ASAP should work. Assuming there was one included in the design and other factors – entanglement, other system failures, etc. – were not involved (Including the human factor stuff – might someone mentally and emotionally unprepared for that operating environment suffered a “suddenly compromised mental state” that led to operating errors?)

    However it goes (or went….) I hope it’s recoverable, if for no other reason than a lot can probably be learned from the event. I’m suspicious about the use of carbon fiber for the hull; on paper it probably looks great, but carbon fiber construction is a complex system of interlaced mutually-supporting crystalline structures that while we do know a whole lot about it, I’m not convinced we know enough, at least under the operating conditions this thing was attempting. I would think some specific areas of concern would be the interfaces between dissimilar materials, like viewing portholes, hatches and through-hull packings that almost certainly perform differently at pressure than the CFin the hull structure. I’m reminded of an early British jet airliner (can’t remember the maker or model designation) that slide ruled out perfectly but started suffering tail structure failure at about 1600 hours of operation from metal fatigue due to concentration of small-cycle harmonic vibration that, IIRC, was related to high frequency impulses from the higher RPM of a jet turbine rather than the greater amplitude of lower frequency vibrations from reciprocating engines.

    Anon 2

    • I’m pretty sure the takeaway lesson will be “Hire engineers and workers for competence, rather than diversity.”

      Yoda’s Axiom applies.
      Mother Nature doesn’t grade on a curve at 370Atm.
      Or anywhere else.

Comments are closed.