top of page

Submarine Shapes

How submarine shapes affect efficiency


One of the most important aspects of submarine design is the shape of the hull, which affects both the hydrodynamic performance and the structural integrity of the vessel. Different shapes of submarines have different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the mission and environment of the submarine. The most common shape of modern submarines is the teardrop or cigar shape, which is hydro-dynamically efficient for submerged operation. This shape reduces the drag and noise of the submarine, allowing for higher speeds and stealthier movements. The teardrop shape also distributes the pressure evenly over the hull, making it more resistant to collapse at depth. However, this shape has some drawbacks, such as poor surface stability, reduced internal volume, and increased vulnerability to torpedoes. Another shape of submarines is the double-hull design, which consists of an inner pressure hull and an outer light hull. The outer hull provides a more ship-like shape for surface navigation, as well as additional protection and buoyancy for the inner hull. The inner hull contains all the vital systems and crew spaces, and is designed to withstand the external pressure at depth. The double-hull design offers more internal space, better surface performance, and greater survivability than the single-hull design, but it also increases the weight, cost, and complexity of the submarine. A third shape of submarines is the spherical or cylindrical shape, which is mainly used for research or exploration submersibles. These shapes are structurally efficient for withstanding high pressures, as they have no corners or edges that can cause stress concentrations. They also have a large surface area to volume ratio, which allows for more windows or sensors to observe the surroundings. However, these shapes are not very hydrodynamic, and they create a lot of drag and turbulence when moving through water. They also have limited maneuverability and speed compared to other shapes. Submarine shapes are determined by various factors, such as hydrodynamics, structure, functionality, and cost. Each shape has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the purpose and environment of the submarine. Therefore, there is no single best shape for all submarines, but rather a trade-off between different design criteria.

bottom of page