Chinese scientists have reportedly developed a technology to make supersonic submarines, capable of covering the distance between Shanghai and San Francisco in a mere one hour and 40 minutes.
A team of researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has developed the technology that can make it easier for submarines or even torpedoes to travel very high speeds.
Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, told South China Morning Post that the newly developed research has made it possible to easily create the complicated air "bubble", which is required for rapid underwater travel.
"We are very excited by its potential," he pointed out.
Since water produces more friction on an object than air, it is conventionally difficult for submarines to travel as fast as an aircraft.
The Harbin Institute researchers have been working to address the issue of speed underwater, and Fengchen and his team have now found innovative means of achieving it.
Fengchen stated that when a supersonic submarine hits water, one of its mechanisms will constantly spray a "special liquid membrane" all over the object's surface. This membrane will eventually wear off but by then it would have reached the speed of 75km/h.
At this speed it is going fast enough to generate an air bubble, capable of helping it cover previously unknown distances, Fengchen emphasized.
The technology is really promising, considering that the fact it means a trip across the Pacific Ocean would take a mere 100 minutes, while a transatlantic journey could be undertaken in less than an hour.
"By combining liquid-membrane technology with supercavitation, we can significantly reduce the launch challenges and make cruising control easier."
The research on this futurist supersonic vessel is still ongoing. Fengchen noted that there are still aspects of the underwater carrier, such as a powerful underwater rocket engine which has to be developed to give the vessel a longer range.