One of the most important factors to reduce the fuel consumption of ships and to increase their efficiency and speed is the “Drag”. In simple terms, drag is the resistance generated against the ship as it sails through water. Thus, lower the drag, greater the speed of the ship.
Recently, researchers have come up with a solution wherein they would use “Leidenfrost Effect” to make massive merchant cargo ships sail smoothly and at faster speeds through the water.
Leidenfrost Effect is a phenomenon, wherein a liquid produces an insulating vapour layer when it comes in contact with a super-heated solid surface. The vapour layer prevents the liquid from boiling further and produces a cushion with lesser friction.
The Leidenfrost effect reduces the drag to a great extent by reducing the friction between the hull and water. This would not only increase the speed of the vessel but would also reduce the fuel consumption.
Though the concept sounds innovative, there a few drawbacks to it. Some of the negative points we could think of are:
- The first question is how to keep the temperature of a ship’s hull continuously about its boiling point.
- The material and system used for making such hull might increase the manufacturing costs to a great extent; in fact to such a level so as to equalize the amount saved on marine fuels.
- Will the high temperature of hull be not harmful to the marine life?
- How much maintenance cost would the system demand?
Definitely there are many things to work on and several more questions to be answered by the makers, before we could see the concept into action.
You may also like to read-Function of Anti-fouling Paint and Factors to Apply it