September 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm #690
My love of seasteading and aquaculture got me to thinking. If fish nets can be placed 60 feet below the surface to avoid storm impacts, could not the same thing occur with smaller seasteads (like Wayne’s Low-Cost and Vince’s Ball House designs)? If we can make these things completely water-tight, and seriously, it’s a good idea anyway, adjusting the ballast could sink us just far enough underwater to stay out of harms way from major storms. For those that wanted to stay in one place, or with some freak storm with little warning, a solution like this may be the most cost effective option. Instead of spending huge sums on propelling the living structure UP 100 feet, we could work out ways of spending less money making the structure submerisble.
Thoughts?September 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm #3761
I had made a drawing of a design like that that was simimlar to waynes low cost design. Indeed it would be convenient to escape storms that way, but you end up extending quite some distance below the surface, which means high pressure, which might be expensive to accomodate. You nee da variable ballast system to surface, and if it fails, you have a big problem. Further, windows are probably out of the question, so no natural light.
I Havnt complete given up on it yet, but there are some serious drawbacks, and i doubt it will turn out to be the most cost effective way to live on the open ocean.September 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm #3763
Two thoughts on submerssed seascapes.
1. You life there, that means you are “trapped” and never get fresh air (just recycled), or light or sea breeze or open space. Doesn’t sound like fun even if you have a political utopia.
2. Being that far under water you have to have such exact engineering. One small leak at that pressure and your seascape floods almst instantly. Plus it has to be far more expensive to make a waterproof (and waterproof for 10 or 20 years) roof it is one more demension to worry about.
A large flat surface is the best living space, and it should be as close to square as possible (a cube would be best but an inverted pryamid is better for cost).
If your structure is a walkway and a house, you are forgetting that people move, they want to run, explore, grow things, etc. To trap them on a 8 foot wide space for the rest of their lives in the middle of nowhere is going to be a bad thing.September 8, 2008 at 10:14 pm #3765
Interesting idea. A sphere shaped structure is obviously optimal for resisting pressure. Attach floodable water ballast tanks to sink the sphere and a smaller flotation buoy on a flexible bungy cord on the surface to maintain an approximate depth below the waves. And a hose with a snorkel on the buoy to suck down air.
The question is probably whether the extra engineering is worth it. I mean if you are often experiencing storms maybe you should just park somewhere else.September 8, 2008 at 11:10 pm #3767
I’m definitely not advocating a permanent underwater solution, but rather, a temporary, avoid-the-storm one. I believe that one of the largest aspects of cost for a spar designed seastead was avoiding 100 foot waves caused by rough weather and seas, and I was trying to think of ways to reduce that cost by perhaps putting some of that capital into making the solution less aboout staying above them, bobbing around, but rather going beneath them, and for a couple days at most, weathering from below.
No solution is ideal, as you would have spent a great deal of money on things you hope to never have to use, but then again, that’s just what insurance is.
If I can switch from All-State (100 foot spar design) to GEICO (submersible ball house) and save some green, I think investigating those options has merit.September 8, 2008 at 11:15 pm #3768
It will all come down to cost and comfort level. Some people would not be comfortable stuck in an enclosed ball 60 feet below the water during a hurricane, even if it was less expensive, but calmer, than creating a spar design that elevated the living area 100 feet above the water.
Some people would rather have the opposite, even if it cost more.
There will never be a one size fits all solution to these matters, or any matter.
I just thought getting the ole noodle going and exploring different possibilities could help uncover other things I hadn’t thought of.September 9, 2008 at 11:12 am #3771
You don’t have to make the seastead fully submersible. In fact, such a structurally determinant feature should be permanent and never temporary, because then you can detect any failure before you actually need it to work.
One obvious way to fend off huge waves is to decouple the stead from the waves as much as possible. This usually means reducing the frontal area of the stead that is exposed to the waves, but this can also be achieved in a completely different way than making it into a tall thin pillar in the wave action area: make the stead’s overall density as close to seawater’s density as possible – roughly above it, so it floats very low on the water.
This way, rising and lowering water level will have little heaving effect on the stead. In a severe storm, it will basically just progressively “sink” and stay at the bottom of waves’ valleys while the troughs pass well over it, as the waves grow bigger and bigger. The only feature required then is a waterproof main door, which is easy to check and requires much less engineering than a temporary full-submersible capability.
I think the best solution would be to ballast “down” during storm and close the door so the stead floats very low, 95% of every wave would then just wash well over it. When the storm calms down we can ballast back “up”. And at no point do you need the stead to be negatively buoyant (which introduces a dangerous runaway failure mode that you cannot test against until you need the feature to work).September 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm #3790
I really like the submersible idea for another reason: defense. The ability to hide underwater, especially if we could relocate while underwater, would protect us from everything from pirates to a nuclear strike (if deep and lucky enough). The only thing to defend against would be torpedos and depth charges, but hopefully a submarine-tugboat could reposition us to keep our location unknown. I’m thinking we’d have a 3D lattice of spheres that can attach to each other with ports in six directions. One develops a leak and it can be abandoned for a neighboring sphere until it can be repaired. Each can have a separate ballast system to compensate should another sphere’s fail.September 11, 2008 at 8:33 pm #3794
The problem is that the architecture for a submersible structure and a surface one are very different. When you are on the surface, you want to be open to the sun and wind and spread out over a large area. But when you are underwater, you need to be compact (spherical or cylindrical) and air-tight. So you’ll either have something that is shaped in a problematic way for one of the two states, or the difficult engineering problem of building a transformer.
That said, it’s not impossible. I could imagine a huge sphere that opened to the sun when floating and closed when submerged. You could avoid big storms, as well as incoming attacks that way. But I don’t think it will reduce your costs – submarines are very expensive! Also, a shape like a ball which works well submerged has high wave coupling and will be uncomfortable in medium waves – enough to shake you around, but not to be worth submerging.September 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm #3795
And at no point do you need the stead to be negatively buoyant (which introduces a dangerous runaway failure mode that you cannot test against until you need the feature to work).
That can be solved fairly easily: just attach a buoy to a normally slack piece of cable, and make it so that even if the ballast tanks are flooded completely, this buoy and cable could easily handle it.
But yeah, designing for underwater isnt easy. There are significant advantages too, but im not sure its worth it.September 12, 2008 at 11:31 am #3801
Why not halve it ? Have the low half be bulky and closed, and use it for storage (water+fuel+grain+oil tanks) and heavy utilities like the watermaker, batteries and so forth (it would be easily accessible to boats in calm weather), and have another half kept well above, with a light, flat and low profile design that maximizes surface and strength to weight and frontal surface, for housing, crop, communication tools and other things.
Figure a big bulky sphere floating very low, with a long light (hyperboloid ?) truss above it keeping a light platform 32 meters above the waves.
In medium waves, the higher coupling is mitigated by the high inertia of the heavy, low floating shape against the reduced (squared with scale ?) force of the wave. If a big enough sphere, the rounded top could act as a gentle breakwater around the access hatch, too.September 13, 2008 at 6:10 am #3802
The extra buoy would need to displace enough water to float both itself and the mostly-flooded main buoy. That would make the extra buoy about double the displacement of the main buoy, and you’d still need to deal with flooding of the main, living-quarters buoy.September 13, 2008 at 6:15 am #3803
Do you suppose a modern navy (or even any old fishing boat) would have trouble locating underwater vessels? True, some sonar is better than others, but navies have excellent sonar.
That said, an underwater escape capsule is an interesting idea.September 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm #3819
I don’t know much about sonar, but I assumed being underwater would be a huge advantage if they didn’t know where we where in the first place or had enough warning to set off in a random direction before they got to the area. But yeah, I assumed if they had a good idea where we were already, it was a loss. Is there any anti-sonar technology?
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