Move Along Airplanes – Submarines Overtake Travel

Stainless, Steel

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China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours. Not much is known about the team’s progress because it is a military project, but the SCMP reports that Germany, Iran and the US are working on similar projects.

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The team from the Harbin Institute of Technology was inspired by a supersonic torpedo invented by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Water yields more friction on an object than air, which should mean that a submerged boat or weapon could never travel at the same speed as an airplane.

But the Soviet military figured out how to put a missile inside an air bubble to cheat this rule of science — a process known as ‘supercavitation’. They created the Shakval, a torpedo that could reach speeds of over 379 km/h, much faster than any other torpedo available.

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The Chinese team, led by engineering professor Li Fengchen, sought to apply the same process to a submarine by overcoming two central problems. The submarine would need to be launched at speeds of up to 100 km/h in order to generate the air bubble. It would also require very advanced steering because the ship’s rudder would be inside the bubble, not touching the water. The answer was found in the form of a manmade liquid membrane that would cover the submarine’s surface. The result is a vessel that could reach the speed of sound, crossing the entire Pacific Ocean in approximately 100 minutes. Once supercavitation is harnessed, it could be incorporated into any underwater activity.

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Shanghai Metal manufactures the stainless steel used in submarine hull manufacturing. To find out more, please visit our websiteLinkedInTwitter, Facebook and Instagram. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code.

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Sources: SCMP, Elite Daily

Siobhan R.// SMC Editor

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To Escalate Or Not To Escalate? That Is The Question

Stainless, Steel

We’ve all been there. Rushing to catch that last train, looking to rush down and escalator – but wait. Someone is standing in the walking lane. Great. Will you say something? That is indeed the question.

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Escalator etiquette differs from country to country. Tokyo considered banning walking on escalators but it was never enforced.  And in the UK, people of a certain age will remember the chilling public information films of the 1970’s that featured a pair of children’s blue wellington boots getting sucked into the machinery. “Stand still and don’t walk down,” it urged. Confusingly walking on the left is signposted in the UK nowadays and is adhered to by 90% of people according to a The University of Greenwich study in 2011.

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In Toronto tension has been defused since the signs telling people to walk on the left were removed, says commuter Tom Robertson. “You can tell some people get a little annoyed when they are standing behind someone on the left but I’ve never seen anyone say anything about it. I think many people have forgotten about the signs.”

rushhour1Conversely, Shanghai defeats all of these social norms, and it was measured that just 2.6% adhere to the stand right walk left custom, despite yellow lines being painted along the escalator steps. Additionally Australia turns the system on its head by walking right and standing left. In Wyoming it’s a non issue as there are only two escalators in the entire state.

So what is there to do to standardize this seemingly universal etiquette? You would be urgently but ever so politely be told to move aside in London, whereas in Shanghai more likely you would be pushed or elbowed in submission – whether you were in the way or not.  

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So what is the solution? There are walkers and standers as Michael Bloomberg Mayor of New York has said – he always walks on escalators. And since they study says walkers are the minority (25% in London, 3% in Shanghai), ultimately they shouldn’t get to dictate the rules – so the silent majority of standers prevails.

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Shanghai Metal manufactures value added steel bars used in the production of escalators. To find out more, please visit our websiteLinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

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You can also read more articles by our team at SMC:

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Sources: BBC, BWG

Siobhan R.// SMC Editor