Underwater Power From Aluminum

[+] Author and Article Information
F. H. Bobb

Florida Research and Development Center, Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, West Palm Beach, Fla.

J. Eng. Ind 90(2), 255-260 (May 01, 1968) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3604622 History: Received August 01, 1967; Online August 25, 2011


A thermochemical power system having the highest theoretical performance (hp-hr/cu ft propellants) and particularly suited for underwater applications (power, heat, and propulsion) is described. In this system aluminum is reacted exothermally with sea-water to produce gaseous exhaust products, hydrogen-and steam. The exhaust products are expanded through a prime mover to produce shaft horsepower, or a combustion process can be added before the prime mover to convert the hydrogen to steam for applications that require condensable exhaust products. Open cycle (shallow depth operation) and closed cycle (deep depth operation) systems are described. The technique for reacting aluminum and water at low temperatures is discussed and aluminum-water reaction test data are presented. Design concepts of practical systems are shown, and typical power systems are compared relative to total energy, volume, and weight.

Copyright © 1968 by ASME
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