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Titan Tragedy UPSC NOTE


What is the difference between a submarine and a submersible?

  • A submarine refers to an underwater vehicle that is largely independent and has power reserves to help it depart from a port or come back to the port after an expedition. 

  • Meanwhile, a submersible an underwater vehicle, which is generally smaller in size and has less power, so it needs to work with a ship in order to be launched and recovered. 

How was the Titan submersible operated?

  • Titan is made of carbon fibre and titanium, and weighs 10,432 kilograms.

  •  It is capable of going 4,000 metres undersea, and moves as fast as three knots per hour (5.56 kph). 

  • Based on images from the company website, there is space for five crew members to sit on the floor, though not stand. 

  • While there is a small porthole window at one end, below 1,000 metres no sunlight reaches the ocean so the submersible would have to rely on its own lighting. 

  • It’s pressure vessel was made of a combination of titanium and composite carbon fibre. 

  • This is somewhat unusual from a structural engineering perspective since, in a deep diving context, titanium and carbon fibre are materials with vastly different properties.

  • Titanium is elastic and can adapt to an extended range of stresses without any measurable permanent strain remaining after the return to atmospheric pressure. 

  • It shrinks to adjust to pressure forces, and re-expands as these forces are alleviated.

  • A carbon-fibre composite, on the other hand, is much stiffer and does not have the same kind of elasticity.

  • We can only speculate about what happened with the combination of these two technologies, which do not dynamically behave the same way under pressure.

  • But what we can say almost certainly is that there would have been some kind of loss of integrity due to the differences between these materials. 

  • A composite material could potential suffer from “delamination”, which leads to a separation of the layers of reinforcement.

  • This would have created a defect which triggered an instantaneous implosion due to the underwater pressure. 

  • Within less than one second, the vessel — being pushed down on by the weight of a 3,800m column of water — would have immediately crumpled in from all sides.

  • The company has explained that “off-the-shelf” technology helped make it easier to replace parts. 

  • While it may sound strange that a submersible on such a high-risk expedition was operated with a gaming-style controller, the fact is that such devices are also used by some drone operators, navy personnel, and robot operators.

    • Game controllers are cheap, easy to buy in bulk, designed to be intuitive, and respond quickly to the users’ hand movements.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Titan Tragedy UPSC NOTE
Titan Tragedy UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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