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Submarines, personal or otherwise, come in 3 varieties:1. Wet - you bring your own scuba rig, you get wet, and you are exposed to ambient pressure. A "swimmer delivery vehicle" is an example.2. Ambient dry - you are in what amounts to a mobile diving bell. The air inside is compressed to the same pressure as the surrounding water; but you are dry, and staying warm is simplified. Leaving the sub while submerged is simpler as is returning to the sub; but depth is limited and surfacing needs to be done at a pace consistent with decompression tables. Ambient dry subs generally stay close to the surface, for safety reasons; but they have the advantage that they can be much lighter, simplifying towing it on a trailer to your dive site, as they rely on air pressure to resist water pressure.3. 1 atmosphere dry (also known as shirt sleeves) - you are dry and pressure in the hull remains consistent with the pressure on the surface. These rely upon the strength of the hull to resist water pressure.Assuming what you have in mind is for carrying one or more human beings, and not as a remotely operated vehicle, large propane tanks have been successfully used as pressure hulls. You will want to calculate volume carefully, and I would recommend you calculate buoyancy using distilled water as your assumed medium, so that you will have enough reserve buoyancy to be able to surface in the event that salinity is lower than you assumed in your calculations. Definitely use drop weights of greater mass than your ballast tanks. Assume a worst case that your ballast tanks are structurally compromised, so that you can still surface. Ditching at depth is not something you want to have to do.
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Posted:Jan 30, 2009
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