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August 27, 2014

US oil production again reaches a new post mid-1980s record

US total all liquids oil and crude oil daily production again reached new post mid-1980s peaks. Crude oil production was at 8.63 million barrels per day. It is about 320,000 barrels per day from passing the mid-1980s peak. The overall US peak production was in 1970 at about 9.6 million barrels per day.

North Dakota oil 1.09 million barrels in June 2014. North Dakota oil production is believed to be about 1.2 million barrels per day in August.

North Dakota and Texas oil production is driving the increases in US oil production.




New Cray GPU supercomputer will provide a petaflop of power in 4 Cabinets

[HPCWire] The new Cray CS-Storm, which offers up to 8 NVIDIA K40s per 2U server and a peak performance of 11 teraflops per Ivy Bridge-outfitted node, is set to push key applications that require more GPU scalability to new heights.

The system, which is based on the Cray CS300 super, is designed to keep the accelerators cool enough to operate at full speed. The 48U standard rack can accommodate 22 of the 2U nodes, which means that with 2 Ivy Bridges and the GPUs, users are looking at around 250 teraflops per rack or a petaflop of performance for a 4-cabinet purchase. Cray’s Barry Bolding told us that the company will release more information on future Intel generations for the host processor.

It’s not just about adding GPUs into the dense mix with this system, however. Cray has tuned the GPU workloads they’re targeting for maximum bandwidth and accelerator performance on the cooling and data movement fronts with a couple of notable features.

While these are air-cooled systems, as the graphic below shows, the emphasis is on cooling through front to back airflow to keep the GPUs humming without overheating or without having to run them at reduced wattage. In addition to airflow, this allows for expandability options since it will be possible to add future generations of accelerators into the box while still allowing the desired density and the ability to cool all 8 of the GPUs at the same time.



Cruising at Mach 3 or a bit more with a supercativation submarine

What power is needed to get to mach 3 constant velocity for a supercativating submarine ? A Supercativating submarine could in theory achieve about 3600 miles per hour but powering the propulsion is a technical challenge.

Goatguy provides the energy for water displaced, times its density, times ½, times its outward radial velocity squared would be the amount of energy invested every second in the slipstream bubble's frontal profile. Maybe more, but this is kind of a minimum. The drag for supercativiation is 200,000 times less so the water displacement is an approximation.

The 1,000 meter per second bullet with a 20° cone uses 1,500,000 J/s (watts) of energy to perpetually keep its 1000 m/s velocity. That is due entirely to the displaced water, and its outward radial velocity dependent on the angle-of-attack of the frontal cone. There's no provision for invested-energy recycling (allowing the collapse of the bubble to propel the tail, to whatever degree water dynamics allows such action), but I'm betting the situation isn't much better at that end, either. Maybe what, get back 70% of the energy? That'd be nice. So, maybe 500,000 W to keep the bullet flying.

And that's a bullet with a cross section of π × 0.0045² m². Now wait a moment: here's the bad news … at the cross-section of a useful human scale sub (5 meters across, which is pretty cramped, considering all that nuclear reactor equipment and such needs also to be on board), the ratio is (D/d)² or (5 ÷ 0.0045)² = 300,000× larger. 300,000 × 500,000 W = 150 billion watts. Assuming that you get back 70% of the invested displacement energy.

German Type VII U-boat submarines were 4.7 meter across at the beam for their pressurized hull

The longest submarine was the USS Triton which were 136 meters long.

A MUCH pointier cone (4°, it only requires 4 gigawatts of motive energy. Well, at 1°, where the ship is 100× longer than it is wide (500 meters long, for a 5 meter wide ship.), you're still looking at 500 megawatts of energy to keep the thing chugging along at Mach3.

I do not think the 1° submarine is unreasonable.

August 26, 2014

DARPA 5 beyond GPS technologies for position, navigation and timing

As revolutionary as GPS has been, however, it has its limitations. GPS signals cannot be received underground or underwater and can be significantly degraded or unavailable during solar storms. More worrisome is that adversaries can jam signals. GPS continues to be vital, but its limitations in some environments could make it an Achilles’ heel if warfighters rely on it as their sole source of PNT information. To address this problem, several DARPA programs are exploring innovative technologies and approaches that could eventually provide reliable, highly accurate PNT capabilities when GPS capabilities are degraded or unavailable.

DARPA’s current PNT portfolio includes five programs, focused wholly or in part on PNT-related technology:

1. Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) is developing new algorithms and architectures for rapid plug-and-play integration of PNT sensors across multiple platforms, with the intent to reduce development costs and shrink deployment time from months to days. ANS aims to create better inertial measurement devices by using cold-atom interferometry, which measures the relative acceleration and rotation of a cloud of atoms stored within a sensor. The goal is to leverage quantum physical properties to create extremely accurate inertial measurement devices that can operate for long periods without needing external data to determine time and position. Additionally, ANS seeks to exploit non-navigational electromagnetic signals--including commercial satellite, radio and television signals and even lightning strikes--to provide additional points of reference for PNT. In combination, these various sources are much more abundant and have stronger signals than GPS, and so could provide position information in both GPS-denied and GPS-degraded environments.


DARPA is pioneering the next-generation of PNT capabilities beyond GPS, which includes using miniaturization, pulsed lasers, quantum physics and even lightning strikes for external navigational fixes.

DARPA aims to safely make engineered biological systems more robust and stable to enable new groundbreaking capabilities

The development of increasingly sophisticated techniques and tools to sequence, synthesize and manipulate genetic material has led to the rapidly maturing discipline of synthetic biology. To date, work in synthetic biology has focused primarily on manipulating individual species of domesticated organisms to perform specific tasks, such as producing medicines or fuels. These species tend to be both relatively fragile (requiring precise environmental conditions to survive) and relatively unstable (subject to losing their engineered advantages through genetic attrition or recombination). The costs of maintaining required environmental controls and detecting and compensating for genetic alterations are substantial and severely limit the widespread application of synthetic biology to U.S. national security missions.

To help address these challenges, DARPA has created the Biological Robustness in Complex Settings (BRICS) program. BRICS seeks to develop the fundamental understanding and component technologies needed to increase the biological robustness and stability of engineered organisms while maintaining or enhancing the safe application of those organisms in complex biological environments. The goal is to create the technical foundation for future engineered biological systems to achieve greater biomedical, industrial and strategic potential.


DARPA’s Biological Robustness in Complex Settings (BRICS) program seeks to develop the fundamental understanding and component technologies needed to increase the biological robustness and stability of engineered organisms while maintaining or enhancing the safe use of those organisms in complex biological environments. The goal is to create the technical foundation for future engineered biological systems to achieve greater biomedical, industrial and strategic potential.

Supercavitation projectiles potentially have 200,000 less drag than a regular object in water

Here is a summary of supercavitation an article from Caltech written in 2001.

This relates to a recent report that chinese researchers have made progress overcoming a few of the problems for implementing supercativation.

For ships traveling faster than 60 miles per hour, propeller-induced cavitation is unavoidable. Supercavitation offers a solution.

In supercavitation, the small gas bubbles produced by cavitation expand and combine to for mone large, stable, and predictable bubble around the supercavitating object. The bubble is longer than the object, so only the leading edge of the object actually contacts liquid water. The rest of the object is surrounded by low-pressure water vapor, significantly lowering the drag on the super-cavitating object. Modern propellers intentionally induce supercavitation to reap the benefits of lower drag.

A super cavity can also form around a specially designed projectile. The key is creating a zone of low pressure around the entire object by carefully shaping the nose and firing the projectile at a sufficiently high velocity. At high velocity , water flows off the edge of the nose with a speed and angle that prevent it from wrapping around the surface of the projectile, producing a low-pressure bubble around the object. With an appropriate nose shape and a speed over 110 miles per hour, the entire projectile may reside in a vapor cavity.

Since drag is proportional to the density of the surrounding fluid, the drag on a super-cavitating projectile is dramatically reduced, allowing supercavitating projectiles to attain higher speeds than conventional projectiles. In water , a rough approximation predicts that a supercavitating projectile has 200,000 times less skin friction than a normal projectile. The potential applications are impressive.

Water has 1000 times more drag than air. Supercaviation has the potential for an enclosed object in water to attain higher speed. The speed of sound is 5 times higher in water than in air.

Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chinese supersonic supercavitating submarine with molten salt nuclear reactors

[South China Morning Post] China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.

Since drag is proportional to the density of the surrounding fluid, the drag on a super-cavitating projectile is dramatically reduced, allowing supercavitating projectiles to attain higher speeds than conventional projectiles. In water , a rough approximation predicts that a supercavitating projectile has 200,000 times less skin friction than a normal projectile. The potential applications are impressive.

Here we will describe the advances that the chinese researchers have made towards practical supercavitating submarines and the need for molten salt nuclear reactors to power them. Molten salt nuclear reactors are under commercial development in Canada, China and other countries. Molten salt reactors could achieve 50 times the power density of current nuclear reactors used in nuclear submarines.

A 650 MW thermal integrated molten salt reactor with a supercritical CO2 turbine would have about 400 MWe of power with about 200 tons of weight. This would be about 2 kW per kg.

There have been other molten salt designs with about 18 KW of power per liter. Those are early generation designs and the engineers believe that they can ultimately achieve power density of about 100 kW per liter.

On the issue of wildlife in the ocean, the submarines would need to find a depth where there is less sealife. There would also be the need for satellite and other technology to scan the path ahead. Also, beacons could be placed that make sealife clear out for a specified safe path.

New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater.

Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team's innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air "bubble" required for rapid underwater travel. "We are very excited by its potential," he said

Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft.

However, during the cold war, the Soviet military developed a technology called supercavitation, which involves enveloping a submerged vessel inside an air bubble to avoid problems caused by water drag.

A Soviet supercavitation torpedo called Shakval was able to reach a speed of 370km/h or more - much faster than any other conventional torpedoes.

The United States is known to be developing vessels and weapons that employ supercavitation technology. Technology reportedly under development at the Office of Naval Research includes a 6.25-inch-diameter self-protection weapon under study for a supercavitation counter-torpedo to defend surface ships and submarines.

The U.S. Navy Advanced High Speed Underwater Munition program has already demonstrated the effectiveness of supercavitation high-speed underwater bullets. When fired from an underwater gun, these projectiles have successfully broken the 767 mph speed of sound in water. Supercavitation bullets have also been developed for use in mine-clearance when fired from a helicopter

In theory, a supercavitating vessel could reach the speed of sound underwater, or about 5,800km/h, which would reduce the journey time for a transatlantic underwater cruise to less than an hour, and for a transpacific journey to about 100 minutes, according to a report by California Institute of Technology in 2001.