Submarines are a form of watercraft with the ability to operate autonomously below the water surface. Wikipedia states that the name submarine actually derives from an adjective with the meaning ‘under the sea’. There is a vast range of particular submarines, with some being able to submerge underwater from just a couple of hours to a matter of months. With the first submarine being built in the year 1620 by a Dutchman named Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel, these ingenious sub aquatic contraptions continue to be built and powered in an impressive way.
Submarines that were built in previous times would have normally been powered by a diesel engine when travelling on the surface of the water, switching to battery power once they became submerged. However, a nuclear reactor powers the modern day submarine. The changes of power from previous to recent times have proved beneficial. This is due to the diesel engine causing a trail of offensive exhaust smoke when cruising the water surface, which then resulted in the submarine revealing its position too easily.
With the powering of a nuclear reactor, the submarines are more concealed and are able to withstand long periods of time underwater, without surfacing regularly. The nuclear reactors work alongside reduction gearing and steam turbines that work simultaneously to drive the main propeller shaft. The main propeller shaft works to supply the forward and reverse effect in the water. If a submarine meets an emergency or a moment for docking, an electric motor will drive the main propeller shaft instead.
The equipment on board a submarine is powered by electric power, provided by diesel engines or the more modern nuclear reactor. As well as this, batteries may often be used to advance electricity on board. It is possible for the batteries alone to run the submarine, but this will only ever be necessary if an emergency is encountered. Nuclear reactors are the main choice for the power of a submarine because they do not require oxygen, thus allowing the submarine to stay immersed in the water for a considerable amount of time.
Although it is still achievable to run a submarine with a diesel engine, nuclear reactors are much more advantageous due to the nuclear fuel lasting much longer than that of diesel fuel. This makes long expeditions entirely possible with no problems in between. Aside from this factor, submarines that run on nuclear power can travel underwater with no issues, but the diesel submarine can only descend to the depths of the sea when the batteries are fully charged.