Concrete submarine

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by waterchopper, Sep 24, 2008.

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  1. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    I know you won't answer my questions because there are no good answers.

    History is littered with MILLIONS of failed products,of which yours will add to that total.

    Some friendly advice-I know it's good to follow dreams and such,but this is just a road to ruin and a wasted life.

    Give it up,before you get yourself killed.
  2. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Colombia

    wellmer New Member

    I don't see much benefit for anybody of having long discussions on diesel engine installation in a marine vessel.... all what is to say is in the basic engineering books...

    a two circuit cooling is fine on a submarine yacht.... talk it with a local diesel mechanic...

    Wiring is basicly the same as in a yacht, dive controls much like BEN FRANKLIN - the concept is open for individual solutions of the hull owner.


    The same as in a yacht - air treatment according the taste of the owner - general line : 180.000 liter of fresh air is a lot of life support for a small crew - do the math - physiological breathing rate in liter /minute - how many minutes of life support your crew got with a load of fresh air? - answer much more than you need - have a emergency life support chemical reserve - no big deal on a big sub.


    Marine safety gear (waiting on the anchor deployment system to be displayed) = "NO comment"

    What is required (oriented on yacht) - no big deal no big theme.


    We had that already - more than 80% of compareable vessels are not third party insured.

    I understand the subversive trick to bring up a "requirement" that by nature only "of the shelf vessels" can aquire to create a "show stopper" that no new development can pass. You lost a project that way? - is this the reason why you insist?


    What i say means what i say - we have all the necessary papers.
  3. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    I have answered all questions that could bring up a intelligent and informative talk - if i missed one which one? - i accept that i sometimes only scan over the trash comments very quickly so i might oversee some talkworthy stuff now and then... a i see the question where do you store stuff that normally stays on deck in surface yacht...


    In general in a streamlined fairing outside the pressure hull. In a similar way as military subs store equipment (dinghi) for seal operations.
  4. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Thanks for the extra info Wellmer, it was interesting to read.

    I also understand that you are getting deluged with all sorts of suggestions, questions, insults, etc etc so I appreciate that you might not be able to provide exactly what I and others are interested to know. I am not "against" the project, just trying to make some sense of it.

    To make it very easy, can I try an experiment to achieve some extra facts about your project please.

    Below is a multi choice statement, that all you need to do is to erase any words that do not apply. I hope this will make it easy for you

    The submarine [has]/[has not] got its engine installed.

    (if it has got it installed, cross out [Has Not]) get the idea ?.)

    The engine is [diesal]/[electric]/[both deisal and electric].

    (Please erase the appropriate items)

    The motive power is around ### horsepower.

    (just add some numbers over the ###)

    Thanks for the comment about the type of wiring, just as a matter of interest
    Q4 At this point the wiring [has]/[has not] been completed.

    The sub [has]/[has not] got an anchoring system installed yet.

    The sub [will]/[will not] be having an anchoring system.

    Many thanks for any info you are able to provide.

    I look forward to hearing more info inthe future, and thanks for the replies so far.
  5. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Well I did not scan too fast, so I have seen your trash comments!

    let me answer in all seriousness:

    1-- that would require deep water and to stay submerged 24/7....a very attractive choice?
    2--same as 1--
    3--where do you live? On board and submerged only? Anchoring will be nearly impossible, following your philosophy. You either have too deep water (good to stay under the surface), or too shallow water (good to sit at anchor), to enjoy the advantage of a cruising boat!
    4--not better than every other crewed boat (being submerged means crewed)
    5--not quieter than any other yacht when all necessary systems are running.
    6--what is that? Drifting with the current? You can do with every floating device.
    7--only valid when you really cruise under surface only.
    8--same as 7--
    9--same as 7--
    10- the extreme opposite is true, no slipmaster worldwide will touch that coffin without charging 5 times the average rate!
    11-lower than what? Compared by living space you will not save a single penny over a conventional motor boat, the opposite is true!

    12-- yeah, another point I thought you (or at least a potential enthusiast or client) might be interested of surviving such idiotic adventure. So point 12-- is named SUBMARINES

    You might have heard that every second navy worldwide operates military vessels which are armed and can dive!?
    You might know that these boats, known as Submarines (in this case the designation is correct), are on patrol around the world no matter if there are military conflicts or not.
    What do you expect will happen when your coffin is heading for, say the Panama Canal, Gibraltar or New Orleans, submerged?
    Yes, exactly that! Due to the unknown signature they will ping you to identify your vessel. And you will not notice (you do´nt have mil. equipment aboard, do you?), and if, you will not know how to act or even what it means.
    But what does the U-boat commander think about you? Yeah, two choices, terrorist or maybe (in the caribbean) drug dealer. In either case the testosteron saturated US commander will send you down immediately, but when heading towards the piles of Herakles or the Miraflores locks it does´nt matter if the boat is British, Russian or Argentinian. You will hear the monotone fitch..fitch..fitchh.. of the container ships prop soon overlayed by the phrüüüüüüüüüüüüüüü... of a torpedo prop.

    What a expensive and idiotic way of suicide, really!

    Lets face it: you have premature dreams and absolutely no idea what you are doing! Your couch and the engine, perpendicular to the longitudinal axle of the boat, show that pretty clear (besides all the idiotic claims).
    You have solved the easiest task in bulding a boat, you made a concrete bubble! Not knowing that the hull of a boat is the piece of cake, the challenge starts after that.
    I hope (in all seriousness) that you will never finish that project, and never find a victim to buy such coffin!!!

    And only for the latter reason I made the effort to type such a statement.

  6. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    This project is being built under contract...

    "In September of 2007 I signed a contract with Wilfried Ellmer of to build a 18meter 200ton teardrop submarine pressure hull out of concrete. The text of our discussion is available on this website as well."

    With performance assurances:

    “The most probable destruction depth for the hull i will deliver is 1200m - so operational depth down to 400m-600m under required safety factor 2-3 should be possible after view port refit and extensive tests but i have no hard data on this.”

    “At the moment all i can say is - most probable hull destruction if i had to bet my money on a certain depth it would be at 1200m (if the hull contains no viewports). Having a viewport configuration as you plan it - the hull weakening is about half so i would bet for hull destruction at 600m for the particular hull you plan. I see concrete hulls in offshore industry operating at 300m at the moment so - as long as your viewports can take it you could push it to 500m test depth - which means 166-250m operation depth for the viewport configuration you plan.

    You could go to 400-600m operation depth if you change viewports by a camara sistem that would not create hull weakening.”

    While more clients are lining up:

    "...I've been looking around for a father/son project (my father and me :). And this seems right up our alley."
    "I'm quite serious about purchasing a sub. I've been considering buying a sailboat (after learning to sail :), but a sub seems more to my liking. My goal is to be able to visit very remote locations in the world. In many cases uninhabited lands (or at least uncivilized lands :). I'm a bit of an expert in wilderness survival and I'd like to experience other parts of the world (the "wild" parts :).So my questions will be about a "day in the life" of a sub-mariner aboard a sub built by you. See what I mean? Does this make sense?"

    Edit: The above quotes (In red), are client statements posted on Wellmers website.
  7. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Wellmer: Thank you for your answers on storage.

    I searched this thread for "gunnite" and "shotcrete" and is no mention of either process.
    I looked on your website and could not find same info.

    Did you build your vessel out of either process,or did you build the steel cage and trowel on the concrete?

    And how long did it take you?
    That must have been a lot of work,hauling heavy concrete.

    When do you plan to test the vessel?


  8. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    talking down on me

    Yes that is good - my point is, if a person is not able to get the social envelope right - insulting other people - i have a problem to take his "engineering advice" serious - the idea is, if you can not handle primary school education right - what kind of "advice quality" can i expect from your high school/university education? - i would certainly not opt to have you on a advisor team of any kind - whatever degree ever you may hold, what expert ever you might be...whatever years in whatever industry segment you have spent...


    Having said that - the serious part:

    I see a series of postulates about practice of submarine yachting - so i would expect you have any experience in submarine yachting to qualify as a expert advisor - obviously you are acting like a person who claims this status - i have a opinion because i have a experience - do you? - if so in what consits it? - i am kind of the only person who puts the cards on table on this thread...

    I would see this as a wild hollywood phantasy - i would postulate that shooting on anything because you can not identify it - is not of common use among the worlds navies...

    Exactly ! this is what a submarine, or a habitat, in a nutshell is - a hull that encloses a air bubble with steering and buoyancy control .

    sure if you want to put an nuke rocket base, into that air bubble - make it stealth - keep it safe - a lot of engineering - but finally another planet, another universe, another task, another budget frame... - this is why i say we do a DIFFERENT thing than military sub building.

    One of the most interesting questions is: how much engineering do you REALLY need - if you have no intention to engage in submarine warfare. If you just want a yacht like habitat - similar to BEN FRANKLIN - stripping the long term isolation aproach - keep it shallow, keep it easy, keep it basic.

    Nautilus has all the engineering that you really need...


    approved by 400million years of submarine evolution...

    We are kind of merging Nautilus engineering with a Whale shape.


    How much rocket science is this ?
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    I´m appalled!:( ...1.200 meter? one thousand two hundred meter deep? or from shore?
    I am not sure he would get it certified as a public toilet in Europe.:p

    well, I know you´re naive!
  10. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    The baseline is - gunnite, shotcrete, casting, slip forming, are methods to bring concrete in place. The final strenghth of concrete does not in great deal depend on the forming method. (Dominating factors are mix composition, water, curing)

    So yes in theory gunnite and shotcrete could be used to create hulls.

    As always the devil is in the detail. I have met civil engineers which said that they would "never trust a shotcrete structure" - and i have met civil engineers that evaluate it equally strong as a cast structure.

    Truth is : the quality depend A LOT of the skills of the "nozzleman" - in general tubular concete structures for external pressure are made in cast. I try to keep the "unknown, and experimental factors" at a minimum so i am currently going with cast structures.

    I see no problem with gunnite and shotcrete for external tanks, sail, etc...

    The time frame for raw hull building is 12 Months.

    For series building the optimisazion of concrete hauling and placement is certainly a important factor - as always we learned a lot in this proyect.

    Test vessel. We are already testing certain aspects of the hull, especially the behavior during movement, flexing, torsion, etc...

    I assume that your refer to "sea trials" i would say that "speed kills" so i will take the time that is necessary for the movement, then take time for optimizing certain aspects like the screw, rudder configuration etc..

    There is also a social and authority management factor involved. It is important to keep anybody in comfort zone. It is a good thing to put the hull into the water and leave it there for a while so anybody can see, can visit, can make sure that nobody is planning to slip out into the open ocean at night to disappear.

    Check peter madsens proyect to get a good idea how you keep people in comfort zone about a private submarine in their harbor.

    It can be handled but it is not good to have "pushy time frame" on that.
  11. wellmer
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    wellmer New Member

    Hello dskira,

    Although i seem somehow to fit your "public enemy" sterotype, and you really need to fit my "quality advisor behavior" requirements to make this a working conversation i will answer this.

    You are painting a picture of only me against all naval authorities - nothing could be wronger.

    We have a broad advisor board with all kind of experts in it. I just tend to be a bit more careful in selecting the "experts" i am listening too.

    It is not enough to be a "engineer" or a "naval architekt" to claim a "expert role" on private concrete submarines.

    I am quite sure that whatever degree you may hold you probably never had a semester on concrete submarines - right? - and this is your "true expert level" until you aquire some "additional knowledge".

    I am a big fan of asking civil engineers on civil engineer questions, managers on management questions, lawers on lawer questions -

    I mistrust the "never seen that before - but i am the expert here" approach.

    What concerns ABS and similar we have all those organisms in our development plan to set in at the right moment at the right time, for the right segment and we have no problem with none of them.
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    well, yeah. To sum it up: Salesman labba, labba........drivel........

    I left your worthless slobbering out here, and would like to ask:
    where did you find the "experts in private, concrete submarines"? How can there be any? Apart from you of course!

    No boy, you are a dreamer, a dangerous one! We will have a eye on that!

  13. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    The following is a topic page from Weller's site:

    "How deep can concrete Spheres go?"

    "This is the million dollar question. You need a million dollars to get a really final and exact answer. You have to build it and to test it out until destruction - not 1 time but 3 times with hopefully very similar results. So what i can give you is a "educated guess" based on what has been done - and tests i have run.

    Let me start with the facts : troll platform is based on concrete legs that reach down 303 meters with 24 m diameter and 1m wall thickness. Including usual security factors i assume that it could have a destruction depth of some double of this. Which places a positive buoyant cylinder similar as troll at 606 m destruction depth.

    My submarine prototype - which i obviously did not test to destruction depth - has almost exactly the double diameter / wall thickness as troll - means it is double as strong and may have a destruction depth of 1212m -

    If you check the photos at ( you see that my sub floats - without ballast - on middle line - which means half of the displacement is hull weight. Bringing the concept to a extreme you could almost double the wall strength and still have positive buoyancy. Which brings us down to 2424m. This based on a cylinder shape. Given that my prototype is a spheric curved blimp shape it could stand - let me guess - 3000m - in case of a sphere shape even more - probably a lot more - this takes us down to 4000m - destruction depth - no security factor.

    BUT - we are still talking about NORMAL CONCRETE - any concrete lab will tell you that special concrete as used in the core of certain record seeking buildings can increase the compression strength of concrete at least by a factor 4 compared to normal concrete. This brings us down to 12.000m destruction depth - without being limited in the size of the spheres AND still with positive buoyancy.

    So including security factors of 1:2 or 1:3 as recommended for manned submarines we still could get a positive buoyant submarine based on concrete spheres that can reach average ocean depth - so 90% of the ocean floors worldwide.

    Obviously i did a lot of testing before i built my concrete submarine prototype - the problem was that every time i finished a test model for testing to destruction depth i could not find a water depth that would have permitted to test it to destruction. So all i could find out is that the test models can go VERY deep and deeper than the water depth i have available.

    I also put small test models inside of hydraulic cylinders where you have a liquid pressure equivalent to some 2000m dive depth. So i can say that above calculation seems to work according to my test series.

    But no one can be 100% sure until building spheres in a 1:1 model and bring them to destruction depth in deep sea at a depth of thousands of meters - which is a million dollar operation i would like t
    o get financing for..."

    You must appreciate that the observers on this site will find difficulties with the above presentation.
    Reverse engineered or copying a engineered materials approach to a problem is extremely challenging to my mind. There is a very strong chance the the underlying principles will not be fully understood.

    You have as much as said- "Look at this bridge. It is build of steel and is very strong, therefor the bridge I have built is also very strong because it is also built of steel."

    Bridges are strong because they are well engineered.
    Your comparison provides no information about how well your proposal is engineered. In fact it raises concerns that there is no engineering present whatsoever.
  14. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    I agree bntii, at least I have difficulties to see any engineering behind this guys claims! The text shown above is (to stay polite), a political statement. Dull, dumb and free of any proper information. A idiots work, by all means.

    BTW.... the largest concrete processor during the WWII did not make even a test of a "cement sub", but was short of steel (ore). Instead that nation built the most successful (in mil. terms) U-boat by so far, the type VIIC. This boat was guaranteed to 150m depth, and has proven to stand 350m with minor damage (not voluntarily). That was highest tech of that time, and not much has changed since.Todays sub´s operate to 500m whith a safety margin (I only can guess), of max. another 500m.
    And this bigmouth is coming here, telling the world that his concrete toilet with upward looking windows dives safely to 600m.

    Stay away from such idiots, they are dangerous!

  15. wardd
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    wardd Senior Member

    are we giving this more attention than it deserves?
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