Design of a submarine main ballast blowing systems

  • Emilian Octavian Ivanov “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati
  • Costel Ungureanu “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati
Keywords: submarine, submerged vehicle, ballast system, compressed air systems.


A submarine ballast system represents a combination of dedicated equipment and piping in which the main circulating fluid is either sea water straight from the submarine exterior or air which is compressed at high pressures and then it is stored in pressure vessels onboard. These fluids are, then, introduced in or extracted from various tanks located strategically onboard the submerged vehicle. Because water cannot be compressed and because of it’s density, it will require large amounts of energy and pumps to be able to move all the water within the system in a short period of time that is required for surfacing a submerged vehicle. Therefore, compressed air is favoured for the main deballasting because of the air’s capability of being stored at high pressures and displacing water in a fast manner once it is fed into the ballast tanks, thanks to it’s ability to expand as the submarine emerges and the surrounding water pressure drops. In addition, the compressed air systems must operate for at least a normal surfacing from periscopie depth, but also for surfacing from the maximum depth in the case of an emergency. From an engineering standpoint, ballast tank blowing systems are complex, but nevertheless are vital, for allowing the maneuvering of the submarine and it’s bouyancy within the water it navigates, regardless if it’s in a surfaced or submerged condition and must be done in the smoothest and with as little noise as possible. The requirements of designing and calculation of such systems are covered by the Class and Administration rules and regulations.


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[2]. Ceangă, V., Mocanu C.I., Ungureanu, C., “Instalații navale de bord”, Editura didactică și pedagogică, București, 2017; ISBN 978-606-31-0353-7;
[3]. UK Ministry of Defence, Compressed air systems, Interim defence standard 02-314 2001
[4]. Chakraborty, S., “Understanding stability of a submarine”, Marine Insight Article, 25 of May 2021;
[5]. Burcher, R., Rydill, L., “Concepts in submarine design”, Cambridge ocean technology series, Cambridge University Press, 1994
How to Cite
Ivanov E, Ungureanu C. Design of a submarine main ballast blowing systems. Annals of ”Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati. Fascicle XI Shipbuilding [Internet]. 4Dec.2023 [cited 24Jul.2024];46:147-54. Available from:

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