Getting in "Ship" Shape

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A superconducting motor will be used operationally in Navy ships by 2020. Researchers at FSU's Center for Advanced Power Systems say it's leaner and meaner than current motors.

Dr. Steinar Dale, Director of the Center for Advanced Power Systems, says, "The superconducting motor may be as low as 75 tons, so it's a significant reduction both in size and weight."

Seventy five tons might seem like a lot, but it's slender compared with the current 200-ton beasts. Installing the new motor will have tremendous advantages.

Steinar Dale says, "There are increasing electrical loads that will be served on board the ships of the future. You will have sophisticated weapons systems that will not be using gunpowder, but will be using magnetic fields to drive projectiles."

Researchers say their recent tests on the biggest real-time simulator in the country will examine various logistics in a real ocean environment. This is music to the Navy's ears.

The Center for Advanced Power Systems at FSU is one of its kind across the country.

Steinar Dale says, "The facility that we have here in Tallahassee at Florida State University is a first-class facility where they (the Navy) can bring their cutting-edge technologies and test them out and get good characterization, so when they finally go on board the ship, they will have confidence that this technology is working."

And this work should increase our confidence in our top-notch national defense.

The Center for Advanced Power Systems will soon acquire new technologies that will not only assess ship power grids, but also civilian power grids.