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Further Investigations: Transportation and Ship Design

  1. What kinds of transport conveyances are used in your town?
  2. Research what kinds of construction materials are used today for building
    1. the largest supertankers.
    2. nuclear-powered stealth submarines.
    3. high-speed motorboats.
    4. racing sailboats.
  3. Find out how the airlines, buses, trains, and moving companies (such as the U.S. Postal Service)
    1. measures their cargo.
    2. sets size or weight limits.
    3. charges their customers.
  4. Research hull design and stability. Which watercrafts are tender? Which are stiff?
  5. Large ships often take in ballast water when leaving their home port for added stability. This ballast water is then dumped at the destination port. Several invasive species have likely been introduced to foreign shores in this manner. Both the European green crab and Asian shore crab now occur along the U.S. Atlantic coast.
    1. Investigate an invasive species that has likely been transported through ballast water. Where do scientists think it originated and what bodies of water was it transported to?
    2. Research ports like San Francisco Bay, or Honolulu or New York Harbor. What invasive species are found in the port?
    3. How can the transport of invasive organisms via ballast water be limited?
  6. Research the relative sizes and shapes of ships throughout history. Make predictions about the sizes and shapes of ships of the future.
  7. As ships have become larger throughout history, how have their propulsion systems changed? What kinds of propulsion systems do you predict will be used in the future?
  8. Investigate the economics of the shipping and cruising industries. What are the costs and profits to running these operations? How do these industries maintain efficiency and remain profitable?
  9. Research how supertankers are constructed. What is the advantage to constructing a super tanker as opposed to a smaller ship? What additional construction factors need to be considered when constructing supertankers, compared to smaller vessels?
  10. Talk to local boat owners or builders. Find out what kinds of boats they recommend for local waters. If possible, construct a boat or a model of a boat.
  11. Take a boating course. Learn the nautical terms for parts of a boat and what each is used for.
  12. Research the relationship between the structure of a ship hull and its functions. How are hulls modified for such purposes as increasing speed, increasing cargo capacity, or making a ship more comfortable for passengers?
  13. Compare shipping routes with maps showing patterns of winds, waves, and currents. Look for relationships between these factors for the most popular shipping routes.
  14. Great circle routes are the shortest distances between two places on the spherical surface of the earth. Find out whether ships today follow great circle routes.
  15. Research the following about shipping companies:
    1. procedures for transporting goods.
    2. the time required to ship items from the U.S. mainland to Hawai‘i, Europe, and/or Japan.
    3. costs of shipping goods by air, rail, and ship.
  16. Interview people who work in the following fields connected with ships and shipping to find out what they do and how they became interested in and trained for their job:
    1. marine technicians
    2. coastal and harbor pilots
    3. tugboat operators
    4. ocean engineers
    5. naval architects
    6. merchant marines
  17. Biological fouling or biofouling is the growth of living organisms on submerged structures such as pier pilings, docks, and boat hulls. Investigate which organism(s) in your area contribute to biofouling. How does biofouling affect ocean shipping and transportation? How is biofouling prevented or managed?
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.