What glass is used for submarines that deep underwater?

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What glass is used for submarines that deep underwater?

Submarines are special equipment that can work underwater. The internal space of submarines usually requires observation windows for divers to conduct on-site observations. However, as the diving depth increases, the water pressure will also increase, which puts higher requirements on the material of observation windows for submarines. So what kind of glass is used for submarines that are so deep underwater? This article will provide a detailed answer to this question.

Material requirements for underwater observation windows

Submarines are one of the crucial equipment in tasks such as underwater deep-sea exploration, oil and gas exploration, and assault operations. In such an environment, diving crew members need to conduct high-definition observations in order to discover targets, understand the underwater environment, and develop the next action plan. Therefore, the selection of materials is crucial when designing the observation window for submarines.

The underwater observation window material should have the following characteristics:

High pressure resistance: As the diving depth increases, the pressure of the water will also become greater and greater. Therefore, the material of the observation window must be able to withstand the impact of enormous pressure.

Good transparency: The material of the observation window must be transparent so that divers can see the outside situation through the window.

Corrosion prevention: Oxygen and chloride ions in seawater can easily cause corrosion of materials, which can seriously affect the transparency of the observation window.

High temperature resistance: When diving, divers need to use strong lighting to observe the surrounding environment. This will generate high temperatures on the surface of the observation window, so it is necessary to choose materials that can withstand high temperatures.

Submarine observation window material type

In modern submarines, there are two commonly used observation window materials, namely organic glass and synthetic crystals.

Organic glass (PMMA)

Organic glass is a polymer organic synthetic material, also known as polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglass) or acrylic. It has the following advantages:

Good transparency: In underwater deep-sea environments, the transparency of organic glass is superior to other materials.

Strong compressive strength: Compared to other materials, organic glass has stronger compressive strength in underwater deep-sea environments.

Long service life: Organic glass can maintain stability in various harsh environments such as high pressure, high temperature, and high humidity, and has a long service life.

Lightweight: Compared to other materials, organic glass has a lower density and therefore a lighter weight.

Synthetic crystal

Synthetic crystals refer to materials made of quartz, sapphire, zircon, etc. that have high hardness, high pressure resistance, and high transparency. Compared to organic glass, synthetic crystals have the following advantages:

Corrosion resistance: Synthetic crystals have high corrosion resistance and are less prone to rusting and oxidation.

High hardness: The hardness of synthetic crystals is much higher than that of organic glass, and they are not easily scratched.

Better transparency: Compared to organic glass, synthetic crystals have better transparency.

Overall, synthetic crystal materials perform better underwater and are more useful for scientific research tasks and combat monitoring that require the transmission of high-quality images and videos. However, due to its high production process and cost, the current use of synthetic crystals in submarine observation windows is limited to high-end equipment and specific tasks.


Submarines need high-quality observation windows in deep-sea environments for divers to observe. At present, organic glass and synthetic crystals are the most commonly used observation window materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. With the development of technology and the application of digital technology, the material of submarine observation windows in the future will continue to be improved to meet higher quality and more stringent testing and combat requirements.


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