Orion in the magnetic treatment facility at HMAS Stirling in
Western Australia during the successful trial of the new demagnetisation
technique developed at the School of Physics, UNSW.
Perhaps the least conspicuous, but most serious, threat to naval (and civilian)
vessels during conflict is their vulnerability to magnetic sensing
marine mines. To guard against this the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
regularly bulk demagnetises their ships and submarines.
at the Advanced Electronics Materials Laboratory in the School of
Physics have been working with the Defence Science and Technology
Organisation of Australia to analyse the way this has traditionally
been done. We have spent four years looking at what happens to the
magnetism of a vessel while it is being demagnetised and this year
we have succeeded in designing a more efficient demagnetising method
capable of saving the Royal Australian RAN millions of dollars.
previous years a physical model was established for simulating and
investigating the process and, using this, alternative demagnetising
procedures were explored. Several theoretical approaches were also
developed to describe the magnetism of naval vessels during and
after a magnetic treatment — with very positive results.
is one thing to make physical and theoretical models and quite another
to apply this research to a full-scale 90m submarine. In June 2002
we were presented with the opportunity to test our theories and
an alternative demagnetising treatment on TSM Orion in the Magnetic
Treatment Facility at HMAS Stirling W.A. It was to the great satisfaction
of all concerned that the trial on the real vessel demonstrated
the improved efficiency of the methods advanced in the laboratory.
to the Australian Defence Science Magazine, the more efficient technique
will save the RAN at least $12 million over the lifetime of the
Collins Class submarines. In fact, the savings from first time that
the new method is used will pay for the entire PhD project that