What’s a ballast tank?

Print anything with Printful

Ballast tanks are structures used in aquatic equipment to adjust balance. They can be filled with water to add or remove weight, and are controlled by a Kingston valve and breather. They are commonly used in shipbuilding, submarines, floating wind turbines, and oil rigs to maintain stability.

A ballast tank is a structure added during construction of aquatic equipment to provide an adjustable balance point. Commonly used in shipbuilding, as well as floating wind turbines, oil rigs, and submarines, a ballast tank can be filled with water to add or remove weight. This weight makes it possible for a sailboat or water platform to maintain a specific level in the water despite variable weather conditions.

The function of a ballast tank is controlled by a Kingston valve and breather, which work together in a system of checks and balances. When the vent and valve are open, water flows into the tank, providing ballast. When only the Kingston valve is open, the air pressure from the closed vent keeps the water out. This part of physics is used by submarine pilots in wartime. The fastest dive times are possible traveling in open water with the Kingston valve open and the vents closed.

In shipbuilding, a ballast tank is generally centered at the lowest point of the hull. Additional ballast tanks can be installed in the forward and rear positions or on the starboard and port side of the hull. By placing multiple ballast tanks around the ship, it can withstand the high winds and waves commonly found in the ocean environment.

Ships used to transport goods incorporate ballast tanks to account for the weight of their loads. An empty cargo ship could easily be capsized by the high seas. By adding water to a ballast tank, the ship’s center of gravity can be lowered, making it more stable. On the other hand, a heavily laden freighter could be swamped by high waves crashing over the bow. By pumping water from the ballast tanks, the ship sits higher in the water and therefore reduces the risk of being flooded.

Submarines use ballast tanks to provide their immersion and surface movements. By filling the ballast tanks with water, the boat becomes heavier and sinks below the surface of the water. When it’s time to resurface, the ballast tanks are drained and the sub becomes buoyant and rises to the surface.

Floating wind turbines and oil drilling platforms rely on buoyancy technology and ballast tanks to maintain balance in the aquatic environment. A buoyancy tank is an air-filled structure that helps maintain buoyancy. The buoyancy and ballast tanks used on these platforms help keep the structure close to the water’s surface through a process called hydrodynamic stability. By placing the ballast tank below the buoyancy tank, the platform can maintain a specific level of buoyancy and a lower center of gravity.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content