CHAPTER 13: Some Figures
A MOMENT LATER we were seated on a couch in the lounge, cigars between
our lips. The
captain placed before my eyes a working drawing that gave the ground plan,
cross section, and side view of the Nautilus. Then he began his
description as follows:
"Here, Professor Aronnax, are the different dimensions of this boat
now transporting you. It's a very long cylinder with conical ends.
It noticeably takes the shape of a cigar, a shape already
adopted in London for several projects of the same kind.
The length of this cylinder from end to end is exactly seventy meters,
and its maximum breadth of beam is eight meters. So it isn't
quite built on the ten-to-one ratio of your high-speed steamers;
but its lines are sufficiently long, and their tapering gradual enough,
so that the displaced water easily slips past and poses no obstacle
to the ship's movements.
"These two dimensions allow you to obtain, via a simple calculation,
the surface area and volume of the Nautilus. Its surface area
totals 1,011.45 square meters, its volume 1,507.2 cubic meters--
which is tantamount to saying that when it's completely submerged,
it displaces 1,500 cubic meters of water, or weighs 1,500 metric tons.
"In drawing up plans for a ship meant to navigate underwater,
I wanted it, when floating on the waves, to lie nine-tenths below
the surface and to emerge only one-tenth. Consequently, under these
conditions it needed to displace only nine-tenths of its volume,
hence 1,356.48 cubic meters; in other words, it was to weigh only
that same number of metric tons. So I was obliged not to exceed
this weight while building it to the aforesaid dimensions.
"The Nautilus is made up of two hulls, one inside the other;
between them, joining them together, are iron T-bars that give this ship
the utmost rigidity. In fact, thanks to this cellular arrangement,
it has the resistance of a stone block, as if it were completely solid.
Its plating can't give way; it's self-adhering and not dependent
on the tightness of its rivets; and due to the perfect union
of its materials, the solidarity of its construction allows it
to defy the most violent seas.