The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a new program aimed at developing unique electrode materials that can be used to produce a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) drive for the U.S. military.

Called the Principles of Undersea Magnetohydrodynamic Pumps (PUMP) program, the new initiative will draw from physics modeling and simulations in the areas of electrochemistry, hydrodynamics, and magnetics to develop a prototype of the new technology.

On May 31, DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office will host a Proposer’s Day, where it will provide additional information on the program, according to a Contract Opportunity posting the agency placed online. The event will be held in Arlington, Virginia, and will be made accessible online.

The program’s roots go back to the height of the Cold War when efforts to produce quiet water-based propulsion without propellers or other moving components became a focus of both military and civilian efforts.

One possible way that seemed feasible for this involved using magnets and electric currents to generate propulsion that could move stealthily through the water while eliminating the necessity for moving parts.

Since that time, smaller-scale magnetohydrodynamic drive technologies have been shown to work as a proof of concept, although scaling them up for use in practical applications has proven far more difficult.

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