Heating the hulls of ships to temperatures high above the boiling point may lower the friction and help increase the speed of the ship.
The principle, called the Leidenfrost effect, is being put into practice by Prof. Derek Chan of the University of Melbourne. The Leidenfrost effect is the phenomenon that occurs when a liquid is exposed to a solid above its boiling point, causing it to form a vapor barrier. Prof. Chan's theory is that a ship's hull heated to very high temperatures should cause a low friction layer to be created.
The question remains as to whether the extra energy needed to heat the hull would offset the savings of the reduced friction.