Saturday, July 20, 2013


Below is an eighty-nine foot long, forty-four foot wide, twelve cylinder engine and I would not be far off to state that this engine is as big as an office block!   

The ship is indeed built around the engine.  In the marine construction trade, all boats and ships including harbor tugs and fishing trawlers have the superstructure of the ship built around the engine. Three flights of stairs are needed for the mechanics to ascend to inspect the top of the engine. 

A four hundred ton crankshaft is about as serious as you want to get in the world of engineering.

Ship owners usually request an engine construction of a single engine unit and a single propeller design for ease of maintenance, and not surprisingly, any later troubleshooting. Below is seen a modern, big single, six bladed propeller of a super tanker. These are also some of the worlds largest propellers and weigh several tons each.

The main turbo unit is so huge a person could live inside it, the Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbo unit is shown below, with two guys standing on it for scale.

 In the image below a worker at the factory is finalising work on the ten cylinder engine block.  This image shows the piston sleeves, the worker could quite easily have a nap inside one of the cylinder bores and nobody would notice! The engine studs are more like telegraph poles! Everything is on a grand scale.

Below are shown the pistons that will soon be fitted into the engine. Unlike normal car pistons these three foot diameter pistons incorporate lots of holes and it is through these holes that oil is injected through valves to keep all the working parts at a maximum low wear tolerance.  Massive amounts of constant lubrication is absolutely necessary or these big engines would seize up rather quickly.

When a crankshaft weighs four hundred tons, then quality control needs to walk around to inspect it thoroughly before its lowered into the engine block.  Admittedly, this crankshaft will not be too easy to take back out again if its faulty.

100,000 horse power was actually achieved on a test bed in the workshop with the fourteen cylinder model, running the engine flat out at just under 102 rpm.  Indeed 102 rpm may be slow compared to a normal sized car engine that operates at about 2500 rpm, but with an engine is as big as this, then fast engine revolutions are made obsolete by the fantastic power output.

1 comment:

  1. The very slow RPM of the 2-stroke Sulzer (less than cranking speed on the starter of many engines) is partly due to the heavy bunker oil they burn.
    This bunker oil is a slow-burning fuel with a need for a long combustion-period time.
    These very-slow revving engines are very efficient on a thermal efficiency basis.
    If they rotated at a much higher RPM, they would lose a lot of their efficiency and they would also suffer from vastly-increased wear rates.
    Then there is also the rotational mass of this huge engines components to take into account.
    Extremely heavy rotating components (such as a 300 tonne crankshaft) cannot rotate at high speed, as any minor imbalance would rapidly overload the engine structure, due to the massive loads imposed on the engine bed via the huge centrifugal forces.