Unusual Propulsion Systems


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Tom Bates

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Aug 16, 2002
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Hi, has there been any ships built with unusual machinery, for example turbo hydraulic propulsion, vacuum ash collection/ discharge ( there were vacuum ash collection systems for land based power plants as far back as 1910), geared reciprocating engines, 3 or 4 screw ships that used only reciprocating engines. That is all i could think of that would be considered "unusual machinery", have any of them been tried? I have done research but i could come up with none other the boiling petrol engine and the Still Steam-Diesel Engine ( http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/museum.htm for a webpage on the 2 systems) thanks in advance. Tom
 
Dec 29, 2000
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Hello Tom Bates,

you think on 3 or 4 screw ship with only reciprocating engines as unusuall machinery? Well, I do not.....
So maybe I misunderstood something...
As far from my consideration, during middle of the 19. century till 50ties of the 20. century many thinks were worked out and tested belonging Steam engines.
Quick running steam engines, on which the later steam motors base, are well known, since high power superheated steam is known and used. Even Threvithick, a former locomotive constructeur before Stephenson in england used and favoured high pressure steam, so was in the 18. century ages in front of what Watt and Stephenson later favoured and handed out a best available technology....
Many boiler systems were delevoped and used, just to make they efficeicy wasting part of the steam engine, the boiler, better and better....
So unusaul ist just a word for a special point of view, and what you might find unusual is from an other point of view very usual and a guess worth to think about....

So in fact Titanics engines seem to be very economical und very modern for those times, her boilers weren't.... Still the common scotch boiler was used, even if there might other boilers be available....
So we should change, and not call is unusual, more guess about why they didn't use....

Sincerely,

Steffen
 

Tom Bates

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What i meant by unusual machinery was things that were not normally done. for example most ships with reciprocating engines had single or twin screws, i have yet to find a 3 or 4 screw ship that used only reciprocating engines. If you could give me a name or photo of any ship that uesd that system i would like that. Also titanic's engines used reciprocating & turbine engines and not considered for unusual propulsion systems. The main reason for this thread was for all the odd designs and experiments in propulsion systems to be posted. Tom
 

Dave Gittins

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In South Australia we once had a steel lifeboat, by which I mean a boat like the boats of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

She had a steam engine that drove a powerful pump which made her jet-propelled. She was called City of Adelaide.

I don't have the dates handy but she operated some time late in the 19th century. She was bought in a burst of enthusiam after several local marine disasters. I think she made very few rescues, if any. After many misadventures, including a change to an ordinary propeller drive, she ended up in Port Lincoln. She was used for odd jobs, such as carrying sheep around the little islands off the coast.

Eventually she was abandoned and lay in Porter Bay, with the tide washing in and out of her. She was eventually removed to the Axel Stenross Museum at Port Lincoln. There's a photo of her here---

http://media.dorusrijkers.nl/foto431

I understand two other similar lifeboats were built, but this is all that remains of them.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>What i meant by unusual machinery was things that were not normally done.<<

I have to wonder what was "normal" around this point in time. Sail was still widely used even though steam was obviously here to stay, and there were a lot of experiments with various systems. Quite a bit of innovation was going on and some of it even worked!
 
Dec 29, 2000
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Yeesss!

During these times many things were tried out, and some were found to be good, others were abandoned.
Like the french Velox boilers, quick to launch, but to much auxillary systems, not a good game.
Even ti Still Locomotive. A good idea, to use the heat of the diesel for getting steam and exhanding in a steam engine, but to much systems around, so less efficient.

Or why didn't Steam turbine locos made the game? Well, as long a the engine travels with one speed, one load and on plain track, the turbine if very efficient. See on ships! 2000 Miles, and a steam turbine would be much mor efficient than reciprocating engines. But, as in trains:
There were shifting actions to do, load changes, and on traks: There are hills... and speed limits. So the turbine lost efficiency, because could not realy run allways on the edge of best efficiency, and blow or above this edge, well, most Diesel and reciprocation steam engies are good engough to compete!
That's why in ships most have the steam turbine for trans-ocean travels, and use small diesesl or gas turbines for the port manouver actions or other motions at often changing speed and direction actions.

And as allways, there is a BUT:

but many engines, with were not mentioned in the list, were worth to think about:

Henschel build for south africa reciprocation steam locos, which had a condensator tender. Those onto the war type condensator loco type 52 K basing engine is still able to compete with diesels, because coal is much less expensive than diesel in south africa.
BUT: as common: Steam locos are seen as unmodern, thus steam is abandoned, and expensive diesel locos are bought.
David Wardale reconstructed the famous loco type 25 NC (NC = Non-condensed) to the 'Red Devil' type, and very advanced steam locomotive. Timken Bearings at all axles and all motion parts of the gear. A modern coal combustion system and a superior exhaust system with a very modern fedd water preheating process... David Wardale tested and found, that those engines can simple compete with modernest diesel engines, but: Still look old, thus were not considered to be used. So he abandoned the second step: Combine 'Red Devil' and the Henschel condensator patent to a very efficient and powerfull locomotion.

And there a still many other things, unusuall for us now, but maybe futhcomming someday.

Fuel will be getting more and more expensive. so how manage this problem? Steam is in a very good position, but also wind engery maybe a guess.
So, what's with the horizontal rotors, once used be J. Cousteau build an his ship Alcyone two of these rotors, as replace for comon sails, and foud them very usefull. The Flettner turbo sail, as usually named, wasn't build after Couteaus death onto the planned Calypso II,which construction was abandoned.

So could we today imagine a huge freighter with Flettner turbosails?

Is Queen Mary 2 and her diesel electric propulsion system with two additionally gas turbines realy state of technology?

All, in my opinion, a point of view.... Very hard for me, to imagine a passanger ship like 'Sea Star' 'Arosa' or other with turbosails.. How would the look like?

So, could we image ship with a more modern nuclear propulsion system? Large carriers vessels and submarines use it, many huge vessels and cruisers were tested... So backdraw is still the radiation and the problem with the 'nuclear waste'.... but in future?
Should we abandon nuclear technologies? Can we imagine nuclear driven passenger ships? Well, hardly, for me....

So the point of view is often very narrow, and what today seems hardly or difficult to image, maybe in future whats running the world.

So today unusuall, tomorrow very common. Yesterday many things seem to us now unusuall, but had been a thing to test and trail in the past.

Sincerely,

Steffen
 
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