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   Undertoad  Wednesday Aug 30 02:31 PM

August 30, 2006: World's largest diesel engine

Neatorama had this item a while back and I'm only just now getting it out of the queue. This behemoth is documented in more detail here, but I'll summarize.

This thing is described as the "Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C turbocharged two-stroke diesel engine". Shown above is the engine block and the main shaft, and if you count, you'll find it's a 10 cylinder engine. Built by The Aioi Works of Japan's Diesel United, Ltd.

That means this images are not of the very largest engine, because they have a 14 cylinder version. But you get the idea, just mulitply by 1.4.

The cylinder deck. Each cylinder displaces 1820 liters. Think about this for a moment. When you hear displacement numbers for cars, it's generally in cc. That's a cubic centimeter, otherwise known as a milliliter.

The displacement of all four cylinders of a 1992 Subaru Impreza is 1820 cc. That is 1/1000th of the displacement of one cylinder of this engine.

So a 14-cylinder completed engine has a displacement 14,000 times that of a 1992 Subaru. What do they use this engine for? According to that one page that documents it all... move Subarus! The big engines go on very large container ships, such as the ones used to get cars across the seas. Ship owners like a single engine/single propeller design, and the new generation of larger container ships needed a bigger engine to propel them.

Total engine weight: 2300 tons
Maximum power: 108,920 hp at 102 rpm
Maximum torque: 5,608,312 lb/ft at 102rpm

That oughta do it.

capnhowdy  Wednesday Aug 30 04:50 PM

It takes 1,660 gals of fuel per hr. to feed those 108,920 horses. That is if you don't mash on it too hard.

I don't reckon I can afford that. Oh well.

Very interesting.

milkfish  Wednesday Aug 30 06:34 PM

And connect one of these to the driveshaft of a Subaru and it will do Warp Factor 5.

RellikLaerec  Wednesday Aug 30 08:03 PM

i like the fact that you can climb down into the crankshaft area with the latters!

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Aug 30 09:02 PM

They want single engine, single driveshaft/screw, propulsion systems because they take up less interior room and make it easier to stack containers on either side.

footfootfoot  Wednesday Aug 30 09:04 PM

I'm the kind of guy who likes a bit of redundancy, especially at sea. Call me Ishamel.
I mean call me old fashioned. When engine number one conks out, it's nice to have engine number two, even if it is a little putt putt.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Aug 30 09:45 PM

Yes, but you have to understand, the people that make these decisions on what will be most profitable, never set foot on the damn things away from the dock.
'Tis not their butt in the sling.

Ubergeek  Wednesday Aug 30 10:47 PM

Originally Posted by milkfish
And connect one of these to the driveshaft of a Subaru and it will do Warp Factor 5.
Yup... for about... oh... say 1 or 2 seconds... then it will take that poor little Subaru and twist it into something that would best be described as a metal and rubber Twizzler... LOL

5,608,312 lb/ft at 102rpm?! Talk about towing capacity

I thought 102rpm sounded pretty tame... then I realized that each of those pistons has got to weight at least a couple of tons. That's a lota metal moving up and down!


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Aug 30 10:58 PM

Right, at 102 rpm that 38 inch diameter piston is moving at 1666 ft per minute (27.77 ft per second) and making 204 stop/starts, during that minute.

Bullitt  Thursday Aug 31 12:01 AM

That thing is f***ing huge..
just saying what everyone's thinking

maninthebox  Thursday Aug 31 08:56 PM

Yeah, I can shove that into my Caviler somehow............

onetrack  Saturday Sep 2 08:14 PM

O.K. .. seen this one before (the pics make everyone go a little ga-ga - but EVERYTHING on ships is BIG, ain't it??) .... but what I wanna see is ...... the crankshaft grinder they used to grind the crank ..... and the milling machine they used to face the surfaces of the engine block .....

sweetpeapete  Friday Nov 26 03:45 PM

steam vs diesel

I know that sharper minds than mine have determined that these huge diesels are more efficient/cost effective than steam, but I can't see how, I guess.

classicman  Friday Nov 26 04:50 PM

warning warning ... 4+ year old thread dredged up ...

xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 26 08:57 PM

Originally Posted by sweetpeapete View Post
I know that sharper minds than mine have determined that these huge diesels are more efficient/cost effective than steam, but I can't see how, I guess.
Because you'd need a steam engine near as big and then a boiler, bigass condenser, piping, makeup water treatment and controls. These container ships are all about space, which is why they're using an inline engine and single screw.

Oh, and welcome to the Cellar, pete.

footfootfoot  Friday Nov 26 09:41 PM

I once did a shoot a GE power and was talking to one of the foremen about the turbines they build (the same kind that fell in the Hudson river a few years back) The things are at least a couple of stories high and about 60 feet long. He told me the run out one the thing was less than a few millionths of an inch.

xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 26 11:50 PM

When I worked for Westinghouse, I was instrumenting steam turbines for start-up vibration analysis. Steam turbine blades are subject to tremendous erosion and stress, so they have to be fairly hard. But hard metal is subject to cracking from vibration. We'd have to determine the natural frequencies of each turbine, and map the RPM where these would develop destructive harmonics.

Steam turbines can't be turned on and off like a motor or engine. From a cold start it might take 12 hours to reach 3600 rpm because you have to idle at several steps on the way up, in order to heat soak. If you idle at an RPM where harmonics are strong, the blades will break.

Then the usual setup is three turbines, with the steam passing through the high pressure turbine, then the medium pressure, lastly the low pressure, before going down to the condenser to turn back into condensate(water). Pump that condensate back to the boiler, add treated make-up water to replace any lost along the way, and start the cycle all over again.

It takes a shitload of piping and controls to do all that, all of which are heavy, bulky, and need maintenance. Buy the diesel.

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