Author Topic: Engineers knowledge  (Read 888 times)

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Offline Jack Lester

Engineers knowledge
« on: Oct 06, 2017, 05:32 PM »
Marine Engineers also have to learn basic chemistry related to the numerous chemicals they must use on board ships. In order to attain their qualifications, they must pass a chemistry exam. QE2 originally had 3 Foster Wheeler high pressure watertube boilers  producing almost 1 million ponds of high pressure steam/hour. BUT, the whole system contains numerous different metals and the water/steam systems had to be treated to keep them in pristine condition. How? By means of chemicals, applied by the engineers and controlled by testing.

Pre-commision cleaning at the yard was essential to ensure the boiler surfaces were free of contamination, plus the formation of a black film of Magnetite - a black tight Iron Oxide, compared to the red rust Iron Oxide we are all familiar with.

In service chemical treatment include:
Hydrazine to eliminate oxygen not removed by mechanical de-aeration. Hydrazine was special as it did the job without leaving a residue. Is very toxic, dangerous but no suitable alternative. NB also used as Rocket Fuel!!!!

Amines, complex organic chemicals, carried through the system condensing on metals and stopping corrosion.
Again very toxic and inflammable!

Alkali/phosphates used to counteract any minor contamination by sea water, which would be disastrous for this class of boiler. The production of many tonnes of what was classed as 99.9 percent pure water was an essential part of the operation. The water made on board was of that quality!

Application of the chemicals, some continuous, some intermittent, controlled by testing, ensured maintenance of the required parameters, the test results being recorded by hand, on graph paper, our design, showed up any with the water problems visually. Reagents made and supplied from our Lab in Cunard Building. All sent in for checking and comment via us and Superintendants. All this work was carried out, on board, by ship's engineers, very efficiently ---amazing people! The graph logs were periodically reviewed and reported back to the ship via Superintendants.

When re-engined, different problems and chemicals to treat Diesel engine cooling water and lower pressure auxiliary boilers.
Engineers were also involved with chemicals for Evaporator, Fuel, domestic water, Electricals and many others!
Again all very capable, clever (and nice) appreciated by me over many years knowing them.

Jack Lester, Cunard Brocklebank 1960-72, and involvement for many years after.
« Last Edit: Oct 06, 2017, 11:24 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Engineers knowledge
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2017, 11:27 PM »
Great introduction of yet another topic relevant to preserving the memory of QE2.

I have no knowledge of any of these procedures, but am hugely grateful to those who provided us with good drinking water on board, and indeed good water for our baths too.

The other day I had one of those flash-backs to QE2, when I caught a whiff of the drinking water which had just been poured into my glass, and it brought back QE2 in a fraction of a second!

Offline Rod

Re: Engineers knowledge
« Reply #2 on: Oct 07, 2017, 05:22 PM »
The good old boiler dosing. God I hated that somewhat akin to flushing a toilet on a submarine!

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: Engineers knowledge
« Reply #3 on: Oct 09, 2017, 01:20 PM »
Ah feed water dosing - refitted Waverley's system in 2004. The original pumps went through diaphragms like sweets - replaced them with Prominent pumps which had metal diaphragms - still running on the ship to this day - despite some NRV failures causing live steam to come up the dosing pipework!


Offline June Ingram

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Re: Engineers knowledge
« Reply #4 on: Oct 09, 2017, 06:04 PM »
Thanks very much, Jack, for your commentary and information.  I look forward to more posts from you !  June  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: Engineers knowledge
« Reply #5 on: Oct 11, 2017, 01:19 PM »
Thanks very much, Jack, for your commentary and information.  I look forward to more posts from you !  June  :)

I echo that June!

And apologies to Jack for "kinda" hijacking the topic he started!!



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