Author Topic: The original pencil thin funnel  (Read 8477 times)

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Online Rob Lightbody

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The original pencil thin funnel
« on: Jan 12, 2012, 08:52 PM »
See attached.

From https://www.flickr.com/photos/captainmartini/4678889314/

and re-uploaded here with permission.
« Last Edit: Sep 10, 2017, 04:53 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #1 on: Jan 14, 2012, 01:54 PM »
I wonder whether creating this pencil thin funnel involved a lot of complex technological innovation -- compared with the several thick funnels on the earlier Queens?

Why was a decision taken to have just one funnel? This must have been a most unusual design feature at the time.

Offline riskygizmo

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #2 on: Jan 14, 2012, 02:52 PM »
Well, she only had three boilers, so one stack was enough. Interestingly though, quite a few multi- stack liners had dummy funnels
fitted (I think the old Mary included). The last ship built for the White Star Line, the MV Georgic, started life with one working funnel
and one dummy, the dummy being used to house the radio shack and the engineers' smoke room. After an unfortunate incident
involving the Luftwaffe during WW II she was re-fitted (or rather re-built) as a single stacker.
Full Away on Passage.

Offline Alistair

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #3 on: Jan 14, 2012, 08:31 PM »
The funnel design came from wind tunnel tests to make sure that the smoke from the boilers would not get sucked down onto the expansive sun decks at the rear of the ship. It had to be tall, yet fit under certain bridges and the wind scoop at the base forced air up to ensure the smoke and soot were carried well clear of the ship. It was a triumph of form fitting function which, along with the bridge form gave QE2 the space age look we loved so well. Nothing like it had been seen before.
Also, where other ships had dummy funnels for other functions e.g.ventilation, the mast was used for that.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #4 on: Jan 15, 2012, 11:35 AM »
Concept and Design

QE2’s funnel was probably the most technically advanced funnel ever fitted to a passenger ship and perhaps the most controversial! The design and position of the single funnel added to the graceful appearance of the ship but it was not merely a design feature. The funnel was as functional and efficient in disposing of smoke and boiler gases as science and a long and exhaustive series of tests could make it.

The actual design was not finalised until fairly late in the design stage – the builder’s model had no funnel at all at the pre-tender stage – and responsibility for the funnel design fell to James Gardner, the man responsible for styling the exterior appearance of the ship. Gardner would develop the funnel in conjunction with Cunard’s technical department after months of testing in the wind tunnel at the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington in Middlesex.

It seemed at first that the task of adapting Gardner’s original tall slender stack from the Q3 Project would be simple enough. There was still some resistance to such a design from the more conservative factions within Cunard, but this was no real threat. The greatest difficulty was that none of the various model funnels tested in the National Physical Laboratory’s wind tunnel seemed to overcome the old problem of keeping soot and smuts away from the shelter decks.

James Gardner:

“A traditional smokestack proved out of the question after the first wind tunnel test. In a functional stack, performance had to take complete priority, and the final structure comprises (a) a relatively small diameter smokestack, (b) a large air outlet vent and (c) a wind scoop mounted on the fan house which covers the air intake”.

Various types were tried – in all 20 different funnel designs were produced and tested before the final design was approved – including thin mast-stacks, fat ovoid forms, some with air vents, others without, and so on. The aerofoil-shaped Strombos type, adopted for Holland America’s Maasdam and Ryndam, as well as the French ships El Djezair and Lyautey, were also tried. It all really did not seem to make much difference. Under the worst wind conditions the smoke always ran down the back of the funnel and onto the open decks. “What about ‘those ungainly projections on the funnels of the France and the flat mortar-board topes on the Michelangelo”, asked Gardner? Nobody seemed to know or care; they were foreign anyway.

The real cause of the problem was that smoke had a tendency to flow down the leeward side of the funnel to fill in an area of low pressure there. If the prevailing winds were blowing from either side of the ship, and were strong enough, then a greater low pressure area would occur around the opposite aft quarter of the funnel. Under these conditions, when the winds did not reinforce the ship’s own enveloping airstream, the smoke may well lack the velocity to get full clear of the decks. This was observed by one of the shipyard’s research people, who then worked with Gardner to find a funnel design that would work properly under such circumstances.

The eventual solution that evolved was based on three elements. The funnel itself was made as tall and thin as possible, somewhat resembling Gardner’s original visualisation of it for Q3. The trick was to fill its relatively small low pressure void with used air from the accommodation ventilating and air-conditioning systems. This was done by enclosing the aft half of the stack within a cowling through which the return air was pushed by powerful exhaust fans, where this forced airflow was vented just below the top of the working funnel, it would give the engine exhaust smoke and gases the needed push to carry them away from the ship.

However, further wind tunnel tests of this arrangement showed that under somewhat unfavourable wind conditions the outer cowling created its own low pressure area. At first the two men experimented with various arrangements of windscreens on deck to overcome this. What finally emerged was wide wind scoop on top of the deckhouse. This solved the problem using the Venturi-effect, with the narrowing form of its curved lines increasing the airflow from the deck level and forcing it up around the back of the whole funnel structure, cowl and all.

It was a combination of old and new ideas. The stack itself embodied the old idea of a tall think funnel which would discharge steam, smoke and soot well above the ship, rather like those of, perhaps, Campania more than half a century earlier. The outer cowling and wind scoop were modern refinements which made it work more effectively.

Having produced the shape to give the best overall efficiency for differing ship speeds and wind directions, the design shape was then slightly adapted for aesthetic appeal.

In the Cunard Boardroom there were still those who needed convincing and some Cunard directors still had doubts about ditching the old notion of that big red funnel, “the insignia of the line, you know, Cunard red”. Sir Basil Smallpeice asked that a conventional funnel also be made to show on the model for comparison, and to pacify traditionalists.

Having given Gardner’s design work unqualified support up to this point, Sir Basil Smallpeice decided that, on this controversial issue, diplomacy was required and so he decided to pass the buck. In an unexpected bout of conservatism, he elected to ask for The Queen's opinion when showing a model of the Q4 to her at Buckingham Palace at a special private audience, arranged in relation to Her Majesty's invitation to launch the ship in September 1967.

Gardner later recalled how the matter was irrevocably resolved once and for all:

“A week later he (Sir Basil) rang. Apparently he was a buddy of the Queen and wanted to show her the model (to ask if she would acquiesce to her name being linked with it, I guessed). I was to meet him with it at the side door of the Palace, and, ‘oh bring both funnels, please, your first one and the one in Cunard house colours’. So, he would ask the Queen, and my guess was she would plump for the red one; after all to anyone not practised at the objective visual design it would look more like a Cunard funnel is expected to look. At the appointed hour my model maker and I were gingerly steering the fragile model into the hands of a flunky, when Smallpeice asked: ‘Where’s the red funnel/’ ‘Awfully sorry’, I said, ‘it fell off this morning and someone trod on it. Absolutely useless, I’m afraid’. Smallpeice just gave me one look”.

Months were spent refining the lines of the structure to achieve the perfect relationship of the various parts – and the John Brown engineers had to get an awful lot of ducting and fans into the base of such a slim funnel as well as be sure that it would stand erect, poised off-centre, over a great rectangular hole in the deck (which they eventually did without recourse to staywires). The result was the black and white funnel with a touch of Cunard red in the wind scoop. The two white masses – the funnel and the mast – were the key elements which gave the ship her scale and dignity. The unusual mast was not needed as such but had a purely functional purpose as it served as an exhaust for the kitchens.

There was some lamentation at its distinctive black and white colour scheme which had replaced the traditional Cunard red and black. Gardner had considered the Cunard colours “too heavy” and not in keeping with the overall approach he had taken with the external design of the ship.

So for the first time in Cunard history – although it was then current airline practice – the side of the ship would carry the name of the company below and aft of the bridge. The word Cunard was in red on the white superstructure in the distinctive letterform recently adopted by the company for its name. The wording was aluminum plate of about .35” thick and was manufactured and fitted at a cost of £924 at November 1964 prices.

The ‘midships location of the funnel was conventional Cunard practice and the position was dictated by the disposition of the boilers, which for convenience was located next to the main machinery and this was sited amidships in order to achieve maximum strength and stability. Another advantage in positioning the funnel amidships was that the maximum shelter deck accommodation in a fast ship would be achieved.

When the veil of secrecy which had shrouded the design of the liner was lifted in April 1967, the Daily telegraph wrote:

“She is mainly a traditional ship with an extremely unusual funnel. This stands amidships like a piece of modern metallic sculpture”.

QE2’s funnel was Gardner’s greatest triumph – an inspired combination of old and new ideas resulting in a form that was sophisticated, highly effective and also iconic.
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2012, 08:00 PM by Rob Lightbody »

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #5 on: Jan 15, 2012, 11:36 AM »
Installation

The funnel was fitted in two halves with the lower section being lifted on board on 18 April 1968 with the upper section following four days later on 22 April 1968.

The Architectural Review

“The funnel is a triumph. For the first time the design and arrangement of the power plant has enabled a giant liner to be single-funnelled, liberating an extra half-acre of play deck – a premium passenger attraction. The form of the funnel and the sculptured casing which encloses it evolved through a long series of wind tunnel models. It reflects the intuition of James Gardner and the aerodynamic open-mindedness of the engineers, rather than a precise science. The result is a mixture of very old and very new; tall thin smoke stacks for the boiler gases, plus a novel casing to lead up some of the huge exhaust from the air-conditioners to balance pressure behind the stack and help blast the stack gases skyward”.

Height of Funnel

The funnel structure stood 67 feet 3 inches high compared with the 59 feet on Queen Mary and 56 feet on Queen Elizabeth. The overall height of the ship to the top of the funnel was 201¼ feet exceeding that of Queen Mary by more than 17 feet and that of Queen Elizabeth by more than 14 feet. Overall, the funnel stood 204 feet 1½ feet above the keel.


Online Michael Gallagher

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #6 on: Jan 15, 2012, 11:37 AM »
James Gardner:

“I thought it was a pretty easy thing, simply to design a funnel, but I soon discovered that it is not. Visually a funnel may be the most dominant component of a ship, but I discovered, to my surprise, that because it is ‘up-top’, its development come late in the ship-building programme.

Tom Kameen, Cunard’s Technical Director, works on engines and a slide rule. Dan Wallace resolves the interlocking jigsaw of requirements like a sensitive human computer, programmed by the Queens and fed with a complex diet of modern logistics. AT John Brown’s money is pouring out steadily like sand in an hour glass and the drawing office works overtime.

At night time, when the telephone has at last gone to sleep, I worked with drawings as big as bed-sheets. My model maker created a balsa wood model, rather like a club sandwich, each slice a deck. Months later working on a five-foot model, rubbing it down, manoeuvring here and there.

How can we achieve that cool, smooth air of authority which we recognise in a Bentley?

Then the problem with the funnel is to ensure that the gases are carried away clear of the aft decks. We have meetings with experts from Cunard and John Brown’s at the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington. We see, discuss and argue and examine previous funnels.

All very disappointing and orthodox.

A few weeks later an orthodox funnel is fitted to an eight-foot model of the ship on a turntable in the wind tunnel. A steady stream of air blows along the tunnel, and the exhaust gases pile out of the funnel, climb down behind it and sweep along the deck.

Next day I come out with a model of my dream funnel. It is better but it doesn’t work with the wind on the quarter.

So the work goes on, Kameen and Wallace grabble with the problem among a myriad of others and they have to resolve. ‘The time is running out and the Directors are getting restless’. ‘Gardner seems to be making a lot of fuss about designing a simple funnel’

Eventually I am given five days to reach a decision. It works, No 736 has a funnel.

Offline Rod

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #7 on: Jan 15, 2012, 06:56 PM »
Item of interest here.
Many people back in the "olden days" thought that the more funnels the faster and safer a vessel was. Hence the dummy funnels. I believe on one ship that the Captains cabin was in the dummy funnel.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #8 on: Jan 15, 2012, 07:43 PM »
To my knowledge never has a Cunard built ship ever had dummy funnel. If the three or two-funnelled QM2 design had been built she would have been the first Cunarder with dummy funnel(s).

Offline Rod


Offline Twynkle

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #10 on: Feb 07, 2012, 09:03 AM »
Rare footage - 8mm film.

QE2 with her white funnel - Norway



  
and with her pencil thin red funnel in Norway 1983



Thanks to Svarten42
These are rare footage - 8mm film.
(In case it's not possible to access the videos on the page - have posted the links as well)
« Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 11:32 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline Jeff Taylor

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #11 on: Feb 07, 2012, 02:10 PM »
Of the final Atlantic liners America and Normandie both had dummy funnels, although America lost hers in her second Chandris incarnation as Italis.  QM's were indeed all functional.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #12 on: Mar 24, 2014, 09:27 AM »
This is a fantastic topic about the original slimline funnel, especially as Michael Gallacher has added such a lot of information from Cunard's archives.  When QE2 left Clydebank in 1968 I thought the funnel made a statement about this ultra modern ship, who was like no other. 

Michael has also added photos of the funnel going on (upper and lower parts) in this topic
https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/index.php/topic,1969.0.html

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Hank Hargrove

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Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #13 on: Mar 24, 2014, 04:00 PM »
Well, she only had three boilers, so one stack was enough. Interestingly though, quite a few multi- stack liners had dummy funnels
fitted (I think the old Mary included). The last ship built for the White Star Line, the MV Georgic, started life with one working funnel
and one dummy, the dummy being used to house the radio shack and the engineers' smoke room. After an unfortunate incident
involving the Luftwaffe during WW II she was re-fitted (or rather re-built) as a single stacker.

The Queen Mary had three working funnels. However, if I remember correctly, part of the third funnel was a dummy.
« Last Edit: Mar 24, 2014, 04:15 PM by Hank Hargrove »
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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #14 on: Oct 16, 2016, 02:00 PM »
On our Facebook page, Rob has uploaded this beautiful photo :

https://www.facebook.com/TheQE2Story/photos/a.10150934973751729.454120.142514131728/10155091825801729/?type=3&theater

Its also attached to this post.

One of the readers asked this question, provoked by the photo :

Quote from: Daniel Lotten
Great photo, I'm curious about where the smoke exhausted from on the original funnel. It doesn't look like it is coming out of the top.
« Last Edit: Sep 10, 2017, 04:55 PM by Rob Lightbody »

Offline June Ingram

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Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #15 on: Oct 17, 2016, 01:02 AM »
QE2 is simply the epitome of beauty !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Rod

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #16 on: Oct 17, 2016, 12:31 PM »
Could of been a safety valve blowing.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #17 on: Oct 17, 2016, 01:30 PM »
Could of been a safety valve blowing.

Could you elaborate please, Rod, for those like me (but I am probably the only one who needs such explanations...) who lack understanding?

Would the smoke normally issue at the top of the funnel (actually, with a bit of imagination, I can see some there)?

Is it coming out the side of the funnel as it seems to on the photo?

Why would a safety valve blowing make it do that?

Is it dangerous for the ship when a safety valve blows? Does it happen often?

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #18 on: Oct 17, 2016, 03:45 PM »
Isabelle,

If I'm correct I assume Rod is referring to the safety relief valves for the boilers. These are there to protect the boilers from over pressure and are activated when the internal pressure exceeds a certain value, venting steam directly from the boilers to atmosphere to reduce the pressure - that s is the plume you see in the photo. As the name suggests they are a safety feature there to protect the boilers (and the ship) from the effects of over pressure.

I would imagine the noise would've have been quite something if a safety lifted - I've been on board Waverley when hers are being tested prior to going back into service and its quite a roar!

See attached pic for example.

Hope this helps.

Gav
« Last Edit: Oct 17, 2016, 03:46 PM by Clydebuilt1971 »

Offline Rod

Re: The original pencil thin funnel
« Reply #19 on: Oct 18, 2016, 12:44 PM »
Smoke would come out of the top (black bit) of the funnel. Steam, the lower part.
Clydebuilt's explanation is good. It could have been a test or a problem.

 

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