Published Resources Details Journal Article

On the relative advantages and disadvantages of rotary and reciprocating engines as applied to ship propulsion
The Engineer
vol. 83, 28 May 1897, pp. 540-541

Accession No.499


A summary of C. A. Parsons' paper presented at the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 26th of May 1897. The first vessel to be fitted with steam turbines was the Turbinia (length 100 feet, beam 9 feet, draught 3 feet; displacement 44.5 tons). The Turbina had three screw shafts, each directly driven by a compound parallel flow steam turbine. The three turbines were in series, and the steam was expanded - at full power - from a pressure of 170 pounds absolute at which it reached the high-pressure turbine, to a pressure of 1 pound absolute, at which it was condensed. The screw shafts were slightly inclined, and each carried three screws, making nine in all. The screws had a diameter of 18 inches, and when running at full speed they made 2,200 revolutions per minute. A water-tube boiler supplied steam, with forced-draught firing supplied by a fan driven from the low-pressure turbine. The merits of the steam turbine system as applied to marine propulsion were: (1) Greatly increased speed, owing to diminution of weight and smaller steam consumption; (2) increased carrying power; (3) increased economy of coal consumption; (4) increased facilities for navigating shallow waters; (5) increased vessel stability; (6) reduced machinery weight; (7) reduced cost of attendance on machinery; (8) reduced size and weight of screw propellers; (9) absence of vibration; (10) lowered centre of gravity of machinery, and reduced risk in time of war. During question time it was pointed out that the arrangement of the propellers of the Turbinia left much to be desired and that better results could be obtained if the engine could be geared down and ordinary propellers used at normal speeds. See also 'On the relative advantages and disadvantages of rotary and reciprocating engines as applied to ship propulsion.' Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol.130, 1897.