This section is from "Scientific American Supplement". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.

For a vessel with a given displacement, the metacenter and center of gravity being known, it is easy to lay off in the form of a diagram its stability or power of righting for any given angle of heel. Such a diagram is shown in Fig. 3, in which the abscissae are the angles of the heel, and the ordinates the various lengths of the levers, at the end of which the whole weight of the vessel is acting to right itself. The curve may be constructed in the following manner: Having found by calculation the position of the transverse metacenter, M, for a given displacement--Figs. 1 and 2--the metacentric height, G M, is then determined either by calculations, or more correctly by experiment, by varying the position of weights of known magnitude, or by the stability indicator itself. Suppose, now, the vessel to be listed over to various angles of heel--say 20 deg., 40 deg., 60 deg., and 80 deg.--the water lines will then be A C, D E, F K, and H J respectively, and the centers of buoyancy, which must be found by calculation, will be B, B, B, and B. If lines are drawn from these points at right angles to the water levels at the respective heels, the righting power of the vessel in each position is found by taking the perpendicular distances between these lines and the center of gravity, G. This method of construction is shown to an enlarged scale in Fig. 2, where G is the center of gravity, B Z, B Z, B Z, and B Z the lines from centers of buoyancy to water levels; and G N, G O, and G P the distances showing the righting power at the angles of 20 deg., 40 deg., and 60 deg. respectively, and which to any convenient scale are set off as the ordinates in the stability curve shown in Fig 3.

STABILITY INDICATOR FOR SHIPS. Fig. 1.

Having obtained the curve, A, in this manner for a given metacentric height, we will suppose that on the next voyage, with the same displacement, it is found that, owing to some difference in stowage, the center of gravity is 6 in. higher than before. The ordinates of the curve will then be G¹ N¹ and G¹ O¹--Fig.2--and the stability curve will be as at C--Fig. 3--showing that at about 47 deg. all righting power ceases. Similarly, if the center of gravity is lowered 6 in. on the same displacement, the curve, B, will be found, and in this manner comparative diagrams can be constructed giving at a glance the stability of a vessel for any given draught of water and metacentric height.

STABILITY INDICATOR FOR SHIPS. Fig. 2.

STABILITY INDICATOR FOR SHIPS. Fig. 3.

The object of Mr. Alexander Taylor's indicator is to measure and show by simple inspection the metacentric height under every condition of loading, and therefore to make known the stability of the vessel. It consists of a small reservoir, A, Fig. 4, placed at one side of the ship, in the cabin, or other convenient locality, communicating by a tube with the glass gauge, B, secured at the opposite side, the whole being half filled with glycerine, which is the fluid recommended by Mr. Wm. Denny, though water or any other liquid will answer the purpose. At one side of the gauge is the circular scale, C, capable of being revolved round its vertical axis, as well as adjusted up and down, so as to bring the zero pointer exactly to the top of the fluid when the vessel is without list. Round the top of the scale, at D, are engraved four different draughts, and under these are the metacentric heights. Test tanks of known capacity are placed at each side of the vessel, but in no way connected with the reservoir or gauge.

The metacentric height is found as follows: The ship being freed from bilge water, the roller scale is turned round to bring to the front the mark corresponding with the mean draught of the vessel at the time, and the zero pointer is placed opposite the surface of the liquid in the gauge. One of the test tanks being filled with a known weight of water, the vessel is caused to list, and in consequence the liquid in the tube takes a new position corresponding with the degree of heel, the disturbance being greater according as the vessel has been more or less overbalanced. The scale having previously been properly graduated, the metacentric height for the draught and state of loading can be at once read off in inches, while as a check the water can be transferred from the one test tank to the other, and the metacentric height read off as before, but on the opposite side of the zero pointer. At the same time the angle of heel is shown on a second graduated scale, E. Having obtained the metacentric height, reference to a diagram will at once show the whole range of stability; and this being ascertained at each loading, the stowage of the cargo can be so adjusted as to avoid excessive stiffness in the one hand and dangerous tenderness on the other.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Taylor's invention promises to be of great practical value both in the hands of the ship-builder and ship-owner, who have now an instrument placed before them, by the proper use of which all danger from unskillful loading can be entirely avoided.--The Engineer.

STABILITY INDICATOR FOR SHIPS. Fig. 4.

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