By E.A. LINNINGTON.
One of the most interesting and valuable features in the development of naval construction in recent years is the great advance which has been made in the speeds of our war ships. This advance has been general, and not confined to any particular vessel or class of vessel. From the first class armored fighting ship of about 10,000 tons displacement down to the comparatively diminutive cruiser of 1,500 tons, the very desirable quality of a high speed has been provided.
These are all twin screw ships, and each of the twins is driven by its own set of engines and line of shafting, so that the propelling machinery of each ship is duplicated throughout. The speeds attained indicate a high efficiency with the twin screws. In all ships, but more especially in high speed ships, success depends largely upon the provision of propellers suited for the work they have to perform, and where a high propulsive efficiency has been secured, there is no doubt the screws are working with a high efficiency. The principal purpose of this paper is to record the particulars of the propellers, and the results of the trials of several of these high speed twin screw ships. The table gives the leading particulars of several classes of ships, the particulars of the screws, and the results obtained on the measured mile trials from a ship of each class, except C. The vessels whose trials are inserted in the table have not been selected as showing the highest speeds for the several classes. Excepting C, they are the ships which have been run on the measured mile at or near the designed load water line. On light draught trials, speeds have been attained from half a knot to a knot higher than those here recorded.
No ship of the class C has yet been officially tried on the measured mile, but as several are in a forward state, perhaps the actual data from one of them may shortly be obtained. All these measured mile trials were made under the usual Admiralty conditions, that is to say, the ships' bottoms and the screws were clean, and the force of the wind and state of the sea were not such as to make the trials useless for purposes of comparison. On such trials the i.h.p. is obtained from diagrams taken while the ship is on the mile, and the revolutions are recorded by ruechanical counters for the time occupied in running the mile. Not less than four runs are made during a trial extending over several hours. The i.h.p. in the table is not necessarily the maximum during the trial, for the average while on the mile is sometimes a little below the average for the whole of the trial. The revolutions are the mean for the two sets of engines, and the i.h.p. is the sum of the powers of the two sets. The pitch of the screw is measured. The bolt holes in the blade flanges allow an adjustment of pitch, but in each case the blades were set as nearly as possible at the pitch at which they were cast.
The particulars given in the table may be taken to be as reliable and accurate as such things can be obtained, and for each ship there are corresponding data; that is, the powers, speeds, displacements, revolutions, pitches, and other items existed at the same time. There are a few points of detail about these propellers which deserve a passing notice. In Fig. 1 is shown a fore and aft section through the boss. It will be observed that the flanges of the blades are sunk into the boss, and that the bolts are sunk into the flanges. The recess for the bolt heads is covered with a thin plate having the curve of the flange, so that the flanges and the boss form a section of a sphere. This method of construction is a little more expensive than exposed flanges and bolts, which, however, render the boss a huge churn. With the high revolutions at which these screws work, a spherical boss is extremely desirable, but, of course, the details need not be exactly as shown in the illustration. The conical tail is fitted to prevent loss with eddies behind the flat end of the boss, and is particularly valuable with the screws of high speed ships.
The light hood shown on the stern bracket is for the purpose of preventing eddies behind the boss of the stern bracket, and to save the resistance of the flat face of the screw boss. The edges of the blades are cast sharp, instead of being rounded at the back, with a small radius, as in the usual practice - the object of the sharp edge being the diminution of the edge resistance. The driving key extends the whole length of the boss, and the tapered shaft fits throughout its length.
These points of detail have been features of all Admiralty screws for some years.
The frictional resistance of screw propellers is always a fruitful source of inefficiency. With a given screw, the loss due to friction may be taken to vary approximately as the square of the speed. This is not to say that the frictional resistance is greater in proportion to the thrust at high than at low speeds. The blades of screws for any speed should be as smooth and clean as possible, but for high speed screws the absolute saving of friction may be considerable with an improvement of the surface. There is no permanent advantage in polishing the blades. No doubt there is some advantage for a little time, and, probably, better results may thereby be secured on trial, but the blades soon become rough, and shell fish and weed appear to grow as rapidly on recently polished blades as on an ordinary surface. These screws are of gun metal. They were fitted to the ships in the condition in which they left the foundry. It appears that within certain limits mere shape of blade does not affect the efficiency of the screw, but, with a given number of blades and a given disk, the possible variations in the form or distribution of a given area are such that different results may be realized.