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The engine control room of Argonaute, a French supply vessel.

Marine Engineering involves the design, construction, installation, operation and support of the systems and equipment which propel and control marine vehicles, and of the systems which make a vehicle or structure habitable for crew, passengers and cargo.[1]

Marine Engineering is allied to mechanical engineering, although the modern marine engineer requires knowledge (and hands-on experience) with electrical, electronic, pneumatic, hydraulic, chemistry, control engineering, naval architecture or ship design, process engineering,steam generation, gas turbines and even nuclear technology on certain military vessels.

Marine Engineering on board a ship refers to the operation and maintenance of the propulsion and other systems such as:electrical power generation plant; lighting; air conditioning; refrigeration; and water systems on board the vessel. This work is carried out by Marine Engineering Officers, who usually train via cadetships sponsored by a variety of Maritime organisations. There are also training centres at post-secondary institutions that offer marine engineering programs, such as Georgian College's Great Lakes International Marine Training Centre.

Marine engineering also embraces other areas such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicle research; Marine renewable energy research; and careers related to the Offshore Oil and Gas extraction and Cable Laying industries.


History of Marine Engineering

One of the most notable historical figures in Marine Engineering was Archimedes, who experimented with buoyancy; developed the water screw; and pre-industrial naval weapon systems. Pioneers in Marine engineering in Britain include William Froude, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was responsible for demonstrating the effectiveness of the screw propeller, amongst other notable achievements. The oldest surviving marine engine was designed by William Symington in 1788; original engines from the revolutionary 'Turbinia', which proved the superiority of steam-turbine power still survive. In America, the University of Michigan's Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering can be tracked to an 1879 act of Congress, which authorised the U.S. Navy to assign a few officers to engineering training establishments around the country. Mortimer E. Cooley was the first lecturer in the department. India's Marine Engineering & Research Institute can trace its origins to 1929.

Marine Engines

Marine engineering emerged as a discipline with the arrival of Marine Engines for propulsion, largely during the latter half of the 19th century. Early marine engineers were known as "stokers" as they 'stoked' the coal fires of steam engined ships more or less from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th centuries; the term is still used affectionately by modern ship's engineering staff to describe their role.

Modern mechanical propulsion systems generally consist of a motor or engine turning a propeller. Steam Engines were first used for this purpose, then Steam Turbines, but have mostly been replaced by two-stroke or four-stroke Diesel Engines, Outboard Motors, and with Gas Turbine engines on faster ships. Electric Motors have sometimes been used, especially on submarines. Nuclear reactors are sometimes employed to propel warships and icebreakers.

There are many variations of propeller systems, including twin, contra-rotating, controllable-pitch, and nozzle-style propellers. Smaller vessels tend to have a single propeller. Aircraft carriers use up to four propellers, supplemented with bow-thrusters and stern-thrusters. Power is transmitted from the engine to the propeller by way of a propeller shaft, which may or may not be connected to a gearbox.

Propeller shafts

Several type of propeller shafts exist with their own type of lubrication. These types are:

  • Water lubricated propeller shaft [2]
  • Oil-lubricated propeller shafts
  • Grease lubricated propeller shafts

Water-lubricated propeller shafts are the types which are most maintenance-free and durable. A small disadvantage is that when the bearings become old, they become less efficient. Oil-lubricated propeller shafts as well as grease-lubricated propeller shafts leak some oil, thus being less environmentally-friendly. In some countries, the grease-lubricated variant is herefore already banned. Oil and grease lubricated variants also require more maintenance, and the grease variant also needs to be manually or electronically corrected every few hours of boating (the "grease pot" then needs to be screwed up one notch). The benefits of the oil and grease variants is that they are more efficient.[3]

Adding cathodic protection

Cathodic protection blocks need to be added to reduce the effects of corrosion unto a ship.

See also


External links

Maritime Resources

Maritime Associations

Marine Navigation and deck side studies

Marine Engineering]



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