EXPERIMENTAL AID IN THE DESIGN OF HIGH SPEED STEAMSHIPSby@scientificamerican

EXPERIMENTAL AID IN THE DESIGN OF HIGH SPEED STEAMSHIPS

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The achievement of one triumph after another in the matter of high speed steamships, and especially the confidence with which pledges of certain results are given and accepted long before actual trials are made, form one of the most convincing proofs of the important part which scientific methods play in modern shipbuilding. This is evident in the case of ships embodying novel or hitherto untried features, and more especially so in cases where shipbuilders, having no personal practical experience or data, achieve such results. This was notably illustrated in the case of the Fairfield Co. undertaking some five years ago to build and engine a huge craft of most phenomenal form and proportions, and to propel the vessel at a given speed under conditions which appeared highly impracticable to many engaged in the same profession. The contract was proceeded with, however, and the Czar of Russia's wonderful yacht Livadia was the result, which (however much she may have justified the professional strictures as to form and proportions) entirely answered the designer's anticipations as to speed. Equally remarkable and far more interesting instances are the Inman liners City of Paris and City of New York, in whose design there was sufficient novelty to warrant the degree of misgiving which undoubtedly existed regarding the Messrs. Thomson's ability to attain the speed required. In the case at least of the City of Paris, Messrs. Thomson's intrepidity has been triumphantly justified. An instance still more opposite to our present subject is found in the now renowned Channel steamers Princess Henrietta and Princess Josephine, built by Messrs. Denny, of Dumbarton, for the Belgian government. The speed stipulated for in this case was 20½ knots, and although in one or two previous Channel steamers, built by the Fairfield Co., a like speed had been achieved, still the guaranteeing of this speed by Messrs. Denny was remarkable, in so far as the firm had never produced, or had to do with, any craft faster than 15 or 16 knots. The attainment not only of the speed guaranteed, but of the better part of a knot in excess of that speed, was triumphant testimony to the skill and care brought to bear upon the undertaking. In this case, at least, the result was not one due to a previous course of "trial and error" with actual ships, but was distinctly due to superior practical skill, backed and enhanced by knowledge and use of specialized branches in the science of marine architecture. Messrs. Denny are the only firm of private shipbuilders possessing an experimental tank for recording the speed and resistance of ships by means of miniature reproductions of the actual vessels, and to this fact may safely be ascribed their confidence in guaranteeing, and their success in obtaining, a speed so remarkable in itself and so much in excess of anything they had previously had to do with. Confirmatory evidence of their success with the Belgian steamers is afforded by the fact that they have recently been instructed to build for service between Stranraer and Larne a paddle steamer guaranteed to steam 19 knots, and have had inquiries as to other high speed vessels.
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