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> 09-22-05: What makes the ship move?
post Sep 23 2005, 10:21 PM
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What makes the ship move?

Ship Position at 2005/09/22 07:29:01 UTC
Longitude: 43 9.958 E Latitude: 84 36.563 N

Pounding through the ice & what makes the ship move?

We are making good progress toward the ice edge. Seems like the heavy ice is behind us and we are expecting reaching open water tomorrow. Scientists use the down time to write reports and discuss findings. Dr. Garry Brass spoke about international sea law during the traditional Wednesday’s night science talk. Reading my e-mail this morning I got the news about hurricane Rita. My son is a student in Houston and my hometown Brownsville, TX is just 35 miles from the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico- reasons for being concerned. Being on an icebreaker in the middle of nowhere leaves me with “Hoping for the best and trust that the people at home prepare for the worst”.

Feeling and hearing the engines of the ship as we are pounding our way through the ice inspired me to find out about the ships propulsion system.

CWO2, Jeffrey Parker, who is responsible for the Auxiliary and Main Propulsion divisions aboard HEALY showed me around explaining what makes the ship move. CWO2, Parker, has been with the Coast Guard more than 21 years and on the HEALY since June 2005. He lives in Chesapeake, VA. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, and his three Yellow Labrador retrievers. I got to know him as an excellent guitar player with a good sense of humor.

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Propulsion/Electrical System USCGC HEALY

1. To operate the ship electric power is needed.

We started our tour in the Engineering Control Center (ECC). The ships systems and are monitored electronically 24/7 from here (Machinery Plant Control and Monitoring System, MPCMS). Warnings and alarms show up on the computer screens if problems occur- lots of bells and whistles.

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Electric Power-Diesel Electric AC
Electric power for propulsion and ship’s services (light, electricity, science equipment…) is generated by 4 diesel generator sets. Physics one to one- the diesel engines turn the generator and electricity is produced by electromagnetic induction. Each generator produces 7200 kW, 6600 V-AC, 60 Hz, 3PH, 514 rev/min.

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2. Electricity needs to be transported, distributed and transformed

The power is provided from a 6600 V –AC, 60 Hz, 3 phase bus distribution system. Switchboards direct the electricity through the ship and transformers step down the AC-Voltage.

6600V/450 V-Ships service transformer
6600V/1444V Cyclotransformers

Physics one to one “Transformers”- Electromagnetic induction again

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3. What turns the ships fixed bladed propellers?

The propulsion power for the shafts to the 2 propellers is provided by 2 motors, the port motor and the STBD motor (AC synchronous, fully reversing, 2MW, 2320 V, 160 -130- 0-130-160 Rev/min)

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4. What controls the speed of the motors?

The AC/AC Cycloconverter system controls the speed of the motors by varying the frequency of the power provided to the motors.

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Thanks to CWO2, Jeffrey Parker, for his time and generosity in granting me this interesting tour.
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