The Sea Cadet, No. 11, Vol. 2, July 1945

What Makes the Wheels Go Round ?By ENGINEER CAPTAIN C.T. CLOVER, R.N. (re [Wet.) published, at the end of last year, a series of articles dealing with the men who controlled and maintained a ship’s machinery. In this series, of which this is the first article, we give you the story of the engines themselves] I have been invited to tell you “what it is that makes the wheels go round ”and “exactly what hap­pens when an order is received for full speed ahead.” I am goaded into saying that it all depends upon what kind of “wheels ”you have in mind and in what class of ship they arc installed. I am going to make the assumption, therefore, that you are interested only in the most powerful plants of machin­ery fitted in the largest size of warship. This reduces the problem to describing in very general terms the lay-out of a modern battleship, be it understood not of any particular class nor of any 324 In the boiler room particular date. This, in turn, would resolve itself into four separate inde­pendent sets of geared turbines, each set driving its own screw propeller, motivated by steam power developed in superheated water-tube boilers, fired by oil fuel plus, of course, a great multiplicity of auxiliary machinery— the handmaiden and satellites of the main plant. So what makes the wheels go round is “power,” and if you are. to get a thorough grasp of the subject it would be advantageous at this point to discuss exactly what is meant by that over­worked word “power.” We hear of the Power of the Press, the Power of Money, the Power of the Church, the Power of Mind, the Great Powers, the Smaller Powers, and so forth. If it can be applied to such diverse activities, its common meaning must be that of force —controlled force. Power is, therefore, as it were, a reservoir of bottled-up energy waiting to be released, guided and controlled to perform useful work at the will of man. Bottled-up energy. So what is energy? It is defined as being the rate of doing work— a time factor you see is introduced. The next question is: What is work? Well, in British units work is measured in foot-pounds. If you lift a weight of one pound against
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