Let us talk a bit about what pushed a 66,000 ton ship through the Atlantic swell. The Titanic was 92 feet wide, 883 feet long, 175 feet from the keel to the funnels, and 30 feet of that was under the water. She weighed in at 66,000 tons of steel and iron, massive weight, massive length, and massive width. What would it take to push this mass of steel through water? The answer, some heavy duty power...
The Titanic had two reciprocating engines, to go into a little more detail, they were reciprocating, four cylinder, triple expansion, direct acting inverted engines. And there were two of them, they drove the side propellers. How much horsepower? 30,000 hp for one of these engines, 30,000 hp driving one propeller, that's impressive. I'm not an engineer, but I'll explain as best as I can how they work... first steam from the boilers is fed through pipes till they reach the engines, then the steam is fed into the cylinders at very high pressure, such as 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, this high pressure steam forces a shaft to turn, and in the end of that shaft, is a propeller. And where did all that excess steam go? Continue reading! I'm sure a mechanic could explain it better, but that will have to do.
Altogether, 60,000 hp with just these and were not done yet...
The Titanic was also equipped with a low pressure, Parsons turbine that drove the center propeller, this engine created 16,000 hp. This third engine would allow the Titanic's cruising speed to be brought up to 23-24 knots, which is about 27 miles per hour!!!
These engines were simply Titanic! They were as tall as a three story building. Our church is two story in the back, so just imagine these engines towering above that, about 8 feet.
So Titanic's total hp was 76,000 hp, that's a whole lot of horses. Think of it like this, chain 76,000 horse's to the Titanic and let them pull their hearts out, it's hard for me to conceive of 76,000 horses in one spot at the same time, but that's what is couped up in these massive engines.
Propellers are not the only things that the engines powered, they sent power to generaters to give power to the Marconi wireless, to all the lights and heaters.
I guess for a behemoth ship you need huge engines!
The Titanic's engines preformed well for the short time they were needed. On the night of April 14th 1912, the Titanic's engines were pumping at almost full speed, speeding through a known ice field. When first officer Murdoch put the engines "full astern",what he was really doing was slamming the brakes on the biggest liner the world had ever seen, and more than that, he threw it in reverse, one second these engines are spinning one way at full speed, and then in another second they're supposed to be spinning in the other direction. You can imagine the stress they were under. I have had the opportunity to be in a vehicle going 70 miles per hour when it was thrown into reverse, it's a pretty chilling experience. This had worse effects than putting the engines under stress, if Murdoch would not of put the engines in reverse, she may not of hit the iceberg at all, and I'll explain! The rudder of a ship and the propellers are situated in the back, the propellers are right under the rudder, ok, if you're traveling at a high rate of speed and you turn the rudder hard over and put the engines in reverse, you will lose the flow of water around the rudder. Because you have a mass moving in one direction, and you have propellers spinning to make it go the other direction, you create a stillness of water around the rudder, if he would not have put the engines in reverse, the water would have flowed freely around the rudder, and thus turned more quickly!!! It was a fatal mistake, and one that should not have been made by an officer!