On a ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...
, the engine room
, or ER
, commonly refers to the machinery spaces of a vessel. To increase the safety and damage survivability of a vessel, the machinery necessary for operations may be segregated into various spaces, the engine room is one of these spaces, and is generally the largest physical compartment of the machinery space. The engine room houses the vessel's prime mover, usually some variations of a heat engine - diesel engine, gas or steam turbine. On some ships, the machinery space may comprise more than one engine room, such as forward and aft, or port or starboard engine rooms, or may be simply numbered.
On a large percentage of vessels, ships and boats, the engine room is located near the bottom, and at the rear, or aft, end of the vessel, and usually comprises few compartments. This design maximizes the cargo carrying capacity of the vessel and situates the prime mover close to the propeller, minimizing equipment cost and problems posed from long shaft lines. The engine room on some ships may be situated mid-ship, especially on vessels built from 1900 to the 1960s. With the increased use of diesel electric propulsion packages, the engine room(s) may be located well forward, low or high on the vessel, depending on the vessel use.
The engine compartment of a locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...
may be described as an engine room.
The engine room of a motor vessel typically contains several engines for different purposes. Main, or propulsion engines are used to turn the ship's propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...
and move the ship through the water. They typically burn diesel oil or heavy fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...
, and may be able to switch between the two. There are many propulsion arrangements for motor vessels, some including multiple engines, propellers, and gearboxes.
Large engines drive electrical generators that provide power for the ship's electrical systems. Large ships typically have three or more synchronized
-Electricity generation:Electricity generation requires the connection of large numbers of alternators in parallel and additional alternators must be switched in when demand rises....
generators to ensure smooth operation. The combined output of a ship's generators is well above the actual power requirement to accommodate maintenance or the loss of one generator.
On a steamship, power for both electricity and propulsion is provided by one or more large boiler
A water tube boiler is a type of boiler in which water circulates in tubes heated externally by the fire. Fuel is burned inside the furnace, creating hot gas which heats water in the steam-generating tubes...
s giving rise to the alternate name boiler room
. High pressure steam from the boiler is used drive engines: reciprocating engines or turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...
s for propulsion, and turbo generator
A turbo generator is a turbine directly connected to an electric generator for the generation of electric power. Large steam powered turbo generators provide the majority of the world's electricity and are also used by steam powered turbo-electric ships.Smaller turbo-generators with gas turbines...
s for electricity. Besides propulsion and auxiliary engines, a typical engine room contains many smaller engines, including generators, air compressors, feed pumps, and fuel pumps. Today, these machines are usually powered by small diesel engines or electric motors, but may also use low-pressure steam.
The engine(s) get required cooling from liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers connected to fresh seawater or divertible to recirculate through tanks of seawater in the engine room. Both supplies draw heat from the engines via the coolant and oil lines. Heat exchangers are plumbed in so that oil is represented by a yellow mark on the flange of the pipes, and relies on paper type gaskets to seal the mating faces of the pipes. Sea water or brine, is represented by a green mark on the flanges and internal coolant is represented by blue marks on the flanges.
In addition to this array of equipment is the ships thruster system, typically operated by electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...
s controlled from the bridge. These thrusters are laterally mounted propellers that can suck or blow water from port to starboard (i.e. left to right) or vice versa. They are normally used only in maneuvering, e.g. docking operations, and are often banned in tight confines, e.g. drydocks.
Thrusters, like main propellers, are reversible by hydraulic operation. Small embedded hydraulic motors rotate the blades up to 180 degrees to reverse the direction of the thrust.
Engine rooms are hot, noisy, sometimes dirty, and potentially dangerous. The presence of flammable fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...
, high voltage (HV) electrical equipment and internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...
s (ICE) means that a serious fire hazard exists in the engine room, which is monitored continuously by the ship's engineering staff and various monitoring systems.
If equipped with internal combustion or turbine engines, engine rooms employ some means of providing air for the operation of the engines and associated ventilation. If individuals are normally present in these rooms, additional ventilation should be available to keep engine room temperatures to acceptable limits. If personnel are not normally in the engine space, as in many pleasure boats, the ventilation need only be sufficient to supply the engines with intake air. This would require an unrestricted hull opening of the same size as the intake area of the engine itself assuming the hull opening is in the engine room itself. Commonly screens are placed over such openings and if this is done, airflow is reduced by approximately 50% so the opening area is increased appropriately. The requirement for general ventilation and the requirement for sufficient combustion air are quite different. A typical arrangement might be to make the opening large enough to provide intake air plus 1000 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) for additional ventilation. Engines pull sufficient air into the engine room for their own operation. However, additional airflow for ventilation usually requires intake and exhaust blowers.
Engine rooms were separated from its associated Fire room
On a ship, the fire room, or FR or boiler room or stokehold, referred to the space of a vessel where water was brought to a boil. The steam was then transmitted to a separate engine room, located immediately aft, where it was utilized to power the vessel...
on fighting ships from the 1880s through the 1960s. If either experienced damage putting it out of action, the associated engine room could get steam from another fire room.
- Engineering department
- Marine propulsion
Marine propulsion is the mechanism or system used to generate thrust to move a ship or boat across water. While paddles and sails are still used on some smaller boats, most modern ships are propelled by mechanical systems consisting a motor or engine turning a propeller, or less frequently, in jet...
- Marine fuel management
Marine fuel management is a multi-level approach to measuring, monitoring, and reporting fuel usage on a boat or ship, with the goals of reducing fuel usage, increasing operational efficiency, and improving fleet management oversight...
- Mechanical room
A mechanical room or a boiler room is a room or space in a building dedicated to the mechanical equipment and its associated electrical equipment. Unless a building is served by a centralized heating plant, the size of the mechanical room is usually proportional to the size of the building...
- Electrical room
An electrical room is a room or space in a building dedicated to electrical equipment. The size of the electrical room is usually proportional to the size of the building. In large buildings there may be a main and subsidiary electrical rooms...