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Marine Engineering Series: Shafting, Bearings and Lubrication

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The newly revised edition of this material contains significant improvements and updates.
The ship’s main propulsion transmission system consists of the equipment and components necessary to convert the rotative output power of the propulsion prime mover into the thrust power delivered by the propulsor to propel the ship. These equipment and components consist of the main reduction gearing, if needed to reduce the prime mover rotational speed to the required propeller speed, and the propulsion shafting system, consisting of the line and waterborne shafting, shaft bearings and couplings, and the propeller.
This chapter focuses on the design of the propulsion shafting, the shaft bearings and their lubrication. The propeller hydrodynamic design and the design of reduction gears are presented in other chapters and are not repeated here. Although the fundamentals outlined in the following sections apply to all types of prime movers and propulsors, the discussion is for a propulsion plant using a fixed-pitch propeller and a geared diesel prime mover in order to avoid being unduly confusing in the discussion. However, considerations are discussed where the selection of a prime mover has an influence on the shafting design.