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Surging in Main Engine and Its Reasons

In this blog post, I will explain the surging reasons in the main engine of a ship, how to prevent them and what to do if they happen. Surging is a phenomenon that affects the performance and efficiency of the turbocharger, which is a device that increases the air pressure and flow to the engine cylinders. Surging occurs when the airflow through the compressor of the turbocharger breaks down and reverses, causing a high-pitched vibration and noise. Surging can damage the turbocharger bearings and rotor and reduce the engine power output.

causes of surging in main engine of a ship

– Rapid variation (reduction) in load: This happens when the engine speed changes suddenly due to external factors like bad weather, propeller immersion or maneuvering. This reduces the air intake and causes backflow of scavenging air, leading to surging.
– Choked exhaust and air passages: This happens when the scavenge ports, valves or air cooler are clogged with carbon deposits or dirt, restricting the airflow and creating a high back pressure on the compressor.
– Abnormal fuel system: This happens when one or more cylinders are misfiring due to faulty injectors, pumps or valves, creating an imbalance in the power distribution and air consumption among the cylinders.
– Fouled compressor or turbine: This happens when the inlet filters, nozzle or blades of the turbocharger are dirty or damaged, reducing the airflow and efficiency of the compressor or turbine.
– Bad condition of economizer: This happens when the exhaust gas boiler or economizer is fouled or blocked, restricting the exhaust gas flow and increasing the back pressure on the turbine.
– Scavenge fire or exhaust fire: This happens when unburnt fuel or oil ignites in the scavenge space or exhaust manifold, creating a high temperature and pressure that affects the turbocharger performance.

To prevent surging in the main engine of a ship, some of the measures that can be taken are:

– Keep the turbocharger intake air filter clean and change it periodically .
– Keep the turbine and compressor side clean by water washing or grid blasting according to the manufacturer’s recommendations .
– Proper maintenance and checks should be done on the turbocharger periodically .
– Soot blowing should be done regularly in case of economizer or exhaust boiler.
– Indicator cards should be taken to assess cylinder and power distribution of individual units.

If surging happens in the main engine of a ship, some of the steps that can be followed are:

– Reduce the rpm (inform bridge & C/E if it is M/E, if it is A/E start the standby generator and troubleshoot the affected generator).
– Check the load whether it is varying or not, if it is varying try to make it steady.
– Make sure that there is no fire on scavenge and exhaust side.
– Check the air filter if it is dirty change it.
– Do the grid washing and water washing by taking turbocharger rpm into manufacturer’s recommendation.

I hope this blog post has helped you understand the surging reasons in the main engine of a ship, how to prevent them and what to do if they happen. If you have any questions or comments, please write them down below.

MG Staff
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