Monday, 2 November 2009

IKB Top Up

It seems years since I've had a close brush with IKB, one is usually left heartened and impressed by the experience and of course it was only a few months ago that I trundled over the Firth of Forth and enjoyed a good deep metaphorical lung-full of his genius in the shape of the Forth Rail Bridge. A recent visit to Bristol demanded a couple of hours therapy in the old Great Western dry dock, drooling over the SS Great Britain. Couldn't resist this shot of a pair of 8" nuts retaining one of the main bearing journals of the gargantuan inverted V4 1000HP low pressure steam engine. The ship has just had a pile of money spent on her in an effort to halt corrosion - a false water level has been built in glass with a couple of inches of water slopping around on top giving the impression that the ship is afloat. A staircase takes you down "underwater" where a massive de-humidifying plant keeps the atmospheric humidity below 20% - in these dry conditions the salts absorbed into the old iron plates and ribs are prevented from causing any more damage - very trick and worthwhile.
This shot of the single screw merits inclusion as its design came about, like so many wonders, via the IKB Trial&Error department. Apparently the first design failed to cope with the power and staggering torque of the engine and had to be re-developed. Brunel's approach to problem solving was incredibly brave, confident, considered and ingenious but it's the sheer forcefulness of his efforts, his ability to actually get these projects off the ground, raise finance, cope with sceptics and just keep going in the face of immense problems that impress me most. I've bought a ticket for the SS GB and sent it to No 10 in the hope that Gordon might learn something about what we need to be doing in this country. MORE ENGINEERING !

6 comments:

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome back Diplo! Been staring at that lump of pork for far too long. Great pictures of IKB's skill, nothing like close-ups of his work. They remind me that it's time I went to Bristol again, if only to stare at the muddy Avonfrom his Clifton Suspension Bridge. More parachutes!

Thud said...

Perhaps you have another couple of pics from your trip?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Marvellous stuff. More Brunel always appreciated.

Toby Savage said...

I wondered why Gordon looked so worried on the news this week. Must have received your ticket!

非凡 said...

I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard.^^

Affer said...

Pic number 1 reminds of the occasion in Skipton when a mentally deranged person assaulted two women in the local Launderette before legging it across the Moors. As the Craven Herald headlined it: 'Nut screws washers and bolts.'

I'll get my coat..........