Big Stuff webinars

The Big Stuff large technology conservation community webinars are intended to get us all talking. We will have a short talk to introduce the topic and get things started, and then the “floor” will be open for you to share your thoughts and experiences.

Webinar 2 – The pros and cons of wet steam lubrication

Monday 27th Sept at 11am London time – details below and register here

The UK’s Science and Industry Museum, Manchester (part of the Science Museum Group) has asked the Big Stuff community to help them work out an innovative plan for operating their steam engines, at our next free Big Stuff Webinar on Monday 27th September 2021.

The Museum is redoing their Power Hall. As well as creating a display that is exciting and informative, they want to create a display that is environmentally friendly. However, their steam engines use large quantities of water which get contaminated with lubricating oil and have to be jettisoned as waste. So they are looking for a solution that will keep the engines running AND make them more environmentally friendly AND keep maintenance costs under control. 

They are particularly interested in the potential of steam lubrication, but don’t know much about how it works in practice and whether it is likely to translate to the museum situation successfully. So they have asked the Big Stuff community if we can help by sharing our collective expertise and experiences.

Here is the challenge:

  • Sustainability target: instead of putting the large quantities of water required to run the engines down the drain, the Museum wants to run the engines on a closed loop. 
  • Economy target: The problem with the closed loop is that if oil is used to lubricate the engines, enough will get through (even with good filtration) to void the boiler warranty, and to increase maintenance costs. 
  • Can the Museum bring sustainability and economy together in one solution by using the steam itself as the lubricant. This method has been used in ship engines, but the Museum has been unable to find out much about how it works in practice and whether it would translate well to the museum context. 

Do you know much about this method? Have you used it in practice? Are there any other ways of achieving the Museum’s aims?

If you would like to be part of the discussion (or just listen in!), please join us on Zoom on Monday 27th Sept at 11am London time. Please use this link to register and we will send you the Zoom link closer to the date. The Museum has also provided images of some of the engines, and a schematic of the potential steam flow layout for the gallery. You can check them out here.

Webinar 1 – Inhibited dewatering fluids for preventing crevice corrosion

The first webinar was held on 12 April 2021 on the topic of coatings for corrosion protection, starting with a presentation by Eva Wentland on her research into the potential of dewatering fluids with calcium sulphonate inhibitors for protecting areas of crevice corrosion. A summary of the discussion is available here.

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