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Operational Information

The Two Stroke Crosshead Engine


The Exhaust Valve
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Exhaust valves open inwards into the cylinder, so that the gas pressure in the cylinder will
ensure positive closing and help dislodge any build up of carbon on the valve seat.
Two stroke crosshead engines have a single exhaust valve mounted in the centre of the
cylinder head. The opening and closing of the valve is controlled by a cam mounted on
the camshaft. On older engines the cam follower lifts a push rod, which operates a rocker
arm and opens the valve.
This has disadvantages: The push rod and rocker arm is heavy and the engine must
overcome the inertia of these heavy parts. The motion of the rocker arm is an arc of a
circle, which will tend to move the exhaust valve sideways, causing wear on the exhaust
valve guide which locates the exhaust valve spindle. Exhaust gas can then leak up the
spindle, causing overheating and accelerating wear. The springs which ensure the valve
closes will weaken with use and are liable to break.
Modern two stroke crosshead engines have a
hydraulically operated air sprung exhaust valve. The
cam operates a hydraulic pump instead of a push rod.
Oil (from the engine LO system) displaced by the
pump operates a piston in the exhaust valve which
pushes the valve open.
Instead of mechanical springs, the valve has an "air
spring". Air at 7 bar is led via a non return valve to
the underside of a piston attached to the valve spindle.
As the valve opens, the air underneath the piston is
compressed. The expansion of this compressed air,
when the hydraulic pressure is relieved assists in the
closing of the valve. The air is supplied with a small
amount of oil for lubrication purposes. Air is also led
down the exhaust valve guide. This keeps the guide
cool and lubricated, and prevents the exhaust gas
leaking up the guide. Excess oil which collects at the
bottom of the air spring cylinder is drained to a
collecting tank.

To prevent the possibility of an air lock, the hydraulic system has a small leak off at the top of the exhaust valve hydraulic
cylinder. Oil is made up via a non return valve. A relief valve is also fitted. A damping arrangement on top of the piston
in the exhaust valve prevents hammering of the valve seating.
The valve spindle is fitted with a winged valve rotator. The kinetic energy in the exhaust gas rotates the valve a small
amount as it passes. This keeps the valve at an even temperature and helps reduce the build up of deposits on the valve
seat.
The cage of the exhaust valve is of cast iron as is the guide. The renewable valve seat is a hardened molybdenum steel
and the valve spindle can be a molybdenum chrome alloy with a layer of stellite welded onto the seating face, or
alternatively a heat resistant nimonic alloy valve head, friction welded to an alloy steel shaft.
When the valves are overhauled, the valves and seats are not lapped together. Instead special grinding equipment is used
to grind the seat and spindle to the correct angles.
The MAN B&W W seat extends valve life. click here

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