Welcome to Interesting Engineering’s Top Largest Engines in the World. Being such a “catch-all” topic we have decided to choose certain historical and current examples. Ranging from humble land based internal combustion engines to gravity defying space rockets, the following list is an eclectic mix of old and new.
Some of these are truly amazing pieces of technology, others are historically important and have been included as honorable role members of these “beasts of burden”.
World’s Largest Turbofan Engine
Weighing in at just under 8300 kgs, the GE90-115B is the world’s biggest jet engine. At 18 foot long and 11.25 wide this incredible engine set the world record for blasting 127,900 pounds of thrust. That’s a beast!
“In 1995, the GE90 engine debuted aboard a British Airways 777 aeroplane along with commercial aviation’s first-ever carbon-fiber composite fan blades. Early GE90 engine models boasted outputs between 74,000 and 94,000 lbs. of thrust, and today it remains the world’s largest turbofan engine.” – GE
[Image Source: General Electric]
Largest Mass produced aviation piston engine – in the US
The Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major was a four-row radial piston aircraft engine designed and built during World War II. The Wasp Major was the largest-displacement aviation piston engine to be mass-produced in the United States.
The last of the family and the culmination of Pratt and Whitney’s piston engine tech the war ended before it could be used in combat aircraft.
Eight of these beasts were used on the famous “Spruce Goose” H-4 Hercules, each producing 3000bhp.
With a name like that, you’d hope the engine can meet expectations. It certainly can, the 71-litre version has 28 cylinders, in a radial configuration and a power output of 3500 bhp.
The Largest Radial Aero Engine
Let us introduce the Lycoming XR-7755. At 127 liters, 5,000 break horsepower, 36 cylinders and 2.7 tons, if that’s not a big engine I don’t know what is.
The Lycoming XR-7755 was, and still is, the largest piston-driven aircraft engine ever produced. It was intended for use on the USAF “European Bomber” (which eventually became the B-36 Corsair). The project was cancelled in 1946 with the USAF’s attention diverted to jet engines.
The Largest Wind Motor
The Seimens SWT-6.0-154 is a massive offshore wind turbine. It features a 6 mw output and swept area of 18,600 meters.
The turbine is based on the Seimens’ direct drive technology and has fewer moving parts than comparable direct drive technology. The head weighs less than 360 tonnes. Seimens state that the combination of robustness, low weight significantly reduces installation, serving costs and increase lifespan.
“Benefiting from our unique offshore experience, the SWT-6.0-154 direct drive wind turbine is designed to exploit a broad range of offshore environmental conditions. Designed to IEC 1 standards, the SWT-6.0-154 can be deployed in any known offshore location. The 154 m rotor, designed specifically for the Siemens offshore direct drive turbines, has a swept rotor area of 18,600 m2, therefore maximising energy yield at offshore locations, from inland waters with moderate wind resources to the most exposed offshore sites.”
[Image Source: Siemens]
The Largest (By Length) Steam Locomotive Engine
Built between 1941 and 1945, Union Pacifics Railroad’s 4000 class were the longest steam locomotives built. Commonly known as “Big Boys”, for a good reason, the 4-8-8-4 articulated steam locomotives went out of service in 1959. They were replaced by diesel engines soon afterwards.
At 25 meters long and a tractive effort of just over 135,000 pounds force, they were truly powerful machines.
Largest Diesel Engine
Installed in H. C. Ørsted Power Station in Denmark, the B and W CM 884WS-150 was the world’s largest diesel engine between 1932 and 1962. Truly monstrous it was an eight-cylinder two-stroke diesel engine.
The size of the engine is breathtaking, at nearly 25 meters long, 12.5 metres high and weighing in at 1400 tonnes. Its crankshaft weighs 140 tons alone and the entire engine consumes 40 tons of lubricating oil. While no displacement figure is available, the engine is said to be capable of producing 22,500bhp.
The Largest Industrial Turbine Engine
Designed for use in nuclear power stations, the GE 1750 MWe ARABELLE turbine generator converts steam into electricity. The turbine blades weigh 176 pounds on their own.
“Arabelle steam turbines deliver power from 700MW to 1,900MW in both 50 and 60 Hz cycles and can be adapted to any heat sink conditions with a choice of low pressure modules and types of last-stage blades. From its unique single-flow steam expansion design that improves efficiency to welded rotors and an independent LP exhaust design that lowers loads onto the foundation, Arabelle can meet the expectations of the most demanding nuclear power producers.” – GE
The Largest Rocket Engine
At a total of 363 feet tall and 18.5 feet for the engine alone, The Saturn V rocket was the biggest ever made. The rocket had a design output of 7.5 million horsepower (at launch stage), which is enormous. Though given the rocket’s designed purpose to escape Earth’s gravity it should come as no surprise.
[Image Source: Pixabay]
The Largest Car Engine Of All Time
Built in 1910-11, the FIAT S76, later renamed the FIAT 300 HP Record, specifically to beat the land speed record held at the time by Blitzen Benz. It has a 4-cylinder engine with a displacement of 28,353 cm3 (1,730.2 in3) (190mm x 250mm), and provides 290 metric hp (290 CV / 213kW) at 1900 rpm.
Two engines were originally built with the first purchased by Russian Prince Boris Soukhanov in 1911, prior to the revolution. This engine was then moved to Austrialia and fitted with a Stutz engine but eventually crashed in 1924. The second one was kept by Fiat and scrapped in 1920.
The Largest Marine Engine
Powering the largest ocean-going container ships in the world the Finnish Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C is a magnificent piece of engineering. Consisting of a two-stroke turbo running on heavy fuel oil, it can be configured with six to fourteen cylinders.
The RTA-96-C is the largest reciprocating engine in the world and is capable of producing 108,920bhp. It runs at engines speeds from 22-102rpm, and has a crankshaft weighing 300 tons.
Consuming more than 39 barrels of oil per hour, it costs $34/minute to run: Impressive!
So there you have it, our pick of the Ten Largest Engines in the World.
Have we missed any? Let’s hear your suggestions!