The Merlin....

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    What would have happened if Germany, Italy, Japan had bought the license for the Merlin in '33, when it first ran, October was it, would it helped them towards better machines, could they've developed the Merlin in much the same way as Rolls Royce, or...?
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #2 GregP, Mar 11, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
    Interesting question. The main question is whether they would build it as designed or modify it into an inverted Vee configuration ala the DB 60X series, Given the German predilection for cannon or MG firing through the spinner, it's hard to say. But the Bf 109 with an upright Merlin is nowhere NEAR as good looking as the Bf 109 with an inverted Vee engine ... I can say that with authority since I have worked on the Hispano He.1112 Buchon. While it has power, it is sort of an ugly stepchild. One interesting thought is whether or not the Merlin design could have been adapted earlier to the "Ta-152" configuration. I tend to think it could have been, but would not care to try it myself other than maybe as a line drawing.

    The Italians could have done some things with the Merlin (think Fiat G.59). Their G.55, MC.202/205, and Re.2005 could ALL have been adapted to upright V-12 power. They would have looked different, but I doubt many more would have been made. The issue wasn't the engine, it was the complicated, labor-intensive designs. Without more resources being allocated, they would have done about what they actually did, numerically.

    The Japanese were good at "Japanezing" other designs to make them very individual in their own right. If they had done that, at LEAST they would have had access to a reliable V-12, which the Atsuta never was (they forgot to drill an oil galley hole in the nosecase!). The Ki-61 may well have developed into a world-class fighter without ever being converted to radial power, and it might well have been the fastest and highest-flying of the bunch.

    The Russians based their V-12's on the Hispano-Suiza. If THEY had adopted the Merlin and "Russianized" it, maybe it would have been a real difference maker. Think of a Yak-3 with a 2-stage Merlin-based engine!
     
  3. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Yes, RR engines are so reliable that Japanese have forgot to develop them by themselves after the war.
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Good one Shinpachi,

    After the war, I think the Japanese went almost immediately to the jet engine, didn't they?
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #5 DonL, Mar 11, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
    I don't think it had helped any of the three,
    perhaps more worse, it would have been very fast a dead end.

    From my sources, especially development history sources for the german engines, the germans were well aware of their restrict possibilitys of high octane fuel at the beginning of the development of their engines (1930 Junkers and DB).

    Not until 1935 the I.G. Farben got a license from Standard Oil for producing tetraethyl lead/TEL. Very smal production started 1936. So the germans planed from the beginning with B4 fuel, because development started long before 1935 and also from the whole background of the german fuel situation, which must always be imported, they can't plan with better fuel then B4.
    The advertisement of the RLM (from the beginning)were at least 1000PS, so the german engineers focus on more engine deplacement from the beginning to got the performance.

    From my sources the whole war the germans didn't had or got any informations about isooctane for producing 130/150 fuel.
    So the germans produced with TEL some quantity of 100/130 but it was very little compare to GB or the USA, what was the result of the whole german fuel situation.

    I have discussed this with SR6 here in the forum a while ago, I don't think it would be possible to get more then 1200-1250PS out of the Merlin without 100/130/150 fuel, to have the possibility for massive increased boost from the beginning of the Merlin till the Merlin XX or Merlin 60.

    If you look at the german engines they were most of the war at 1,3-1,42 ata very late they got 1,6-1,8ata, but this is wide away from 16 or 18 psi boost.

    I don't think that the Italians ever flew more then B4 fuel and if they got any license from Standard Oil for producing tetraethyl lead/TEL, to my opinion they got this from Germany.

    For the japanese I have no plan, but I don't think they had ever the possibilty to mass produce 100/130 or even 130/150 octane fuel and if we look at their big radial engines (huge engine deplacement), I think they were on the same way as the germans.

    So in summary I don't think a licensed Merlin had realy helped any of this three nations more the opposite.
     
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  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Russians threw turbos on practically every engine they made in the late 1930s and tried more than a few experimental mechanical two stage engines also during the war. There were also at least TWO if not three different engine setups for the PE-8 4 engine bomber that had one V-12 engine in the Fuselage driving a supercharger that supplied air to the 4 engines in the wings. They even had aircraft V-12 diesels with two turbo superchargers per bank ( 4 turbos per engine) They just couldn't get any to actually work to even the Russian normal standard of reliability. It is also very hard to use two stage supercharging with lousy fuel. You need even better/bigger inter-coolers than the guys who have good fuel.

    One also has to remember that nobody bought licences for experimental engines. If anybody shelled out money for an aircraft engine licence it was for an engine that was already in production and at least somewhat proven to work.

    from wiki;

    "PV-12, The initial design using an evaporative cooling system. Two built, passed bench Type Testing in July 1934, generating 740 horsepower (552 kW) at 12,000-foot (3,700 m) equivalent. First flown 21 February 1935"

    "Merlin B, Two built, ethylene glycol liquid cooling system introduced. "Ramp" cylinder heads (inlet valves were at a 45-degree angle to the cylinder). Passed Type Testing February 1935, generating 950 horsepower (708 kW) at 11,000-foot (3,400 m) equivalent."

    "Merlin C, Development of Merlin B; Crankcase and cylinder blocks became three separate castings with bolt-on cylinder heads.[6] First flight in Hawker Horsley 21 December 1935, 950 horsepower (708 kW) at 11,000-foot (3,400 m)"

    "Merlin E, Similar to C with minor design changes. Passed 50-hour civil test in December 1935 generating a constant 955 horsepower (712 kW) and a maximum rating of 1,045 horsepower (779 kW). Failed military 100-hour test in March 1936. Powered the Supermarine Spitfire prototype."

    "Merlin F, (Merlin I) Similar to C and E. First flight in Horsley 16 July 1936.[18] This became the first production engine; and was designated as the Merlin I. The Merlin continued with the "ramp" head, but this was not a success and only 172 were made. The Fairey Battle was the first production aircraft to be powered by the Merlin I and first flew on 10 March 1936."

    "Merlin G, (Merlin II) Replaced "ramp" cylinder heads with parallel pattern heads (valves parallel to the cylinder) scaled up from the Kestrel engine. 400 Hour flight endurance tests carried out at RAE July 1937; Acceptance test 22 September 1937."

    What would somebody be "licensing" in 1933/34 and without R-R expertise and drive (Merlin was their 6th V-12 aircraft engine) what would be the chances of success and cost of developing a 1933/34 Merlin to a satisfactory service engine?
     
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  7. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    Agreed, the Merlin needed a lot of work to reach a satisfactory level of development. Aside from this, it is not easy to successfully place a foreign engine into production in a timely manner, even with a proper license and technical data, as there will always tend to be differences in materials, fuels, and production techniques and tolerances. The Soviets licensed many different foreign designs; in the process they found that intensive development was needed to keep up with developments carried out by the original developers. While they sometimes advanced beyond the original manufacturers, the Klimov developments of the HS12Y line being a notable example, they also found that some designs were going to be obsolete before they could reach production and abandoned them.

    Interestingly, Heinkel apparently expressed some interest in licensing the RR engines.
     
  8. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you know it very well, Greg.
    Japan restarted jet engine developments in the 1950s under the project name JO-1 to complete it as J-3 in 1960.
    However, it was no match for RR at all.

    Photo: JO-1

    JO-1.JPG
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I tend to think that if the nations had purchased the right to manufacture the Merlin, they would also have pursued the gasoline to make it come alive. A great potential usually feeds the desire to achieve that potential, and they'd surely have the example of the British power achievements to reach for.

    In Germany, if the DB 60x series really DID have 50-100 hour TBO time, then the Merlin would have addressed at LEAST that part. There was GREAT room for improvement in engine life from a 50 hour TBO!
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In 1933/34 nobody KNEW what kind of gasoline it would take. The US was pursuing the wrong gasoline (low aromatic) until about 1940 or 1941. By the time anybody figured out the real potential ( Hooker with the Merlin XX or the two stage superchargers or....?) it was way too late to redo most petro-chemical industries.
     
  11. DonL

    DonL Banned

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  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't wrong, it was different from what others were doing ... worked fine for us, but was difficult to continue with when we were burning gas from somewhere else in our engines. So ... we changed.

    Bearing life is another story.
     
  13. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    This is onlyy partly correct.
    The DB 601 was up to 100-170 hours without problems. The Jumo 211 to 170-200 also the Jumo 213 to 150-170 hours.

    The major problems had the DB 605 (save alloy engine) and the DB 603.
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Low aromatic gas was never going to get to the 100/130 performance number range. So yes, US 100 octane in 1939/40 worked lot better than 87 octane gas (performance number 68.29)but was going to come up way short of 100/130 octane fuel.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Since DB601 / DB605 was just as good.

    Would Japan encounter same problems manufacturing Merlin engine as DB601?
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Well, they forgot to drill one oil galley hole and, as a result, the Atsuta would run until the nosecase seized. If they also didn't drill the Merlin oil feed to the nosegears, the same thing would happen.
     
  17. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    More than likely, particularly if their manufacturers were not given license to use, or did not have adequate supplies of the special alloys, collectively known as Hiduminium, which were devised by Rolls-Royce and High Duty Alloys Ltd http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1939/1939-1- - 0032.html http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1939/1939-1- - 0303.html ; while the Japanese did devise their own special alloys for their airframes and propellers, it is impossible to know whether they could have replicated the high-temperature, high-strength alloys needed by their Merlin derivative.
     
  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It would seem any kind of failure analysis would have caught that early with the first few engine failures.

    Even us small time racers try to find out what caused a engine to fail. We look at what's left and try to figure out the sequence of events.
     
  19. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    #19 Elmas, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
    It has to be said that production licences in those times were not given so liberally...... think about DB 601 and Regia Aeronautica. Licenses were given just for proven but rather obsolete engines, like G&R K14 rather than for promising but unproven engines.
    And neither in these days.....
     
  20. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    I recall that Sweden had a difficult time negotiating licenses for the DB605.

    Aside from this, the newest engine versions tended to be kept secret.
     
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