The Rolls-Royce Spitfire

The Rolls-Royce Spitfire The Rolls-Royce Spitfire

Rolls-Royce Merlin

The Rolls-Royce Merlin is a British liquid-cooled, V-12, piston aero engine, of 27-litre (1,650 cu in) capacity. Rolls-Royce Limited designed and built the engine as a private venture. Initially known as the PV-12, it was later called Merlin following the company convention of naming its piston aero engines after birds of prey.   The PV-12 first ran in 1933 and, after several modifications, the first production variants were built in 1936. The first operational aircraft to enter service using the Merlin were the Fairey Battle, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. More Merlins were made for the four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber than for any other aircraft; however, the engine is most closely associated with the Spitfire, starting with the Spitfire’s maiden flight in 1936. A series of rapidly applied developments, brought about by wartime needs, markedly improved the engine’s performance and durability.

Rolls-Royce Spitfire

 The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the best loved and widely recognised British aircraft of all time. It was designed by Reginald J Mitchell, who also designed the Supermarine S-series racing seaplanes which secured the Schneider Trophy after competition wins in 1927, 1929 and 1931.   The prototype Spitfire, K5054, first flew on 5 March 1936 powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin, the last of Sir Henry Royce’s engine concepts before his death. Delivery of the first production Mk1 Spitfires into RAF squadron service took place from July 1938. The Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane with their Merlin engines achieved lasting fame during the Battle of Britain in 1940.   Initially the new engine was plagued with problems, such as failure of the accessory gear trains and coolant jackets, and several different construction methods were tried before the basic design of the Merlin was set. Early production Merlins were also unreliable: Common problems were cylinder head cracking, coolant leaks, and excessive wear to the camshafts and crankshaft main bearings.

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The Rolls-Royce Spitfire – Rolls-Royce

The Rolls-Royce Spitfire The Rolls-Royce Spitfire The Rolls-Royce Spitfire The Rolls-Royce Spitfire

Spitfire Rolls-Royce

Initially the new engine was plagued with problems, such as failure of the accessory gear trains and coolant jackets, and several different construction methods were tried before the basic design of the Merlin was set. Early production Merlins were also unreliable: Common problems were cylinder head cracking, coolant leaks, and excessive wear to the camshafts and crankshaft main bearings.   Early engines   The prototype and developmental engine types were the:
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. 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.   A sectioned, parallel valve, aircraft engine cylinder head is shown with colour-coded internal details. Coolant passage ways are painted green; the valves, valve springs, camshaft and rocker arms are also shown.   Parallel valve Merlin cylinder headMerlin 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. It was first widely delivered as the 1,030-horsepower (770 kW) Merlin II in 1938, and production was quickly stepped up