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Are used at sea to produce distilled water from sea water. Though the Sirius was an exception, early steamships used sea water for boilers, but the salt scale caused loss of efficiency and the sea water was corrosive. Freshwater feed avoided these problems but there was a limit to how much fresh water a ship could conveniently carry. By the 1880s evaporators were fitted on ships to make distilled water from sea water, where the sea water was boiled and the vapour condensed to give distilled water. A modern ship, whether tanker, container ship, or cruise ship, can meet all of its fresh water needs by making fresh water from sea water in an evaporator plant, though the water has to be treated in order to destroy all bacteria as this is not destroyed by the low temperature heating. Essential minerals must also be added as drinking distilled water is harmful.

Denis Griffiths

Subjects: Maritime History.

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