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Munters Helps Preserve the Past on Board Brunel's ss Great Britain

Launched in July 1843, Brunel’s SS Great Britain was the world’s first iron hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam-powered passenger liner. The largest ship of her day, she is the only surviving example of the type. She was returned as a hulk to Bristol in 1970 and over the past 4 years has undergone a massive £11.3 million conservation programme.

By controlling humidity, Munters
creates optimal conditions for
products during manufacture and
storage. As with SS Great Britain,
items are preserved from the
corrosive effects of the air’s moisture
Munters has proven consistent
success in meeting the preservation
demands of valuable artifacts at: the
British Museum, British Film
Institute, Hampton Court Palace,
and the National Maritime Museum
to name a few.
Work on this part of the project
started on site last year and was
completed in time for the ‘re-launch’
celebrations this July. Full
information on Brunel’s ss Great
Britain and the preservation project
is available on the web site
If you are looking for a solution or
improvement through humidity
control, make Munters your call.
How It Works - The Munters
All Munters’ sorption dehumidifiers
are equipped with drying wheels,
called rotors. The rotor contains
small air ducts with a very large
contact surface and is treated with a
substance, such as silica gel, that
easily absorbs moisture.
The running and maintenance of the
dehumidifier is very cost effective
and CFC-free and so is
environmentally friendly.

A unique design to preserve the 1840’s iron hulled ship, to stop deterioration of the ship’s hull in its dry dock, was required. The 100m long iron hull is surrounded at waterline level by a glass plate covered by a thin layer of water, which forms the ‘roof’ of the massive dehumidified chamber. Munters were approached by WSP Consulting Engineers to assist in their design of the conservation system for SS Great Britain which would dehumidify the lower hull below the glass plate and the inside of the ship itself to provide a controlled dry environment and stabilise the corrosion of the iron. Munters also worked in conjunction with regional construction company Bluestone and Building Services contractor MJN Colston. Capita Symons was the project and cost manager and Space Decks built the glass plate structure, which is providing a massive ‘wow’ factor for the visitors.

Two air handling units were installed
– one in the dry dock and one inside
the boiler room. A 100 tonne crane
was used to lower the dry dock unit
into place and the air handling unit
in the boiler room was delivered to
dockside in individual components.
These parts were lifted onto the deck
and carried the length of the ship.
They were then lowered through the
hatch and carried into the boiler
room. This process alone took 2
weeks using up to 9 men at any one
time. Some of these components
weighed up to 1 tonne.
Once constructed there was less than
100mm space left between the air
handling unit and the boiler room
bulkhead. It was constructed and
painted in the boiler room itself.
This process took 4 weeks to
Both units were specially designed
and incorporate Munters
dehumidification rotors. Each unit is
approximately 8 metres long and 3
metres high and weighs 8 tonnes.
The dry dock unit has 7 double
glazed viewing panels to allow
visitors to see the inside of the unit


  • Stabilise Corrosion
  • Cost Effective
  • CFC Free
  • Environmentally Friendly

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