Steam engine conversions

Discussion in 'General Engine Discussion' started by DWT, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Nov 30, 2012 #1

    DWT

    DWT

    DWT

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    Hi everyone I'm new to this forum. I'm wondering if any other people have converted gas engines to run on steam. Engines large enough to do practical work. There maybe a place on this forum already I haven't had time to search. I have converted a 10 HP Tecumseh gas engine that I have run on air as I haven't had time to build a boiler yet. The engine can run a GM alternator to charge batteries and runs 1100 RPM unloaded and drops to 800 under full load on 125 psi air pressure. The motor develops 60 ft. lb. torque at 0 RPM, on gasoline it was rated at 18 ft. lbs. at 2000 RPM and this is one of the advantages of a steam engine, they develop almost as much power at 0 RPM as running full RPM. Another advantage is that a steam engine can use any fuel that will burn and boil water. Of coarse there are some disadvantages but I'll go into those later. I'm looking forward to hearing from people on this forum. I'll post some construction photos later when I have more time.

    DWT :)

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  2. Nov 30, 2012 #2

    Philjoe5

    Philjoe5

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    At first glance this looks quite interesting, though I must confess I have some questions.

    The IC engine has a 4 stroke design so I'm thinking the engine would be getting steam pressure on the piston once every 2 cycles ( a 1/2 acting engine?). Maybe more details will enlighten me.

    I do like the "originality" (To me) of the concept. Keep us posted.

    Also welcome to the forum

    Phil
     
  3. Nov 30, 2012 #3

    n4zou

    n4zou

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    In my opinion it would be much easier and safer to convert the engine to run on wood gas. No live steam to get scalded with or problems with local authorities inspecting and approving a boiler. Then you have problems with condensate in the engine oil. When I was in the Philippines during my time in the US Navy I volunteered to help isolated communities with their power generators. They used coconut shells in a wood gas generator to fuel the engine. The coconut shells worked just as well as wood to produce a combustible vapour that an IC engine can run on. The FEMA design is very simple to construct and operate. Wood or other suitable solid fuels can be added to the Gasifier without the need to shut it down as was required in the WWII designs. Disasters usually produce huge quantities of wood from damaged homes that can be processed using an axe or hatchet. That scrap wood can produce wood gas for a generator eliminating the need to source gasoline. Sourcing gasoline was a problem after Tropical Storm Sandy hit New York. You can also operate your generator using a fuel that costs you nothing that would end up being hauled away during clean up. Here is the link to detailed instructions for building and operating a Wood Gas system.
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDkQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.woodgas.net%2Ffiles%2FFEMA_emergency_gassifer.pdf&ei=ziO4UImjDoO-8ATGl4Aw&usg=AFQjCNHhq0oqOKhTIQSr0jrycS6MibI_AQ&sig2=ZNLeyq8FPtdS2RgfyEYYQw&cad=rja
     
    Bovine and scruffy like this.
  4. Nov 30, 2012 #4

    kvom

    kvom

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    Wouldn't the valve's phases be completely opposite of what is needed?
     
  5. Nov 30, 2012 #5

    DWT

    DWT

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    philjoe5
    The way I solved the 4 stroke problem was to weld and machine another cam lobe onto the opposite side of the camshaft this makes the valve open every revolution. I re-timed the cam to open the intake valve on the up stroke of the piston the intake valve is larger so it is better to use it for exhaust. The actual exhaust valve is not used and is installed just to seal the exhaust port the valve lifter is removed and plugged. The steam or air is injected through the spark plug hole by a steam valve of my own design that is operated by the cam lobe on the top of the flywheel. The reason I didn't use the exhaust valve as an intake is that that it would open in the direction of steam pressure and you would need too large of a valve spring to keep it closed. There isn't enough room in a small engine like this for a big enough spring. The combustion chamber is reduced as much as possible by welding and machining the cylinder head.

    n4zou
    Yes there are advantages and disadvantages to using steam instead of wood gas. A steam engine is much simpler, it needs no ignition system and produces much more power at low or zero RPM there for it is much better suited for applications that need high starting or low speed torque. If you can produce steam pressure a steam engine will always start and run.

    kvom
    I hope this answers your questions, if not let me know.

    DWT :)

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  6. Nov 30, 2012 #6

    Till

    Till

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    I'm not sure whether fatigue cracks with unexpected engine failure are some kind of "advantage"...
     
  7. Nov 30, 2012 #7

    DWT

    DWT

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    I'm not sure why you would be concerned with fatigue cracks with the way these motors are constructed if you have had experience with this problem let me know. Only time could tell if this would be a problem.

    Moderator

    I'm not sure where this thread really belongs If you want to move it go ahead just let me know where.

    DWT
     
  8. Dec 1, 2012 #8

    DWT

    DWT

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    As a steam engine I believe the stresses would be much less than when run on gasoline. First of all the pressure on the piston is not much greater than developed during the compression stroke and far less than at ignition. A steam engine develops its power by the pressure being applied to the piston for a much longer time and on every stroke and no or very little compression to rob power it also runs at a lot lower RPM. Oil must be injected with the steam and then removed if the boiler water is recycled. The engine must be preheated this can done by leaving the exhaust valve open until pure steam is emitted no condensation will be formed in the motor after it is up to operating temperature. Using an air cooled motor like this it would be necessary to insulate the cylinder this can be done by packing the cooling fins with fiberglass insulation and wrapping with an aluminum shroud. The boiler I plan to build is of my own design and it will not be inspected or built to any code it will be safe and fairly efficient. I simply follow the golden rule of engineering that simply states if there is any doubt build hell for stout. I'll go into details later if anyone is interested.

    DWT :)
     
  9. Mar 7, 2013 #9

    windy

    windy

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    I have just been loaned a book Steamboats and modern steam launches and there are some IC engines and fridge piston compressors that have been converted to steam power.
    The book is a reproduction of a magazine published in 1961 to 1963.
    Steam Automobile Club of America and steam boat clubs sometimes have information regarding steam conversions.

    Paul
     

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