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aostling
12-28-2008, 02:21 AM
I never saw a motorcycle under steam, but today I saw this one inside a glass case. (Too bad I didn't have my polarizing filter to eliminate the reflections.) It was in the Musée Mécanique, a free attraction at Pier 44 in San Francisco. This museum is the world's largest collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines. They are in their original working condition, and you can play them.

This steamer is really old. Are there any newer examples that you know of?


http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/steambike.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/P1000957.jpg

dp
12-28-2008, 02:37 AM
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/steam-powered-motorcycle-4269.html

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/brassgoggles/200610/hubbard-steam-powered-motorcycle

http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2007/07/09/steampunk-motorcycles/

Might be difficult to roll into a town and ask for a couple gallons of clear water and some dry tamarack :)

franco
12-28-2008, 07:57 AM
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pattle/nacc/arc0373.htm

Also some earlier ones here:

http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEUM/TRANSPORT/steambike/steambike.htm

worth a look.

franco

Evan
12-28-2008, 09:05 AM
I wonder if anybody has considered building a drag bike powered by the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide? It is a very high energy density power source and the decomposition product is high temperature steam. It's what powers the "rocketman" backpack.

rschade
12-28-2008, 09:50 AM
Tom Sepe's Steampunk Motorbike:
http://steampunkworkshop.com/steampunk-motorbike.shtml

MCS
12-28-2008, 10:11 AM
I wonder if anybody has considered building a drag bike powered by the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide? It is a very high energy density power source and the decomposition product is high temperature steam. It's what powers the "rocketman" backpack.

Everything is already done.

This was a Dutchman (Henk Vink, Kawasaki importer) in the eighties. Catalystic hydrogenperoxide and oxygen propulsion. As it was a one-off there was no competition and was as far as I know only used for (very foggy) demo's. Now in the NSU museum in Germany.


http://homepage.ntlworld.com/kelvin.fagan/dragracing/VinkRocket.jpg

aboard_epsilon
12-28-2008, 10:21 AM
Tom Sepe's Steampunk Motorbike:
http://steampunkworkshop.com/steampunk-motorbike.shtml

Harry Hastings would be love to ride that .

all the best.markj

Doozer
12-28-2008, 11:24 AM
"...So it has a steam boiler on the back, which I use for steam effects, but there's no actual link up between the boiler and the wheels."

This guy is a poser and a wanker.
--Doozer

tms
12-28-2008, 11:33 AM
I'm amazed by this guys skill

http://www.flashbackfab.com/pages/steam01.html

and check out his other project

http://www.flashbackfab.com/pages/excel00.html

gnm109
12-28-2008, 11:43 AM
The V-2 Rocket used 90% hydrogen peroxide pressurized into a silver screen catalyst to develop steam to drive its turbo pump. It worked quite well. The only difficulty was in handling the peroxide. At that concentration, it's vicious.

Evan
12-28-2008, 11:45 AM
While that rocket bike is interesting it isn't what I had in mind. I was thinking of catalytic steam to power an actual steam engine. It would be a great deal more efficient than a rocket. Also, a steam engine can be made to turn far higher rpms than an IC engine. The expansion of the steam in the cylinders is limited only by the speed of sound and the valve gear is a lot simpler. It should be possible to build a drag bike with no transmission or clutch and a fuel tank the size of a small thermos bottle.

Weston Bye
12-28-2008, 01:17 PM
While that rocket bike is interesting it isn't what I had in mind. I was thinking of catalytic steam to power an actual steam engine. It would be a great deal more efficient than a rocket. Also, a steam engine can be made to turn far higher rpms than an IC engine. The expansion of the steam in the cylinders is limited only by the speed of sound and the valve gear is a lot simpler. It should be possible to build a drag bike with no transmission or clutch and a fuel tank the size of a small thermos bottle.

Think steam torpedo, piston or turbine engine.

dp
12-28-2008, 01:23 PM
I think a turbine might be a better idea given the volume of hot gas produced in such a very short time.

Some interesting solutions along this line:

http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/engine/hrdp_0403_turbonique/index.html

http://www.vaiden.net/rocket_gokart.html

http://jalopnik.com/373531/for-sale-turbonique-rocket-drag-axle-equipped-1964-ford-galaxie-500

Evan
12-28-2008, 02:08 PM
A turbine won't do for a drag bike. Spool up time is too long. Plus, then you need a complicated and breakable transmission.

John Stevenson
12-28-2008, 02:19 PM
Also, a steam engine can be made to turn far higher rpms than an IC engine. The expansion of the steam in the cylinders is limited only by the speed of sound and the valve gear is a lot simpler.

Are there any steam engines, not turbines, that can exceed say between 12,000 and 24,000 rpm which is what IC engines can achieve ?
And surely the limitation isn't the speed of sound but material stress's and all the munchy crunchy that goes with it.

.

dp
12-28-2008, 02:32 PM
A turbine won't do for a drag bike. Spool up time is too long. Plus, then you need a complicated and breakable transmission.

Or a Turbonique turbine drive.

Evan
12-28-2008, 02:35 PM
Are there any steam engines, not turbines, that can exceed say between 12,000 and 24,000 rpm which is what IC engines can achieve ?
And surely the limitation isn't the speed of sound but material stress's and all the munchy crunchy that goes with it.



The speed of sound is the theoretical limit on the expansion velocity of the gases. That is orders of magnitude faster than the expansion flame front of burning fuel. Even hydrogen only burns at a flame velocity of 3 to 4 meters per second while the speed of sound in air is around 340 meters per second.

Whether the mechanical bits can take the strain is another question. At least there is no need for a conventional valve train and the attendant limits it imposes. It's usually the valves in an IC engine that limit rpms. I suspect a very over square short stroke engine could be designed that would seriously outperform an IC engine when fueled with hydrogen peroxide steam. One of the big advantages over an IC engine is that a steam piston engine generates maximum torque at a standstill.

dp
12-28-2008, 02:45 PM
The speed of sound is the theoretical limit on the expansion velocity of the gases.

Not sure I accept this. A bullet can leave the barrel of a gun in excess of the speed of sound and there is a pressure wave of expanding gases behind it (hence boat tail bullets). Perhaps I misunderstand the point.

John Stevenson
12-28-2008, 03:00 PM
The speed of sound is the theoretical limit on the expansion velocity of the gases. That is orders of magnitude faster than the expansion flame front of burning fuel. Even hydrogen only burns at a flame velocity of 3 to 4 meters per second while the speed of sound in air is around 340 meters per second.

Whether the mechanical bits can take the strain is another question. At least there is no need for a conventional valve train and the attendant limits it imposes. It's usually the valves in an IC engine that limit rpms. I suspect a very over square short stroke engine could be designed that would seriously outperform an IC engine when fueled with hydrogen peroxide steam. One of the big advantages over an IC engine is that a steam piston engine generates maximum torque at a standstill.

So ARE there any steam engines that can exceed say 15,000 rpm ?

.

barts
12-28-2008, 03:45 PM
The speed of sound is the theoretical limit on the expansion velocity of the gases. That is orders of magnitude faster than the expansion flame front of burning fuel. Even hydrogen only burns at a flame velocity of 3 to 4 meters per second while the speed of sound in air is around 340 meters per second.

Is this at atmospheric conditions, or compressed to ~150 psi and whatever temp. adiabatic compression gets the mixture to (350 F?).


Whether the mechanical bits can take the strain is another question. At least there is no need for a conventional valve train and the attendant limits it imposes. It's usually the valves in an IC engine that limit rpms. I suspect a very over square short stroke engine could be designed that would seriously outperform an IC engine when fueled with hydrogen peroxide steam. One of the big advantages over an IC engine is that a steam piston engine generates maximum torque at a standstill.

The valves in a steam engine would have the same mechanical limits... the trick w/ high rpm engines is to get the valve gear as light as possible. A piston valve would prob. work best; keeping the weight of the valve to a minimum would be very important to keep the stresses down. The engine should probably be single acting, and the piston valves would be over each cylinder. A ball or needle bearing eccentric would avoid valve springs...

For more power, mix the engine exhaust w/ propane and use the resulting flame to further heat the "steam" going into the engine.

Evan
12-28-2008, 04:24 PM
The valves in a steam engine would have the same mechanical limits...

Not at all.

Steam engines don't require reciprocating poppet valves. They can and do use all sorts of valve systems that aren't inherently velocity limited such as circular sliding valves. There is no need for the valves to be mounted on top of the cylinder.



Not sure I accept this. A bullet can leave the barrel of a gun in excess of the speed of sound and there is a pressure wave of expanding gases behind it (hence boat tail bullets).

That isn't the same as a piston engine. Pressures in a firearm are measured in tons per square inch. The bullet doesn't go anywhere until it is pushed along by the pressure wave. In a reciprocating engine the piston will start the downward power stroke even if the pressure wave isn't acting on it in which case no impulse wil be delivered. In an IC engine the flame front must not only spread to the entire cylinder full of mixture it must do so before the piston begins significantly increasing the available volume if power is to be gained. The steam engine doesn't have that limitation.


So ARE there any steam engines that can exceed say 15,000 rpm ?


I have no idea. It seems possible though.

[edit]

Theoretically, the maximum limits on the rpm attainable by a steam piston engine are the strength of the parts and the pressure of the steam. Steam pressure is of course dependent on temperature which can be virtually unlimited depending on the source. The speed of sound increases with density so it isn't likely a limiting factor. The practical limit will almost certainly be materials.

barts
12-28-2008, 04:29 PM
So ARE there any steam engines that can exceed say 15,000 rpm ?
.

I think some of the model flash steam boats are near that speed; the current speed record for a flash steam model hydroplane is over 120 mph.

There's some discussion in "Experimental Flash Steam" by Benson and Rayman
about 10,000 rpm being commonplace in the 70s...

http://www.flysteam.co.uk/hydro.htm has some interesting discussions...

- Bart

jkilroy
12-28-2008, 04:38 PM
Neat article on flash steam, 385hp per liter!!! WOW is all I can say. Thats pretty darn stout!

barts
12-28-2008, 04:41 PM
Not sure I accept this. A bullet can leave the barrel of a gun in excess of the speed of sound and there is a pressure wave of expanding gases behind it (hence boat tail bullets). Perhaps I misunderstand the point.

The physics is the same; the reason that the bullet leaves the gun in excess of the speed of sound _in atmosphere_ is that the pressure is much higher in the barrel - enough so that the speed of sound in the barrel is 5000 ft/sec or more. This requires huge pressures, and is why such cartridges contain so much powder compared to subsonic ones...

- Bart

Evan
12-28-2008, 04:46 PM
The physics is the same;

Sure, but the mechanism of operation is not. The bullet conveniently waits to be pushed along by the pressure wave. Where the steam engine differs from the IC engine is the rate of expansion of the working fluid (gases). The working fluid in a steam engine is already at maximum temperature and pressure as it is admitted to the cylinder. In the IC engine it is not and must go through the ignition and burn cycle to attain pressure. All the while the piston isn't waiting around for this to happen.

davidh
12-28-2008, 05:28 PM
While that rocket bike is interesting it isn't what I had in mind. I was thinking of catalytic steam to power an actual steam engine. It would be a great deal more efficient than a rocket. Also, a steam engine can be made to turn far higher rpms than an IC engine. The expansion of the steam in the cylinders is limited only by the speed of sound and the valve gear is a lot simpler. It should be possible to build a drag bike with no transmission or clutch and a fuel tank the size of a small thermos bottle.

evan, is there any chance your "back and forth to town" bike may have some engineering or re-engineering done to it ? steam instead of electric ?

you do possess some fantastic talent and ability to concentrate on minute detail very well. many of us would nearly kill for that ability.

on an off shoot here, i was a mentor to a very skillled mechanical engineer that designed and built a v=2 steam engine for the material hoisting industry, and you could add v=2 arrangments to it . side by side, many times before you ran out of space. i did not make copies of the engineering drawings at the time and have kicked myself in the arse more than once for not. im sure they are long gone now, he passed away nearly 40 years ago.. . . . . what a guy.

barts
12-28-2008, 05:29 PM
Not at all.
Steam engines don't require reciprocating poppet valves. They can and do use all sorts of valve systems that aren't inherently velocity limited such as circular sliding valves. There is no need for the valves to be mounted on top of the cylinder.

Gas engines can be desmodronic, like the Ducati motorcycle engines - no valve springs at all. Or like modern F1 engines they could use air for springs to reduce reciprocating weight...

The reason you want to put the valves on top of the cylinders is to reduce the clearance volume in the engine; the smaller the volume the more efficient it is. While the speed of sound in steam is high, it isn't infinite - and 15,000 rpm means the intake valve is open for just over a millisecond. With the speed of sound in steam perhaps 600 m/sec, shortening the distance between valve and cylinder seems like a good idea.



Here's some interesting info on steam control ; I've not seen this info in other places:

http://www.spiraxsarco.com/resources/steam-engineering-tutorials/control-hardware-el-pn-actuation/control-valve-sizing-for-steam-systems.asp

aostling
12-28-2008, 06:41 PM
Evan, is there any chance your "back and forth to town" bike may have some engineering or re-engineering done to it ? steam instead of electric ?



This guy converted a moped to steam. Apparently it's not too difficult, and it's a uniflow. From http://www.steamcar.net/steam-ped.html

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/steam-ped.jpg

aboard_epsilon
12-28-2008, 07:45 PM
This guy converted a moped to steam. Apparently it's not too difficult, and it's a uniflow. From http://www.steamcar.net/steam-ped.html

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/steam-ped.jpg

hmmmmmmmmm another use for old engine oil once you get it passed on coal.

all the best.markj

Ken_Shea
12-28-2008, 08:40 PM
I'm amazed by this guys skill

http://www.flashbackfab.com/pages/steam01.html

and check out his other project

http://www.flashbackfab.com/pages/excel00.html


What a fantastic read, as impressive as their skill and ingenuity is, where do these guy's get their ability to follow through and complete such long and extremely complex projects.

It's sure is not in me !

barts
12-28-2008, 08:54 PM
What a fantastic read, as impressive as their skill and ingenuity is, where do these guy's get their ability to follow through and complete such long and extremely complex projects.


Like most things, it's simply a question of will, e.g. saying to oneself: "I will do this."

Many of us also have many demands on our time, and projects have to take a backseat to family and work. Lucky are those who can combine work and projects! It also helps to have an understanding spouse :)

- Bart

Evan
12-28-2008, 09:21 PM
The reason you want to put the valves on top of the cylinders is to reduce the clearance volume in the engine; the smaller the volume the more efficient it is.

The speed of sound depends only on density which in an ideal gas depends on temperature. For an ideal gas the speed of sound is proportional to the square root of the absolute temperature. Absolute means referenced to zero Kelvin. If the steam is at 1000 C the velocity of sound will double compared to atmospheric pressure. This allows the valve gear to be place somewhat further from the cylinder head. It may easily be placed on the crankshaft, especially in a very short stroke engine. A pressure wave velocity of perhaps 700 to 800 meters per second means that a difference of a few centimeters from the valve to the cylinder is inconsequential. Far more important will be proper porting design to prevent reflections of the pressure wave back to the valve.

aboard_epsilon
12-28-2008, 09:25 PM
what would be the most fuel efficient engine ...a very long stroke or a very short stroke .

something tells me that a long stroke would give more time for the fuel to burn and you could use cheaper fuels

all the best.markj

BillH
12-28-2008, 09:29 PM
what would be the most fuel efficient engine ...a very long stroke or a very short stroke .

something tells me that a long stroke would give more time for the fuel to burn and you could use cheaper fuels

all the best.markj
Higher Octance fuel simply burns longer

Spin Doctor
12-28-2008, 09:33 PM
The V-2 Rocket used 90% hydrogen peroxide pressurized into a silver screen catalyst to develop steam to drive its turbo pump. It worked quite well. The only difficulty was in handling the peroxide. At that concentration, it's vicious.

The fuel/oxidizer used by the Luftwaffe in WWII for the ME 163 was extremely nasty stuff that required the ground crew ideally to wear protective suits during fueling with the requirement that the aircraft be hosed down between the fuel and oxidizer being put in the tanks. As far as H2O2 goes the USAF or DAPRA in the 80s IIRC was looking at a semi single stage to orbit vehicle that would take off with a light fuel or oxidizer load and then top off the tanks from a modified KC-135 or KC-10. One of the fuel/oxidizer combinations considered was H2O2/JP-5

http://www.risacher.org/bh/analog.html

barts
12-28-2008, 11:43 PM
The speed of sound depends only on density which in an ideal gas depends on temperature. For an ideal gas the speed of sound is proportional to the square root of the absolute temperature. Absolute means referenced to zero Kelvin. If the steam is at 1000 C the velocity of sound will double compared to atmospheric pressure. This allows the valve gear to be place somewhat further from the cylinder head. It may easily be placed on the crankshaft, especially in a very short stroke engine. A pressure wave velocity of perhaps 700 to 800 meters per second means that a difference of a few centimeters from the valve to the cylinder is inconsequential. Far more important will be proper porting design to prevent reflections of the pressure wave back to the valve.

I guess I really don't see the advantage of placing the valve further from the cylinder... .the longer the steam ports, the more mass that has to be started and stopped, the more pressure loss due to drag and the less expansion you get. You were talking about rotary valves earlier; such a valve shaft could be mounted on top of the cylinder head and driven by a toothed belt which would easily handle 15k rpm. About the only reason I can come up with to design in a lot of additional clearance is if you want to use a uniflow exhaust (piston ported like a two stroke diesel); this would require additional clearance to prevent excessive compression unless either a condenser or auxiliary exhaust valves are used. My experience w/ rotary valves is that they don't like superheat, and getting high flow rates means large diameters and high rubbing speeds, but this sort of project is going to push material issues pretty significantly in any case. Piston or poppet valves can handle just about arbitrarily rigorous steam conditions w/ careful design, but do pose significant inertial loads so rugged eccentrics would be a must. Placing a large reservoir of steam just ahead of the intake valves will further reduce inertial effects... the need for special attention to porting will be greatly reduced by the large pressure differential as compared to a naturally aspirated gas engine, just as on turbocharged gas engines.

A nice design might be a two cylinder single acting engine w/ a built-up crank as per 70's motorcycle practice; a bevel gear drive from one end of the crank could drive an eccentric in the horizontal plane, which would actuate the piston valve w/ inside admission; by using dual ports (separate exhaust and inlet ports) on each cylinder the valve travel could be minimized. If self starting is required, a 90 degree v-four configuration should work well.

Lubrication may pose a problem due to the high oxygen content of the peroxide-generated steam; high pressure oxygen + steam may cause lube oil explosions, so it may be necessary to exclude lubricants from the high-pressure side of the engine entirely. There will be a lot of condensate in the crankcase; a total loss mist lube system should take care of piston, rod and crank bearing lube. Needle bearings in the rods ends top and bottom, and ball bearings on the crank will cope....

Adding methanol to the hydrogen peroxide really helps steam production:
(http://www.soci.org/SCI/general/2007/html/ge630.jsp), and could be used to remove the oxygen hazard from exhaust.

- Bart

gearedloco
12-29-2008, 12:21 AM
It seems like one would not want to loose heat from the cylinder. I'd think it would be a really good idea to get rid of those cooling fins on the cylinder and add lagging to keep the heat inside where it will do some good. I don't know how much would be gained by doing this, but I suspect it would be noticeable.

I recall some commentary on this in the first article on the Barret(?) steam car in _Live_Steam_ several years ago.

-bill

Evan
12-29-2008, 12:39 AM
If a balanced rotary valve can be made that will operate on the top of the cylinder so much the better. I don't think poppet valves will work because they would likely be the first limiting factor to rpm. Even desmo valve trains are rpm limited by the strength of the valve stems.

aostling
12-29-2008, 01:22 AM
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/steambike.jpg


According to this http://carlaking.typepad.com/weblog/2004/05/steam_flyer_mot.html
somebody wanted to buy the Steam Flyer for $250,000.

Tuckerfan
12-30-2008, 02:37 AM
Here's a Harley that was converted to steam in the 1950s:
http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle01.jpg

http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle02.jpg

http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle03.jpg

http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle04.jpg

Here's a steam bike from the 30s:
http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamcycle05.jpg

Steam powered plane:
http://usera.imagecave.com/tuckerfan/steamplane.jpg

Video of the plane:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPEv_M7p4fA

gellfex
12-30-2008, 12:11 PM
"...So it has a steam boiler on the back, which I use for steam effects, but there's no actual link up between the boiler and the wheels."

This guy is a poser and a wanker.

--Doozer

"poser and a wanker" is usually a working definition of "artist".

This reminds me of an industrial design contest winning bicycle based on nonexistent superconducting technology. All you need to be an artist today is no shame. Craft ceased to be needed a half century ago.

aboard_epsilon
12-30-2008, 12:39 PM
"poser and a wanker" is usually a working definition of "artist".

Have to agree on that ........there was a poster here a while back, who liked to call himself an artist....had an imaginary French girl working for him as well ..lol

all the best.markj

barts
12-30-2008, 04:21 PM
"poser and a wanker" is usually a working definition of "artist".


I generally try to cut some slack for anyone who actually goes out and builds something, even if s/he doesn't follow my sense of priorities. There are a few among us who can do perfect work, perfectly conceived - but most of us have to make compromises. I've seen that thing riding around at the Maker Faire this year; it's fun and people really like seeing it.

From the interview on the website:


TS: I call it a steam-electric hybrid - it's stretching the truth a bit. It's steam powered, but it doesn't locamote using steam. I built a steam boiler, put it on the back of the bike. And I had the possibility of putting a steam piston on the bike. But the more I looked into it, my deadline of getting it out the door was more than the scope of what I was learning. And I realized making a steam-punk inspired motorcycle was what I was going for. So it has a steam boiler on the back, which I use for steam effects, but there's no actual link up between the boiler and the wheels.


I built the powerplant for our 19' steam launch; I'm familiar w/ the problems and have fooled around w/ a friend's steam mini-bike, which was well known for setting people's pants on fire. The steam-electric hybrid is a much more finished work; clearly the aesthetics are more important than the underlying mechanical details for its creator. An engineer or mechanic might be worried about porosity in a casting; the artist might be more concerned about how people react to his work.

- Bart

NickH
12-31-2008, 04:33 AM
Evan,
rather than a turbine or piston motor how about a vane motor?
No moving valves, good low speed torque & very high speed capability,
Long & thin for higher speed, larger diameter for higher torque, you could have a Starter driving the main motor through a one way drive to give optimised low and high speed performance,
Regards,
Nick