Looking for some help

A special section just for steam engines and boilers, as without these you may as well fit a sail.
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bigbob
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Looking for some help

Post by bigbob » Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:20 pm

I am a mechanical engineering major in the Mid South area who is every interested in steam. I am a senior and am looking to do my senior project on designing or improving some aspect of large scale model steam. My current issue is that part of our requirements is that we have some sort of physical deliverable at the end of the project in may of next year. Because of that requirement it is very hard to do any project without having access to steam at the required PSI and quality or funding to build a boiler. I was wondering if there is anyone in this area that would be interested in working with us to either provide access to a boiler for prototyping or would be interested in funding a boiler design.
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barts
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Re: Looking for some help

Post by barts » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:34 pm

Hi bigbob -

Check if your school uses steam heat. While attending UC Davis, we used 100+ psi steam from the heating plant for ag engineering experiments involving blanching 50-70 lbs of plums at a time prior to solar drying. We boiled 40 gallons of dilute NaOH from cold in 5 minutes. This will be much less 'exciting' (less anxiety producing) for your faculty advisors than designing and building or acquiring and firing your own boiler. Besides, you'll have your hands full already :) .

The advantages of using such a system are many, including stability of temperature and pressure, which will make evaluation of designs much easier. Expect the need to evaluate incoming steam quality and capturing and weighing condensate to determine steam consumption.

In fact, an excellent senior thesis could be written on the experimental evaluation of steam engine designs; a little 'meta' perhaps, but there's a bunch of thermodynamics here that may appeal to the 'wets' more than the design aspects that intrigue the 'drys'. * There's a lot of historical background, and throwing in some modern tech (digitized capture of steam engine pressure-displacement (indicator) diagrams) may interest others.

A fellow Mech E -

- Bart

* 'wets' referred to those studying heat transfer, fluid dynamics and thermodynamics; 'drys' studied design, materials, and dynamics at UC Davis; I'm sure this is used elsewhere.
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Bart Smaalders http://smaalders.net/barts Menlo Park, CA
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fredrosse
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Re: Looking for some help

Post by fredrosse » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:38 pm

"Large Scale Model Steam" is about right for our steamboats, and perhaps a loan of a boiler would be possible. Could you provide some details of your intended work please. Where are you going to do this work? What steam conditions are you anticipating? I have a spare boiler, rated 250 PSI, VFT Propane fired, but in PA. Local steam utilities (power stations) have relatively low pressure auxiliary steam (below a few hundred PSI), and may allow your experiments since you are in an engineering program.

Note that there is much history you should research. I have been an avid steam power fan, with well over 60 years of vigorous steam study (starting in 1952), and there is still much new information I come across from time to time.
bigbob
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Re: Looking for some help

Post by bigbob » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:27 pm

fredrosse wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:38 pm
"Large Scale Model Steam" is about right for our steamboats, and perhaps a loan of a boiler would be possible. Could you provide some details of your intended work please. Where are you going to do this work? What steam conditions are you anticipating? I have a spare boiler, rated 250 PSI, VFT Propane fired, but in PA. Local steam utilities (power stations) have relatively low pressure auxiliary steam (below a few hundred PSI), and may allow your experiments since you are in an engineering program.

Note that there is much history you should research. I have been an avid steam power fan, with well over 60 years of vigorous steam study (starting in 1952), and there is still much new information I come across from time to time.
Thanks but I am located in Tennessee. I have contacted the the university's steam plant to see if they have anything.
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