A Catechism of the Steam Engine eBook

John Bourne
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A Catechism of the Steam Engine.
the vessel and gives motion to the crank.  The piston rods are so placed in the piston that one of them passes above the crank shaft, and the other below the crank shaft.  The cross head lies in the same horizontal plane as the centre of the cylinder, and a lug projects upwards from the cross head to engage one piston rod, and downwards from the cross head to engage the other piston rod.  The air pump is double acting, and its piston or bucket has the same stroke as the piston of the engine.  The air pump bucket derives its motion from an arm on the cross head, and a similar arm is usually employed in engines of this class to work the feed and bilge pumps.

442. Q.—­Is not inconvenience experienced in direct acting screw engines from the great velocity of their motion?

A.—­Not if they are properly constructed; but they require to be much stronger, to be fitted with more care, and to have the bearing surfaces much larger than is necessary in engines moving slowly.  The momentum of the reciprocating parts should also be balanced by a weight applied to the crank or crank shaft, as is done in locomotives.  A very convenient arrangement for obtaining surface is to form the crank of each engine of two cast iron discs cast with heavy sides, the excess of weight upon the heavy sides being nearly equal to that of the piston and its connections.  When the piston is travelling in one direction the weights are travelling in the opposite; and the momentum of the piston and its attachments, which is arrested at each reciprocation, is just balanced by the equal and opposite momentum of the weights.  One advantage of the horizontal engine is, that a single engine may be employed, whereby greater simplicity of the machinery and greater economy of fuel will be obtained, since there will be less radiating surface in one cylinder than in two.


443. Q.—­Is it a beneficial practice to make cylinders with steam jackets?

A.—­In Cornwall, where great attention is paid to economy of fuel, all the engines are made with steam jackets, and in some cases a flue winds spirally round the cylinder, for keeping the steam hot.  Mr. Watt, in his early practice, discarded the steam jacket for a time, but resumed it again, as he found its discontinuance occasioned a perceptible waste of fuel; and in modern engines it has been found that where a jacket is used less coal is consumed than where the use of a jacket is rejected.  The cause of this diminished effect is not of very easy perception, for the jacket exposes a larger radiating surface for the escape of the heat than the cylinder; nevertheless, the fact has been established beyond doubt by repeated trials, that engines provided with a jacket are more economical than engines without one.  The exterior of the cylinder, or jacket, should be covered with several plies of felt, and

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A Catechism of the Steam Engine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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