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.
its turn restricts the number of the tubes which can be employed.  As, however, the attainment of a high rate of speed requires much power, and consequently much heating surface in the boiler, and as the number of tubes cannot be increased without reducing their diameter, it has become necessary, in the case of powerful engines, to employ tubes of a small diameter, and of a great length, to obtain the necessary quantity of heating surface; and such tubes require a very strong draught in the chimney to make them effective.  With a draught of the usual intensity the whole of the heat will be absorbed in the portion of the tube nearest the fire box, leaving that portion nearest the smoke box nothing to do but to transmit the smoke; and with long tubes of small diameter, therefore, a very strong draught is indispensable.  To obtain such a draught in locomotives, it is necessary to contract the mouth of the blast pipe, whereby the waste steam will be projected into the chimney with greater force; but this contraction involves an increase of the pressure on the eduction side of the piston, and consequently causes a diminution in the power of the engine.  Locomotives with small and long tubes, therefore, will require more coke to do the same work than locomotives in which larger and shorter tubes may be employed.




134. Q.—­What is meant by latent heat?

A.—­By latent heat is meant the heat existing in bodies which is not discoverable by the touch or by the thermometer, but which manifests its existence by producing a change of state.  Heat is absorbed in the liquefaction of ice, and in the vaporization of water, yet the temperature does not rise during either process, and the heat absorbed is therefore said to become latent.  The term is somewhat objectionable, as the effect proper to the absorption of heat has in each case been made visible; and it would be as reasonable to call hot water latent steam.  Latent heat, in the present acceptation of the term, means sensible liquefaction or vaporization; but to produce these changes heat is as necessary as to produce the expansion of mercury in a thermometer tube, which is taken as the measure of temperature; and it is hard to see on what ground heat can be said to be latent when its presence is made manifest by changes which only heat can effect.  It is the temperature only that is latent, and latent temperature means sensible vaporization or liquefaction.

135. Q.—­But when you talk of the latent heat of steam, what do you mean to express?

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