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Thread: Heat sink....

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Heat sink....

    I had a flash of inspiration the other night... or maybe not.


    We all know that much of the energy contained in a gallon of fuel is wasted as escaped heat; only a fraction of the potential energy is turned to useful work, etc. So here's what I wondered:

    Why not figure out a way to capture and use heat energy produced by an internal combustion engine in a new type of hybrid?

    Steam power is pretty potent; 100 years ago, steam-powered vehicles were quicker/faster than gas-powered cars, etc.

    Why not use the heat generated by an IC engine (and exhaust) to heat a closed-loop water tank/expansion chamber that would create steam which could be used to power a secondary drive of some kind? The gas engine could be turned off, as in a current gas-electric hybrid, when enough water had been heated sufficiently to provide steam-pressure to propel the vehicle?

    I have seen home wood-burning water heaters (to heat the home) that run virtually all day on a single load of wood; once they're up and running, they go for hours and hours. Couldn't the same principle be applied to a motor vehicle? (And surely we have composites and other materials capable of absorbing and retaining tremendous quantities of heat...?)

    I was running this through my mind last night and it sure seems like it would be at least theoretically doable...

    What do Ye think?





  2. #2
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    Re: Heat sink....

    I think that the need to provide for steam pressure, alone, could add major dollars to the cost of an automobile. As it is, radiator pressures do go up to more than one atmosphere of pressure, but only slightly.

    That said, I understand that someone is working on a six cycle internal combustion engine. The idea is to use the heat of combustion remaining in a cylinder during the fourth stroke to create steam from the injection of water, and the fifth stroke would thereby be a second power stroke, leaving the sixth stroke for exhaust. Here's an article: http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=467. The concept is interesting, I have no idea if it shows any promise for automotive use (although the 75 year old patent holder has worked in automotive applications all his life).

  3. #3
    mrblanche
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    Re: Heat sink....

    You may be aware that many of the newest power plants around the country are combined cycle plants, using a hydrocarbon to run a turbine engine (read, stationary jet engine), and then the exhaust is used to create steam to run steam turbines.

    http://www.energysolutionscenter.org...binedCycle.htm


  4. #4
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    Re: Heat sink....

    Heat energy recovery in both IC and steam engines has been around a long time in no- automotive uses as well as in a one auto applicationtheexhaust powered supercharges (turbochargers in the popular cant). "Compound" engines are those which extract energy remaining from the first expansion via turbines and other methods. These things tend to be costly, heavy, and complex making them better suited to stationary power production. Maritime use is very common but maritime engines are, in essence, of the stationary type.

    The only successful turbo-compound aircraft engine is the R-3350.

    For a thread on the subject as it applice to auto racing, see:

    http://forums.autosport.com/showthre...threadid=94668


  5. #5
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    Re: Heat sink....

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    The only successful turbo-compound aircraft engine is the R-3350.
    It's a pity the Napier Nomad was overtaken by gas-turbine development. What an engine that was......probably the most complex engine ever built. It was a sleeve-valve two-stroke diesel with a variable-speed mechanically-driven supercharger which could also be driven by an exhaust turbine. Typically Napier - complication was, for them, a way of life; http://www.ptfnasty.com/ptfDelticHist1.htm gives a good overview of their products.

    One of the finest sights in UK Vintage racing is the Napier-Bentley, a 1920s Bentley with a Napier Lion engine; not just the sight........the sound is amazing!

  6. #6
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    Re: Heat sink....

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand

    It's a pity the Napier Nomad was overtaken by gas-turbine development. What an engine that was......probably the most complex engine ever built. It was a sleeve-valve two-stroke diesel with a variable-speed mechanically-driven supercharger which could also be driven by an exhaust turbine. Typically Napier - complication was, for them, a way of life; http://www.ptfnasty.com/ptfDelticHist1.htm gives a good overview of their products.

    One of the finest sights in UK Vintage racing is the Napier-Bentley, a 1920s Bentley with a Napier Lion engine; not just the sight........the sound is amazing!
    My younger brother is keen to find a ecording of Napier-Deltic engines at work on BR c1960-64. Foolish lad that he is...

  7. #7
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    Re: Heat sink....

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    The only successful turbo-compound aircraft engine is the R-3350.
    It's a pity the Napier Nomad was overtaken by gas-turbine development. What an engine that was......probably the most complex engine ever built. It was a sleeve-valve two-stroke diesel with a variable-speed mechanically-driven supercharger which could also be driven by an exhaust turbine. Typically Napier - complication was, for them, a way of life; http://www.ptfnasty.com/ptfDelticHist1.htm gives a good overview of their products.

    One of the finest sights in UK Vintage racing is the Napier-Bentley, a 1920s Bentley with a Napier Lion engine; not just the sight........the sound is amazing!
    Very interesting - I'd heard of Napier but no more than that. The single moving part of the early turbojet engines is attractive when compared to the zillion or so in some of the Napiers.

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