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Lamont boiler

Posted by dullfig 
Re: Lamont boiler
June 07, 2015 01:19PM
Something is amiss here. The drawing you posted is the same in all my books too.
Correct, the inner coil would be full of just water. Very clever design for sure if 1875 is the right date, it certainly predates Serpollet with the forced circulation monotube.
Feed to the outside of the top coil-then down through the inner conical coil-across to the outer one and up and out to the separator-out and into the buried drying/superheater coil. I wonder if Herreshoff had trouble controlling the superheat and this is why he connected the two conical coils actually backwards? Yet very correct for heat absorption, just like Lamont who took it to a much higher level..

Nowhere can I find any believable words about this second pump feeding a separate coil. Could it, if it actually existed the way Irherwood described it , actually be only a preheater for the cold feed water?
One might suspect Herreshoff simply and correctly provided a second feed pump for safety reasons.
Aways greatly admired Herreshoff.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2015 01:29PM by Jim Crank.
Re: Lamont boiler
June 07, 2015 03:58PM
To the best of my knowledge and from the books in my collection
The first boilers Nat used in the first 13 boats were vertical upright fire tube boilers. 1868 to 1874.
From 1874 to 1884 he used several forms of the coil boilers. In the small launches they had no superheater, unless the boat had two high-pressure cylinders for maximum power and then not always. Around 1881 he started to identify the coil boilers by letter, C, D, E, F, G, N, M, L.

In 1884 to 1895 he started using a Square boiler much like the Ward Navy boiler Fig 44 Marine Navy boilers. Still there are a few coil boilers used in this time period.
In 1895 he went to the three-drum boiler in many sizes.
Much to my surprise none of these boilers have I found any feed water coils (economizer) for preheating of feed water prier to feeding the boiler. Isherwood could have assumed the top pancake spiral winding was for feed water heating?? Most likely it did and continued into the rest of the winding. There were two separate pumps on the engine.
Later, on larger boats he did use separate circulating steam engines for the pumps.
There are several small engines listed as circulating engines and blower engines.

On the coil boilers I believe the description by Isherwood was the circulating pump took the water from the lower section of the drum and circulated it back to the inlet coil at the top. Somewhere along the line was a Tee fitting and makeup water by it's own pump was also introduced along with the circulating water. The makeup water would have been manually controlled as needed by the site glass on the drum. This makes sense to me.

Attached photo of boiler taken from launch 227 Aug 1902 used in a 30 foot launch. No Welding was used on this boiler.

Nat shared this technology with the rest of the world by selling his boats to many countries. He was an arms trader before you needed government permission.

All with coil boiler
Date Hull Numbe & Length
1876 20 57 US Navy
1876 23 23 US Costal survey
1876 27 23 US Costal survey
1877 30 45 US Army
1878 39 140 SpainTorpedo boat
1878 44 59 British Torpedo boat
1879 50 42 US Navy
1879 52 54-3" US Navy
1879 53 59 Chile Torpedo boat
1879 57 & 58 24 US Costal survey
1880 60 56 Chile Torpedo boat
1880 62 33-1" US Navy
1880 63 33-1" US Navy
1880 64 59 Russian Torpedo boat
1880 70 26 US Navy
1881 74 149 Brttish Torpedo boat
1881 75 149 British Torpedo boat
1881 80 33-1" British
1881 81 33-1" British
1882 85 & 86 48 Franch Navy


Re: Lamont boiler
June 08, 2015 02:47PM

Looking at the Lamont boiler as to circulation ratio; common (is it rule of thumb?) thinking says that a circulation ratio of pounds of steam generated/hour to pounds of water circulated in the generator tubes is to be in the area of 5 water to 1 steam to 10 water to 1 steam. Jim Crank above mentioned 8.

This would give then, for a set pressure, a volumetric ratio of steam to water at the generator tube exit and since it is 100% water entering the generator tube, an average volumetric ratio existing somewhere in the middle of the generator tube.

Some research that I ran across said that a maximum heat transfer efficiency was reached when the vapor to liquid ratio was 40% vapor to 60% liquid. This was for Freon, however, and I believe water may be different. It does say though that the ratio of vapor to liquid does have some effect.

For a circulation ratio of 8 and a generator pressure of 1,500 psia the volumetric ratio of steam to water at the exit is 62.7% steam to 37.3% water. For 2,000 psia it would be a volumetric ratio of 47.7% steam to 52.2% water, and for 1,000 psia it would be a volumetric ratio of 72% steam to 28% water.

Now, as I understand it, there are four main reasons to use a Lamont system. The first being simple control vs a monotube; the second is to avoid tube burnout by always having water moving in the generator tubes to absorb heat, so no hot spots; the third is that by having constantly moving water mineral deposits are minimized; the fourth reason is because of the scrubbing action of the moving steam water slurry removing steam bubbles off of the inner tubing surface there is a higher heat transfer from the tube to the water. Another reason though is that, if there is some turbulence to the flow, there is a much higher heat transfer from the tubing to the water.

A fast enough flow creates higher Renolds numbers and turbulent flow. But, before we figure this out there are other limiting factors anyway. Tubing and pipes can only take so many feet per second of water flow without significant wear. Some company posted that limit is about 8 ft/sec for carbon steel and 12 ft/sec for stainless steel.

What I am seeing is that there has to be a corelation between circulation rate, steam pressure and tube diameter to maximize the heat transfer from the tubing to the water. When that is maximized the result is a smaller boiler or a higher output one.


Bill G.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2015 08:55PM by Bill Gatlin.
Re: Lamont boiler
June 09, 2015 12:15PM
Your four reasons are the same as George explained it to me at that New Hampshire steam car tour, my first exposure to the concept. Besler's spillover was used for a different reason.
As I understand it, the high water flow velocity and the Lamont coil containing just water are key factors in the increased heat transfer rate. Makes sense.
The utter simplicity of controlling the water feed cannot be overemphasized. Even a Stanley typer expansion tube water level control would work just fine, making it an all mechanical feed system.
The high heat transfer rate to the Lamont coil is very important to recognize. Now the question comes up, is it an advantage to use two tubes in parallel, or is just one better?
Burying the superheater down one or two coils certainly does eliminate the very touchy control needed in protecting the exposed superheater in a Doble style coil stack by depending on the normalizer and a two level feed rate.
Tube erosion due to excessive velocity has never come up in our deliberations.

As Ken and I tried to optimize the generator by using the SES coil arrangement, adding extended surface tubing in the economizer end, making the coil rectangular for better packaging and preventing water carryover with good baffling in the separator-drum does indicate that the optimized Lamont is a much superior steam generator for vehicles.
Your considerations when running at 1,500 psi and 2,000 psi will be very important and interesting to learn for sure. Obviously there is an optimum setting.
Now, if the expander was as easy to optimize
Re: Lamont boiler
June 09, 2015 04:24PM
I’ve spent some hours chewing over this in the past and can add my 2 pennyworth but would not be surprised to be contradicted by George Nutz, Jim or Rolly and others who actually know what they are talking about. However here I go!

Ideally the Lamont circuit should be outputting saturated water, not steam. This seems hard to achieve particularly where opening of the throttle leads to a pressure drop and bubbling of steam in the whole system. However the outlet end of the Lamont circuit has the advantage over the drum contents because of the pump pressure, and the generated pressure in the pipe circuit so there is an incentive for bubbling to liberate free steam to happen in the drum and at the output end of the Lamont circuit rather than in the pipe itself. Saturated steam from the drum goes via the superheater to the expander and the Lamont circuit never gets superheat.

If this is so then the pipe can be sized throughout most of the circuit to get enough velocity for turbulent flow of water and avoidance of a steam layer on the pipe wall, with just a short section (say 10-20% of the length?) of a larger bore to accommodate steam in transient conditions.

This online pipe calculator [www.pipeflowcalculations.com]
does much of the work for you when deciding on pipe size, particularly giving the water velocity needed for turbulent flow, and also the pressure drop due to pipe friction in a given length and bore of pipe for water, or steam at whatever pressure is involved, pressure drop being the load that the circulating pump has to combat.

The parallel tube question has two factors - first how do you ensure that neither gets starved of water and gets cooked - that would seem to need two pumps. Second, depending on the size of the generator (and my thoughts were on a project needing about 250lbs steam per hour), it could be that using two parallel Lamont circuits makes it hard to achieve turbulent, steam stripping flow simply because the water velocity is halved when split over two circuits.

Re: Lamont boiler
June 09, 2015 06:44PM
Every patent I’ve found on Lamont’s work is parallel flow. Maybe Ken would have more information.

On the other hand Abel Shank 1853, 65 years before Lamont and 21 years before Herreshoff and Isaac N. Lesh 1842, 76 years before Lamont and thirty two years before Herreshoff had patent on forced circulation mono tube boilers. Granted the ratio was not as high. But I don’t think two many were built. The material was not available nor for high pressure.
I have been searching for the date when pipe was first commercially available. It’s listed that Herreshoff made his own 1868. I have a catalog 1895 listing seamless pipe in 12 foot length up to four inch in diameter and many wall thickness.

Re: Lamont boiler
June 09, 2015 09:52PM

If there is steam being produced in the Lamont generator and there is a given circulation ratio then there has to be a good amount of steam exiting the generator tube. In the above example I came up with for a circulation ratio of 8 means then that for every 8 pounds of water entering the generator tube 7 pounds of water and 1 pound of steam exit. I have for a saturation pressure of 1,500 psia 37.3% is water exiting and 62.7% is steam by volume. (I corrected a math error.)

The water velocity wouldn't be halved by using two parallel tubes of 1/2 the internal area, each while maintaining the same circulation ratio or mass flow. The Reynolds number would drop by a factor of 1/1.414 as a smaller diameter tube enters into it's equation. (Jim, double check that, if you would be so kind.)

As I understand it, as far as the radiant heat section of the boiler, smaller parallel tube size doesn't help at all since radiant heat is absorbed by the surface facing the radiant heat source and that is the same regardless of tube size. The advantage of smaller tube size here is to save overall diameter of the tube stack. There might be a safety factor in using somewhat larger tube in the radiant section for a little better water reserve.

Fins in the economizer section, yes and also some extended surface on the convectively heated tubing as well. The fins themselves have to be designed though. If they are too deep and too thin they are wasting space and could also burn. The outer edge of the fin gets hot and the fin is too deep and too thin to transfer the heat. The more heat it has to transfer the thicker the fin metal has to be. In high heat flux areas fins tapered from the outer edge to the root may work best.

There is a way to put fins on tubes which needs to be investigated. The tube is oversize but still thin wall. It is then run through succesive roller dies untill it takes on the cross sectional shape of a star. It is then twisted using an internal mandril. The twisting is then making the fins cross the tube at an angle so gasses can cross through it. When it is done the cross sectional shape is like an asteric ***********.

If we could garner this process, the we could make our own fin tubing to our own specifications in order to maximize our boiler design.

Best Regards,

Bill G.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2015 09:58PM by Bill Gatlin.
Re: Lamont boiler
June 10, 2015 08:32AM
I found the information I was looking for on when pipe or tubing was first available in the US with out making it from scratch.

In 1824 James Russell, an Englishman, invented a process for the welding of tubes, with or without a mandrel, by a combination of tilt hammer and rolling operations. The following year 1825 Cornelius Whitehouse conceived a method of manufacturing pipe by drawing long, flat strips of hot metal, known as skelp, through a die or bell, forming a whole length of pipe in one operation. Then, for the first time, man had the basis for making strong pipe rapidly and economically. FOUR MAJOR DEVELOPMENT STAGES Five years after the Whitehouse invention (1830), the first furnace in the United States for making wrought iron pipe was built by Morris, Tasker, and Morris in the basement of a Philadelphia shop. In 1836 this firm erected a large mill and machine shop, and in 1849 a still larger building was constructed by the company to house nine pipe-welding furnaces. Gradually other pipe mills came into being in the United States, and the services of this useful product were greatly expanded. Variations of the Russell and Whitehouse methods for making pipe from hot metal in the mills, either butt or lap welded, continue to this day; first from wrought iron, then wrought steel and presently various grades of carbon steel

Seamless steel tube

In 1895 Stiefel installed the first seamless tube plant in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, a city named for Isaac L. Ellwood, one of the inventors of the barbed wire that fenced in the West. Rather than start with flat sheets, Stiefel developed a process for piercing a hole straight through a cylinder of solid steel. If you imagine poking your finger through the center of a blob of dough to form a doughnut, you have the general idea of how Stiefel (and others) made seamless tubes. In time, Stiefel patented several of his inventions for rolling tubes.

A highly profitable concern, the Ellwood Weldless Tube Company was quickly caught up in the merger movement of the 1890s, reorganized as the Standard Seamless Tube Company, and then merged with sixteen tube makers in 1899 to create National tube Co. The independent Shelby Steel Tube Company of Ohio, which made bicycle tubes using a British manufacturing design, was not among the National Tube companies in 1899, but it was included in the U.S. Steel merger two years later.

You could buy it from Chas A Streling Co Detroit Mich. in there 1895 Catalog.

So I have to ask the question why was Herreshoff making his own tube or pipe in 1874 was he really making tapered tube or just his own sizes.

Re: Lamont boiler
June 10, 2015 11:01AM
Here is the Roper carriage from 1865 at the Henry Ford museum, it looks to have pipe and even rubber hose which I think they referred to then as "Rubber pipe", This has obviously been retrofitted as it is black, from my reading, carbon was not used in rubber before about 1910 ish.

Love that rack and pinion steering.. And wood springs. Amazing workmanship all-around.


Re: Lamont boiler
June 11, 2015 01:23PM
Now I need some guidance here, not the first time either.
My understanding is that the velocity in the Lamont coil has to be high enough so that what exits into the drum-separator is saturated water, not steam per se. Even a bit higher doesn't hurt, thus my estimate of
8-10 times the maximum evaporation rate.Then the velocity is also to be high enough so that film boiling will not occur; but a turbulent flow is produced. Then the steam is separated from the water in the drum, as Mike said. So as the coil has only water in it and can absorb the intense heat input vs. having steam in it.

Obviously for a given pressure and thus saturation temperature, Some chart needs to be generated for both the ID and the length. Say for 500-750-1,000-1,200-1,500-2,000 psi. Then considering if the generator is fired by a constant burner output or say up to twice the BTU intensity with a draft booster.
Definitely for vehicle use, more has to be known to optimize the Lamont. It just gets better all the time.

I have only seen two operating steam generators that had split helical coils, not Lamont; but late Doble style. Both had the dividers as being a very gentle Y.
I think you are right, splitting really does no good, a single tube making up the Lamont coil is what works best.

As to fins, I know the Lear ones, they used 12 per inch and not too high and welded on. The tube manufacturers certainly should be consulted on this. Definitely yes, the economizer and the boiling and drying sections. Since it is buried and not exposed to the direct fire in the Lamont, even the superheater could be extended surface tubing. Although this saving in weight here is insignificant really.

At the moment my time is devoted elsewhere.
Right now I am trying to find a publisher for the Doble book. Going to print on demand saves a fortune and the result is just as good as the old ink, plate and press method. Along with not having to print, ship and store pallet loads of books in the beginning. So far not one single response. Not even the Doble owners who could do it with the lose change on their dressers. The proposal is available, use my e-mail address.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/11/2015 01:32PM by Jim Crank.
Re: Lamont boiler
June 20, 2015 05:03PM
Hi Jim

Walsworth publishing, the company I worked for, primarily does school year books. They are geared to do small runs. When I was there they did cook books for local churches. Maybe only 50 books.

It's best if the book is ready for print in pdf form. They have utilities to go From sequential to press. The had just got direct to press systems when I retired. I do not know the cost. But would have to be very reasonable for the smaller runs like church cook books. School year books might be less then 100 copies in some cases.

They are in Marcelin Mo. www.walsworth.com

Re: Lamont boiler
June 25, 2015 04:39PM
Impossible with the size of the book. Two boxed volumes, 380 pages each, about 680 photos, large appendix in each volume.
We have a superb print on demand source right here. Huge cost reduction from the old plate-ink-press method and superb quality. Too bad nobody gives a damn.
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