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Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines

Posted by Caleb Ramsby 
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 18, 2015 02:14PM
I would like to point out that virtually everything I stated above was stated by various people here 10 years ago about Cyclone.

Virtually all of those comments were deleted/censored shortly after they were posted.

I have some serious issues with what has been going on here. I was told that the Chuck and Harry deal with the land speed record car was "personality issues" and shouldn't be discussed because it has nothing to do with steam or technical issues. That discussing it would not help the club in any way. Well, that is horse shit and everyone knows it.

If the Cyclone and Chuck split had nothing to do with technical issues then they would BOTH have had cars on the salt last year, instead who did and who didn't?

There has been a steel clamp put around people mouths in regards to this whole mess and it is flat out shameful.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 18, 2015 02:26PM
So why don't you call or e-mail George and offer to pay for his time? Ask him directly like i did.

As to converting some poor Mercedes 240-D to steam and racing it. the only one that might even let you try is the for fun LeMons group. Even then why butcher what is a nice car that couldn't keep up with anything?
Any other racing you couldn't begin to develop the horsepower or light weight they have, nor have the endurance without dozens of pit stops in a 20 lap race for water. Indy or SCCA would laugh you out of the office!! I once long ago had dreams of the LeMans race in the GT class; but reality put an end to that idea.
Go find who got Lear's so called Indy car, at least it was completed, although it never ran one foot. Then try the Vintage race guys, providing even they would let a steamer in the track, which I sure doubt.

The place to start with the Cyclone is a clean sheet of paper and do it right to begin with.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 18, 2015 03:07PM
To some degree I can see what you are talking about at Bryan boilers...about all that is left of thier past is George Bryan standing beside his tractor in a photo , thier flexible water tube design and with no mention of the car.Darn near went blind trying to find anything that they could have used in either the tractor or the car.In catalog....
Another puzzler,about dozen steam companies ....if they built what Goold calls a firetube for a Stanley,they would call it a tubeless boiler.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 19, 2015 12:07AM
Try thinking about it this way.

A baseball bat, a hockey stick and a croquet mallet, they are all essentially the same things. Fancy sticks that are used to hit things.

One could use a baseball bat to play hockey or a croquet mallet to play baseball, but it wouldn't be very effective.

Essentially what Cyclone is assuming is that one fancy stick can be used with equal proficiency for baseball, hockey and croquet. This is not reality, it is fantasy.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 19, 2015 03:51AM
Hello Arnold

>Another puzzler, about dozen steam companies ....if they built what Goold calls a firetube for a Stanley,they would call it a tubeless boiler.<

Not sure what you mean by this, can you post an example? Companies like Cleaver Brooks sell tubeless, watertube and firetube boilers. Tubeless do have one massive tube in the centre which forms the combustion chamber but to differentiate it these types are known as tubeless.

Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 19, 2015 02:23PM
Ah, getting back to the subject at hand, this waste heat engine market fantasy.
I suppose all of you have now seen the U-Tube movie of that Cyclone engine supposedly running from this steam system, burning waste oil that most cities will not allow you to burn; but that's their problem.
The thought that any commercial customer is going to spend some $40,000.00 or more to recover 15 hp from waste heat with this contraption boggles the mind.

Actually as soon as the laughter stops, you might just take a look at another waste heat engine that has been around now for over a hundred years. The oldest reference i find is a shoe factory in Germany next to a foundry running on one of these engines before WW-1.
I refer to the vacuum engine or flame eater. As soon as the snickering stops, just go to Google and look for yourself. i works and i have one. Hey, it sits in one place running a generator on low grade heat, so it's big; but not that big considering what a scaled up version would cost by comparison.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 20, 2015 12:05PM
I must have missed something, I thought Chuk's engine was a cyclone...
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 20, 2015 02:18PM
Not a chance, the special Mk-5 Cyclone that was supposed to go into the car didn't work. Accurate inside reports said it never used the pressure and superheat they claimed and kept burning out superheater coils thanks to a non usable "control system." Chuk and his supporters did their own engine and except for that most unfortunate accident, it would have broken the steam record. The Cyclone car was never finished and never ran one foot. That's when the "Cover thy ass" B..S.. really went into high gear.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 20, 2015 03:07PM
The engine used in Chuk's LSR car was originally built back in the early 80s for the never-completed PSL program (Planing Steam Launch). SACA member Art Gardiner designed the engine and ground the camshaft while SACA member Jim Tangeman did the remainder of the machining.

The PSL engine started life as a 1982 Chrysler 3 cylinder, 2 stroke outboard motor powerhead similar to that shown in the first drawing.

The two stroke engine was converted to a counterflow steam engine by eliminating the cylinder porting by fitting cylinder liners from an International Harvester refit kit. See photo of converted engine.

A new cylinder head with dual overhead cams was fitted to the engine and, along with new pistons, completed the conversion. The second drawing, illustrating the head, was done up from Art's original prints.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2015 03:08PM by frustrated.

Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 20, 2015 03:21PM
Regarding the Land Speed Record deal, dig through the following threads to get an idea of what happened:



In regards to the Phoenix Power deal.

Lets run the numbers. $40,000 for the unit, 15 hp = 11.185 KW HR.

Take sparky power at $0.08 per KW HR, that would required 500,000 kw hr to equal the initial investment just for the unit. That equals 44,702.7 hrs of unit operation at full load.

That reduces to 5.1 years at full power, 24 hours a day year round. What is the longest independently verified full load operation of even the low power density Waste Heat Engine?

That is just the operation time required to pay for the original unit, adding operational costs and maintenance the break even time would be much longer then that.

Most of the contracts only called for 200 some hrs of verified full load operation, they havn't been able to deliver on that. 200 hrs is only 0.4% of what would be required to break even on the original investment.

As Jim pointed out, steam isn't the best medium for low temperature difference heat recovery. There are superior and established processes for that duty, they are in use around the World and have been generally for a century plus.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 20, 2015 04:40PM
A number of topics were addressed in this discussion. Some value can come from analyzing them. One conclusion is that building a modern steam engine is a major undertaking with a pretty good design to start with and then a lot of engineering development with materials being a major area of study. The basic problem with Cyclone is that an interesting design came first and then world wide patent protection followed. Once there was patent protection, then it was not possible to change the design, which meant that it was not possible to learn from experience. I have visited Cyclone at least three times and had the run of the place each time. What I learned is that a very serious effort was put into making a modern steam engine that solved (or aimed to solve) the three basic steam engine deficiencies: thermal efficiency (fuel economy), oil in the water--water in the oil, and corrosion, meaning iron rusting. That was an awful lot of things to solve at one time and in one place and by someone without experience making metal objects that moved. Even if a person started out with the best of intentions and was a very creative inventor, it would have been difficult to do. The problem, as I see it, started out by spending all of the life savings on patent protection with it being quite clear that not much about a steam engine is left to be patented. After that decision was made, then private investor and ultimately public investor money needed to be raised to do the development work. Another serious problem was that there is a very very small pool of experienced steam engine people around these days. The Lear, SPS, and Dutcher people are all gone. There are some SES people around and about three people who had worked with Richard Smith. I can think of five people who have spent their lives thinking about steam and analyzing steam power and I will not embarrass myself by naming them. Therefore the project was difficult. I do not think anyone thought they had the time to be systematic in the development work, so that a single cylinder engine could be used for testing. It may be that egos got involved and promises were made to investors along the way, which is not entirely unknown in the history of the world. To answer one of the specific points brought up, that of the SACA Webmaster deleting some of the posts, that is what the club has told the Webmaster to do. We are attempting here to have a discussion of technical or historical issues. We are all disappointed when any steam project is not successful. That is not a good reason to attribute personal short comings to the participants, at least not in this forum, no matter how much they have disappointed us. And now, toward the end of this saga, the SEC has stepped in limiting any news, technical or otherwise, from leaking out, leaving us only to speculation. It would be useful to the entire steam community if this was not a development project that depended on a public stock offering such that information cannot be freely exchanged. Historically our steam club has freely exchanged all kinds of information, mostly in the area of personal opinions, on each other's steam inventions. We could not do this with regards to Cyclone, a loss. In retrospect, it would have been advisable for Cyclone to have worked quietly on their development work until some good results were proven. Not everyone in this world does what is advisable and it may not have been possible to have raised the money needed to do this work without a lot of publicity. And to end this message: it appears that things would have been better if an engine were made running at lower temperatures and pressures to begin with. We all know that the ultimate goal is to have very high temperatures and pressures and these could be aimed at as development went on, although one of our club's most intellectual steam engine people, a person who prefers to not be bothered with contact with anyone, and a very intelligent person, which almost gives away his identity right there, has carefully calculated that the curves on the graphs flatten such that high pressures and high temperatures do not add enough to steam engine efficiency to be worth the bother. All that I can say is that it is a shame. Tom Kimmel
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 21, 2015 10:51AM
A very long time ago I was employed in the engineering departments of several companies that were involved with developing new ideas. My favorite example of steam power R&D was the SSN 671. The geared steam turbines of the day were very noisy so the idea was to fit a standard SSN 637 class hull with a direct drive turbine. Needless to say, there were snags. The hull had to be completely redesigned to a larger diameter to accommodate the size of the low speed turbine and natural circulation reactor that were needed. That was just the beginning. I have no idea what this cost, but it was the cold war. The boat was finally very successful, but was a one off.

The cost of developing a steam car is peanuts by comparison, but is way beyond the capabilities of all but large companies. They haven't had any incentive for internally funding this type of project for around a century. The internal combustion engine is very entrenched and probably can't be dislodged easily with all the improvements made since the early 1900s. It's always fun to speculate. The Cyclone had an enticing design to us outsiders. However, as Tom points out, it's hard to solve a lot of new problems at once in what looked like a final design. Engine testing usually starts with a simple single cylinder and proceeds to multi cylinder designs after the issues are worked out. Even then there's no guarantee of success.

Lohring Miller

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/21/2015 12:22PM by lohring.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 23, 2015 06:01PM
"To answer one of the specific points brought up, that of the SACA Webmaster deleting some of the posts, that is what the club has told the Webmaster to do."

Would that have been the case had there not been numerous Cyclone personal on the board?

I comprehend the historical significance of the Cyclone enterprise, I also comprehend the significant conflict of interest between it and the SACA.

This has changed recently, still though it is one of the numerous reasons that I dropped out of the SACA a few weeks back. Much rather focus on my own work in private and not concern myself with the lunacy of others.

The idea that the three deficiencies of steam power are thermal efficiency, oil in water and corrosion is absurd in my opinion.

Last first, corrosion, corrosion in steam plants come from 3 sources, firstly lack of use, even something as benign as a hammer will rust if it isn't used on a regular basis. Secondly, compound, that is tallow, cylinder oil. That stuff is acidic and it combined with road dust gums up and corrodes the piston rod and packing box sometimes, also in the Stanley firetube type boiler down around the firetubes with the virtually non-existent circulation and copper tube to steel head corrosion. Thirdly, the imagination of people that believe it is water that corrodes, it is oxygen, after a slight use the free oxygen will be driven out of the condensate for a steam car.

Corrosion just isn't a legitimate issue, many old time steam car guys pointed this out many years back. Using non-compound oils, especially that synthetic stuff, no worries.

Oil in water. Nergarrd developed that screen type oil separator which works very well. Barrett developed that centrifugal oil separator which worked very well.

Oil surviving in cylinder, this has less to do with the steam temperature and more to do with the details of the engine design, where, when and how is the oil applied to the engine. Also, what methods are utilized to control metal temperatures in the engine. Wardale for example skirted the piston valve sleeve with live saturated steam to keep it cool. Stumpf injected the oil for the cylinder, unaflow, at mid stroke and kept the piston rings well away from the end of the piston.

Thermal efficiency.

I believe it is idiocy to state that the single reason that steamers arn't on the road is due to the lower MPG attributed to them. If that were the single dictatorial issue regarding vehicle purchases then everyone would be flitting around on mopeds or very small diesel cars. They are not, many people use SUV's or trucks exactly like they would use a small car, the majority never using the cargo or hauling capacity of the vehicle at all. They are willing to take the hit on fuel millage because it is the vehicle they want. A good steam car could easily get the fuel millage of a big SUV, it would be the same thing on the show room floor. A SUV isn't a car, a steam car isn't a "car" not standard, different, a lot of people would take the hit on fuel millage to have something different, something unique. Likewise muscle cars, a lot of people drive around those 60's etc. muscle cars, getting what 10 mpg, performance yes, just another case of people willing to give up one thing for another.

For high temperature and pressure, one does not need to rely on the calculations of a hermit to know what limits reality produces. Many people showcase the SES project as going in the right direction, yet time after time ignore the practical ON THE ROAD limits of temperature and expansion, as well as "engine throttling" of steam that SES discovered in their experiments. I won't link to the article again, since I have done so a lot of times, always get silence in return.

I will just say that SES found that a volumetric expansion ratio of 1:7.5 gave the greatest fuel economy. Better then a greater expansion ratio, possibly it would be better with a higher compression ratio. They designed for 1,000 F superheat and found minimal increase in fuel efficiency over some 750 F superheat. This isn't someones rampant calculations, this is from data found on the dyno and road.

Williams claims from that Machine Design article are for a compression ratio of 26.6:1 and an expansion ratio of 1:18.6.

The Williams brothers didn't always use standard data principles, as evidenced by their insistence on calling it a "Williams" cycle. They didn't do anything that Stumpf didn't do, look it up, Stumpf wasn't egotistical enough to attempt to rename the Rankine cycle after himself.

Back to expansion, attached are some simple slapped together graphs. Using an exponent of expansion of 1.3, and figuring the same entropy at release as at admission.

They should be self explanatory.

My point with them is to show that the initial pressure required for, especially the more practical SES expansion ratio, to keep the end pressure above that of the atmosphere one does not require "supercritical" pressures, far from it.

The initial temperatures I used for the charts are discluding that of the compression temperature added to the live steam. For a high compression unaflow this is well above initial superheat temperature and the initial 750 F for one of the SES charts could easily have a mixed temperature of well over 1,000 F at cutoff. Depending of course on compression, cutoff and heat loss to cylinder walls, valve port surface area, cylinder head and piston head. There charts are just a straight forward idiot analysis.

There is a mountain of efficiency to be extracted from the engine by using detailed analysis and development, such as Chapelon and Wardale etc. did with locos, all of which is virtually ignored by light steam guys.

Likewise, preheating combustion air and using a feed water heater is over a century from being a "new" thing, yet this is what Cyclone claimed it was doing, "revolutionary" my ass.

Single cylinder testing.

Am I the only one that remembers the GENIE deal "made" by Cyclone back around 2008 - 2009? Does anyone remember the claims that it was running perfectly, going into production in just a few weeks, this 6 to 7 years ago? Does anyone remember the numerous claims that the smaller powerplants were running perfectly so they could now focus on the bigger stuff?

I am done doing homework for fools.

Caleb Ramsby

Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 24, 2015 02:06AM
Here is what I am talking about:

Posted by Harry in 2005:

"carbon deposits rust and wear heat exchanger burnout,and lube problems seem not to be as much a problem that they did a year ago. the water luberacation is working wonderful."

OK, claims back in 2005 that water lubrication is WORKING WONDERFUL!

Posted by Harry back in 2006:

"The long run shut down time was on the original 1cyl engine two years ago. The 2cyl eng operates on a different system however it is designed for a constant speed generator an does not need a fast responce as in an auto. The 6cyl engine is an instant responce variable cam,timing, duration and cutoff and compression."

No one remembers that back in 2004 they had "perfected" the principles on the single cylinder engine and had moved on to the two cylinder engine, then the six cylinder. Using components from the 2 cylinder engine for the 6 cylinder engine. The 2 and 6 cylinder engine shared the same 2" bore, 2 cylinder I believe 1 1/2" stroke(don't quote me), six cylinder 2" stroke.

Tom, you say that he didn't have any prior experience with making things from metal, so a quote from Harry back in 2007:

"I built IC engines in the past"

An exchange between the late Howard Langdon and Harry back in 2006:

"HI Guys ok I want to billed a car. Who will sell me and engine and boiler vat will make 3oo hp for 15 minutes and not way more 700 pounds if we your making sterling cicely engines we wood have and unlimited supply of fuel"

Reply from Harry:
"Hi Howard,
Just write the check you can get anything you want.
300HP is easy condensing is the problem. The 300hp design we are playing with is about 700 lbs 39" in diameter X 33" high with the heat exchanger and condencer. we are planing a simple test version without the condencer this coming year.
Have a happy Thanksgiving

Another post from Harry in 2006:

"Hi Andy,
Still the same, 1000f 2000psi for the 2cyl, 1200f 3200for the 6cyl. The 2cyl has a bump valve and at the limit of the bearing load. the engine efficency is a little less than the 6cyl but is very simple. 1000f is the limit on the valve as it has a spring in the steam line. The bmep are high at these pressures and is exceeding the PV on the 2cy bearings though they are surviving, same ones from the start.

More claims that everything is working perfectly, NINE YEARS AGO!

OK, October, 2007:

"Hi Andy
I don't know what you are refering to as to control. The heat transfer is giving us a 88.7% eff in the heat exchanger. There is no throttle valve only the valve in the head that changes cutoff. the high pressure incresses the power density. As I said in my synopsus "the higher the pressure the smaller the machine" We have run a test engines to 5000psi, it put out more power. Only the last two rows of tube are at super heat. I am sure that you don't understand the total system."

"I am talking about temperature-pressure control of the inlet steam. You state that becaue of operatoring at SC pressure the control is simpler then say Doble or what ever. But what I see from the enthalpy/specific volume relations is that operating at 3200 PSIA and 1200F is very little different than operatoring at 1000 PSIA and 950F. The steam density is nearly the same. The heat transfer coieficient are close as well being very dependent on density. There is a phase change somewere in the steam generation. No doubt you get greater power density. It's the better control clame I question. you may indead have better control. But I think, if true, it must be becaue of something other then the SC operation.

At super-critical pressure you wouldn't have any significant section of tube containing a mixture of gas and liquid as at sub critical pressure. You could have a short length of mixture region. But there would be very little differance in heat transfer between the liquid and gas state. They are nearly the same density. Where at sub-critical pressure there is a big differance between gas and liquid density at the saturation line. In the mixture region you could have eratic heat transfer as sometimes you could have a liquid against the tube wall and other times a gas.

At SC pressure you do not have the two phase flow as at sub-critical pressure. Maybe I am being to picky. But you are implying on you site that at 3200 PSI 1200F H2O is a liquid when it is super heated steam."

"I don't have the time to explane it all on this forum. I will make it brief.
It has no throttle valve up stream of the engine causing a preasure drop. The expansion occours on the top of the piston not varing pressure in the boiler. temp and pressure are a constant. The super heated section as I referred to is in a fluid state and with that density the nuculite boiling is minamised. steam is an insulator. we are using small diameter tubing with thin wall and multi tube. there is high turbulance and even heat distribution through the tube bundle. this dose not occour in a Doble as the heat is driven down into pancake coils and would not have a totaly even heat distribution. There is a lot more to the total system, it has to be taken as a system. SC, heat regeneraton, high compression uniflow varible cam timing and duration, varible compression long power band, compact size, low heat losses, light weight, multifuel, efficent and in a single package.
The waste heat engine(WHE) is different to fit a different need. That is the fun of what we are doing, so many ways to skin a cat."

"What I have a problem with is the way you are using the term "fluid".

"The super heated section as I referred to is in a fluid state".

Fluid is not a state of mater. A Fluid is anything that flows. Liquid is a state of mater. Liquid is fluid. Gas is a state of mater. Gas is fluid. Plasma is a state of mater. Plasma is fluid. Solid is a state of mater. Solid is not usually fluid. Solid particals can be fluid. Sand for instance.

The scientific defination of fluid allows me to say the following:

Ok. So your steam generator is no different then any other boiler having fluid in the super-heater section. I agree. Every body has flud going through their entire system. Having fluid in you super-heater is nothing special. Super-heated steam is a fluid. A fluid is any thing that flows.

I am not critizing your results. It's you explanation.

Running super-critical pressure eliminates 2 phase flow. I will buy that eliminating two phase flow makes for tighter control of the output steam and over all better heat transfer.

What about density and nuculite boiling. Here some steam states that have the same density is you 3200 PSI,1200F steam.

You are at 3200 PSIA and 1200F with a specific volume of 0.282746 ft^3/lb
1500 PSIA and 600.60F has the exact same specific volume of 0.282746 ft^3/lb
1000 PSIA and 544.58F has the exact same specific volume of 0.282746 ft^3/lb
2000 PSIA and 753.93F has the exact same specific volume of 0.282746 ft^3/lb

I am ataching a pdf of of the state boints for thoes pressures. Only used 3214.696 PSIA (3200 PSIG) 1200F having a specific volume of 0.281335 ft^3/lb.

Thoes state points all have the same density 3.5544781 lb/ft^3. Density is not eliminating or minimizing nuculite boiling. At super-critical pressures you simply do not have a two phase region at any temperature. Not having a two phase region eliminates the nuculite boiling.

That still leaves the question of how you control the pressure and temperature.

What you are doing, engine control wise, is not all that different then my design. There is no throttle between my engine and steam generator. Power is controled by the inlet valve. It's a bit different then your valve control though.

Why do you keep explaining your engines power control by valves every time I ask about you pressure/temperature controle.

That is how a snake oil salesman anwsers a question. With an answer to an entiarly differnt question.

So how is pressure/temperature controled. I can not believe you have constant temp and pressure at the inlet valve. Simply not possavle even with control. It would have some variance around a control point."

"Only you under stand your snake oil question. Also we don't use any oil snake or otherwise. I have told you before and I did not relise that you had forgotten. The temp is controled by a therocouple at the head in the flow at the highest heat. The pressure is controled by the pump with a pressure bypass. Very simple. Above 3205 that is called SC because it remains without boubles even above the saturation temp of 700f. A mono tube would have to be a larger diameter to carry the flow volume of the multitubes and would be larger because of lower pressure. It is eaiser to conduct through the smaller water volume as water is a semi conductor and steam is an insulator. larger tubes also take up a larger volume than the smaller tubes. Example IN the engine we intend to use for the LSR if we used 3/8 tube the surface area would be 90ft sq using 1/4 tube the surface area would be 156ft sq in the same space. conductivity is better as not to have to transfer heat farther through the water volume. There I hope I have answered your question."

"I hope you take a good look at what I said about SC operation, fluid and two phase flow or region.

I am very aware of the advantages and disadvantages of small tubes. I am sure you have read about it on my web site that has been up for close to 15 years now.

I don't remember you ever explaining the temperature control. I assume the therocouple somehow controls the fuel. It sounds like the White paradiagram. Pump controled by pressure, Fuel controled by temp."

Read it your self: [www.steamautomobile.com]

What I find ironic there is that Harry basically flat out stole Andy's combustion chamber and boiler tube layout design.

What is curious looking back through all of this is that Harry claims things are working perfectly by never admitting that the boiler tubes are burning up left and right, which from various sources appears to still be the case some 7 and a half years after that exchange.

Tom, a quote from you from 2009:

"Rotary valves: People who know what they are doing do not use rotary valves."

What is Harry using? What valve is on that waste heat engine?

Go back and read for ones self how Harry implied that the single cylinder engine worked well, went to 2 cylinder engine, developed into a marketable product, some what 7 or 8 years ago, then the six cylinder, using many shared components with the 2 cylinder, of course it worked perfectly too, marketable product. It is simply staggering how many times over the years it has been claimed that a given powerplant from Cyclone was just weeks or months from production runs, BIG contracts lining up with companies, everything working smoothly, dyno runs perfect. Simply believe my dribble of hp and efficiency figures, come down to my shop so I can show you piles of parts that don't work, we fixed it now, everything is perfect, piles of parts that don't work prove that it now does.

If one does not see what the reality of this whole business has been then one is simply blind of brainwashed.

I will not type the actual word, but here is it's definition:


Here is the definition of another word:


Remember at the beginning of this little delve into history, Howard was looking for a powerful engine, Harry says send the check, you can get whatever you want.

Maybe I am incorrect, but I seem to recall that there are people out there that did precisely that for Cyclone boat engines, one thing I do know for sure is that the engines don't exist.

The single most disgraceful act in the history of the SACA is how it sheltered Cyclone from intense and realistic scrutiny. From that single act, which in my opinion is unforgivable, Cyclone has gotten away with as much as is possible.

Literally, the only place in the world where people knowledgeable about light steam power and focused on truly advancing the art is this forum. Woodson's site is more about keeping Stanleys and such alive, the Brits forum is similar to that, there are numerous locomotive, model and marine steam websites.

For advanced light steam power this is it, however it is useless as a tool for discussion or research if people are not allowed to be frank and honest regardless of who has their feelings hurt or who is affiliated with what enterprise.

My estimate is that it will take a good 10 to 20 years before the true depth of what was going on at Cyclone will come to light and the true motivations behind it come out.

Caleb Ramsby

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2015 12:22AM by Scott Finegan.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 24, 2015 04:08AM
OK, here is an analogy that sums up my perception of the matter.

There is an enterprise that is trying to push a car up a hill.

They are stuck at the bottom of the hill, and have been for over a decade, yet they continually claim that they are on the precipice of the hill.

One glance at the situation shows that the car has SQUARE wheels.

The enterprise states that what is holding them back is the steepness of the hill, the weight of the car and the difficulty in acquiring man power to push it. They never mention that the car has SQUARE wheels!

Simple logic shows that the car, even if light, is almost impossible to push up the hill, on the flat it would be difficult, hell, down hill it would be tough, regardless of how light it was or how many people were pushing.

This is what I see.

A VERY serious disconnect between the FORCED PERCEPTION and the REALITY.

Look no further then these two websites to see what I am talking about:



Note that Cyclone claims that Hoyos is the director of their land speed record car outfit.

Note that Hoyos' LinkedIn page shows the Cyclone and Land Speed Record deal in the PREVIOUS category.

Cyclone also states that Jim Crank is a part of their Land Speed Record team, this is no longer the case.

Granted, I should cut Cyclone some slack, if they spent the time retracting and correcting their propaganda every time someone wised up and dropped out of their organization then they wouldn't have any time to sell stock.

What I simply won't allow is for this absurd enterprise to go down in history as failing because the technical challenges of producing a viable and profitable light steam powerplant were to great to be overcome.

It isn't the hills height, the cars weight or the lack of manpower, it is the use of square wheels that is the issue.


Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 24, 2015 05:34PM
Square Wheels:

Harry August 2010:
"FYI we recieved a couple more US patents for the Cyclone engine. One of them is related to heat transfer and it very important to the condencing and the efficency of the engine. This part works very well as there is a lot of talk of a radiator as a condencer, well it does a poor job. It is good to cool down water but not steam. 90% of our condencing occours at the cylinder port, also heat transfer to to the heat exchanger the condencer has a high centrifucal turbulance to finish the job,anouther patent. Condencing is the most difficult to do it at 100%. Still doing a lot of dyno testing . We have to have a very reliable engine and auto testing does not extract full power. Engine friction using water lube is incredibly low. This will help with a very long life engine."

August 2009:
"The condencer design is the same for the water cooled as is for the air cooled except for double the surface area for the air version. The condencer pressure seldem exceeds 5 psi and usually operates bellow 2psi. They have been tested to 30psi. Condencing starts at the cylinder exaust port then water spray then is spun into the flat plates. It is 100% condencing. Condencing is the hardest to do because od the temperature differential. Heating is eaiser as 1000f from 2000f flame whereas exaust steam from a port at 400f to 160 to ambiant is much more dificult. The original design was to obtain a pan temp of 180f but now we can get it to 120f with an ambiant temp of 85f. You have to move a lot of air against a lot kof surface area. A automotive radiator is poor for steam as it is good to cool down water. Again water to steam temperature differential"

January 2009:
"The lower the water rate the less air is required to cool the condencer. The Mark 5 requires 3.75 hp to do the cooling with a low water rate in the 7 lb per hp range. requiring at least 5000cu ft per min of air. The upper portion of the condencer is used in the combustion chamber. It goes through an exaust heat exchanger first to bring the temp to 500f. The lower section of the condencer cooling air is dumped to atmosphere. The condencing is happening in several phases, cylinder port condencer, water spray, centrifical force,for compressive condencing, and high surface area. there is over 40sq ft in the compact radial condencer wheras the typical automotive radiator is about 10sq ft surface area not to confuse with frontal area."

OK, from the above, figure 20 psia in the condenser, 120 F water temp claimed with ambient 85 F air.

Exhaust steam from engine 400 F.

Claimed 90% condensation at the exhaust port. This is for the heat transfer to the feed water heater which surrounds the exhaust ports.


120 F water holds 87.92 btu lb, 20 psia latent heat is 960.1 btu lb. For 90% condensation that is 864.09 btu lb. The feed water would have to hold 952.01 btu lb to absorb that much heat. Water at supercritical pressure 705.4 F only holds 902.7 btu lb. This is enthalpy.


20 psia saturation temperature 227.96 F, liquid hold 196.16 btu lb. Can't boiler feed water, it is under much greater boiler pressure.

Bringing the water temp from 120 F to 227.96 F requires 108.24 btu lb. Condenser pressure at 20 psia 960.1 btu lb latent heat, divide that by 108.24 btu lb gives maximum thermally possible condensation via feed water of 11.27%.

This is the exact opposite as claimed by Harry. It can only be one of two things, one he know better and lies, two he is simply too ignorant to understand the thermodynamics of steam. Could also be a bit of both.

Claims 400 F coming out of engine, that at 20 psia condenser pressure is 172 F superheat of steam at exhaust.

With the thermal conductance of the aluminum cylinder I greatly doubt that the steam is leaving the cylinder superheated, more likely saturated very heavily. For there to be 90% condensation at the port that would require 78.73% condensation inside the cylinder. With the claimed 400 F exhaust that isn't possible.

Entropy: at 3,206.2 psia 1,200 F 1.5742, at 20 psia 400 F 1.8396! 180 psia 400 F gives 1.5745.

Sat liquid 20 psia .3356, saturated vapor 20 psia 1.7319, this is far removed from the preferred method of figuring things, but figuring the entropy as a mix of that of the liquid and vapor when the steam expands from the release cylinder pressure to condenser pressure. The mixture is 12.74% condensation.

So add that to the condensation from the feed water heater gives 24.01% maximum condensation leaving the feed water heater. This is a very rough figure of course. How the entropy changes through the cycle depends on heat loss.

Another Square wheel:

March 2007:
"the pistons are aluminum the piston caps are 304 stainless steel they seal on a small ring with a gap between. Ceramics with the stength are not very good insulaters only good for radient heat. The high strength ceramics are also too costly.
The cylinder temperature of course is hottest at the head and cooler to the port.
cylinders donot get over 500f however the rings will. We are using a combition of different materials for the rings. the top being a thermial barrier ring."

March 2006:
"Bill you have to also take into account the BTU loss through the entire system. every thing that has a loss is a condencer ie. the line from the boiler to to the engine , the engine, even the oil. Heat reclimed in the cyclone is calculated at 39% however in the real world it is probaly near 25%. It has no line loss or engine loss. A compound has large port heat losses that are not showing up on a paper engine."

"the condencer is in the engine block where the bottom of the pistons equilize the preasure. This preasure is 20 psi "absolute" so compression of 27 X 20 is 540psi which reduces the clearance volume lower than the Williams Engine. The cyclone is uniflow. there is no line or throttle losses or cylinder losses and exaust and condencer heat is recycled. We donnot use a boiler as that is for cooking potatos. We call it a heat exchanger as that is what it is . I still call water the fuel for the engine and combustable fuel for the heat exchanger as this where its BTS's are given up and transfered to the engine via the water. Super critiacal is used with a high vortex recycleing flame front to achive the highest generator efficency. The recycled heat calc is 39% (not to be confused with eng eff.)
This is my point of fiew as an inventer, as you have to look at things differently some times to achieve a goal. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat."

Just to reiterate, quotes from Harry:

"It has no line loss or engine loss.

"The cyclone is uniflow. there is no line or throttle losses or cylinder losses"

Is that so?

Well, Stumpf doctrine puts losses due to cylinder condensation as number one on the list.

By far the simplest method to determine the heat losses to and from the cylinder walls for an existing steam and metal engine is to measure the cylinder wall temperatures and compare them to the steam temperatures used, in relation to cutoff.

For the Ferrier engine the mean cylinder wall temperature was 450 F, this with 200 psi and around 600 F steam. Semi-unaflow with mild compression and an auxiliary exhaust valve. This is very good, the lower the temperature difference between the steam and cylinder wall the less heat transfer there is. Higher cylinder wall temperatures indicate less heat is being extracted from them by outside sources and less is being lost to them by the steam. Read all about it Steam Automobile Volume 7 number 3 to volume 8 number 1.

For the SES engine, Steam Automobile Volume 17, number 4, 1 to 10.9 expansion ratio, roughly same as Cyclone running at 3% clearance, 5% cutoff which is 1 to 12.875. SES running at a legitimate 1,000 F and 1,000 psi, cylinder wall temperature averages 554 F, upper section between 650 F and 675 F. Running at 1 to 3.9 volumetric expansion SES saw an average wall temperature of 600 F, upper portion of cylinder at 700 F + .

The ability of the SES cylinder to maintain such high wall temps in relation to the inlet steam temps is indicative of the heat transfer out of the cylinder walls to outside sources.

Where does the heat go?

SES used a buffer type piston head. That is, it had a false head that was only attached to the perimeter of the piston. The center of the head ran very hot.

Note in the SES article that the temperature bellow the exhaust port of the single acting engine is low. Note also the difference in the temperature of the cylinder just above the exhaust port ring.

Heat flow:

For the cylinder head, cylinder walls we have convective heat transfer from the steam to them, then conductive heat transfer through them.

As I pointed out earlier in this thread the heat flow through the cylinder walls is dependent on the conductivity of the metal and its thickness.

For a single acting engine, the heat is conducted all the way from the cylinder head down to the bottom of the crankcase, through the cylinder walls and the crankcase.

For a single acting engine the piston takes up the side load of the crank and connecting rod geometry. This forces the piston into intimate contact with the cylinder wall, which produces a conductive heat transfer from the cylinder wall to the piston.

The sides of the piston are exposed to the upper hot cylinder walls, as well as the very cold cylinder walls beneath the unaflow port. The conductive heat transfer from the cylinder walls to the piston is dependent on the conductivity of the cylinder walls and piston, as well as their thickness and surface area.

Both SES and Cyclone have the side forces taken up by the middle to upper sections of the piston. I believe the later Williams engines used a false piston extension to take care of this and had the side load piston lower down in the cylinder wall. I recall seeing drafts of I believe it was a Lorry engine from England that was single acting and unaflow that used this same scheme to limit steam and water blow by to the crankcase. Others have used this scheme too.

This is why I don't like single acting engines, the space bellow the BDC of the cylinder is a very cold zone, lots of conductance to it from the hot end. With a double acting, unaflow or counterflow type, the cold section is surrounded by hot zones. There is also minimal side load of the piston on the cylinder wall. The conductance then is only being done by the piston rings from the cylinder to the piston, between the hot and cold zones.

What, 100 years ago they discovered that using aluminum pistons the IC engines ran cooler. The aluminum transferred heat quickly from the cylinder walls and when sprayed from underneath with crankcase oil was a very effective antiknock cooling device. It also allowed the piston to zap more heat from the cylinder walls, cool the underside of the aluminum piston with oil, it takes the cylinder wall heat.

Back to Cyclone, "Cylinder do not get over 500 F" is a quote from Harry.

That is with running 1,200 F steam, with a claimed 27 : 1 compression ratio! Lets say 475 F is the max cylinder temp for the Cyclone that equates to 540 psia saturated. So for all of the piston stroke from 3,200 psia to 540 psia the cylinder wall is well bellow the saturation temperature of the steam. It has been well documented that the steam doesn't just lose superheat under those circumstances, it produces condensation on the walls, SERIOUS HEAT LOSSES!

If the cylinder wall isn't getting over 500 F then down near exhaust belt it will be MUCH lower, this is an educated guess, but I would put it at 300 F or lower above the exhaust belt.

OK, remember the excellent cooling effect of aluminum piston sliding against the cylinder wall with oil spray cooling?

What about the Cyclone?

Aluminum piston, aluminum cylinder, lower what 1/3 to 2/3 of cylinder inside the condenser surrounded by the COLD feed water heating coil.

Water lubricating the piston rings, small end and big end of connecting rod, plus the mains.

Water spray inside the condenser/crankcase to flash cool the exhaust steam.

What is this COLD water impacting?

Well, the exterior and interior of the aluminum cylinder.

The bottom interior of the aluminum piston.

So, massive cooling effect of the cylinder and piston by the cold water in the condenser, MASSIVE COOLING!

Quote from Harry:

"It has no line loss or engine loss.

"The cyclone is uniflow. there is no line or throttle losses or cylinder losses"

Again the definition of a word:


There are many others that frequent this forum that have a much deeper technical and practical understanding of thermodynamic then I do, I do not know why I am the only one posting a technical analysis of the Cyclone powerplant.

Caleb Ramsby

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2015 12:23AM by Scott Finegan.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 24, 2015 05:47PM
He takes home a nice pay.
He is exploiting Jim Crank's, George Nutz's name, and many other people. I hope they're aware of it..

Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 12:19AM
If the discussion stayed on science, physics, and engineering, nothing would get removed, but this isn't the case. A few forum members insist on attacking certain other companies and/or individuals just to get a snipe in.

Forum administrators (there are four of us now) generally remove threads or messages with personal attacks no matter how much good information goes with it, oh well! FUD is removed if noticed.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 09:12AM
Scott and Tom,
I thank you both for trying to bring some sanity to the Phorum. The Phorum has always been for the promotion and advancement of
steam power. As of late it has been extremely negative and belittling of the efforts of Cyclone and Harry bashing. What a waste of energy
all that negativity could be much better used in . That this one person took his small boat fortune and invested it all in a near impossible
dream of making a 100HP engine with all auxilaries to fit in half of a 55 gallon drum. No one else has ever attempted this. The problems
have been immense and the R&D monies very scarce. So many fallacious assumptions and statements have been made by a few that
have never been to Cyclone, at least Tom Kimmel and I have been there a few times to see the work going on.
Anger bordering on hatred have no place on this Phorum and is why I so rarely post or respond to false information and outright bashing
that is posted.
May this board return to a positive nature that is so much more constructive and enjoyable.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 02:26PM
Hey George,

Do you remember the Brits land speed record car? That was bad engineering and the project was fraught with failure. They did eventually make it work and the thing actually ran under its own power.

Although I think the Brits engineering was bad, such as their boiler control. They had the live steam from the boiler jettison behind the car in what one of the firefighters called (paraphrasing) "A wall of death.". They would ramp up the fuel and water supply to the boiler, jettisoning the live steam the whole time, until the boiler stabilized at the wanted pressure and temperature. Then they would supply the steam to the turbine by bypassing some steam to it, gradually sending more and more live steam to the turbine until it was all going to it.

They had some serious issues with the boiler in development. Their burner blew back and busted itself, it was a ceramic fiber flame holder type and the micro superheater tubes were blowing out all the time. It was a modular design so they could "easily" replace the tube elements.

How do I know about this failure? Well, they were frank and open about it! When their project was on going, people here on the forum were extremely critical of it, to the point of mockery. Their engineering was very foolish. I said so at the time, many people did.

I do respect their effort though, because failure is expected, especially when combined with bad engineering. What I respect is their willingness to state outright what was going wrong. They showed video of the burner breaking down, they showed numerous photos of the busted boiler tubes, they were not cowards.

Harry's first project wasn't the 100 hp engine. It was the single cylinder GENIE, supposed to weight 6 lbs and make 80 watts, these details may not be exact.

Then it was the two cylinder engine, the mower engine. These were all small, these were where the true development was taking place.

Check out this video:


Where is the combustion air preheater?

Where are the poppet valves?

Why are they using a rotary valve?

Why are they using an external radiator?

Failure is OK with me, bad engineering is OK with me.

Claiming that everything has been working perfectly fine for years and years, then eventually resorting to drastic design changes while continuing to claim that everything is working perfectly fine. That isn't OK with me.

"The Phorum has always been for the promotion and advancement of steam power."

George, please tell me how ignoring and whitewashing the failures that are occurring and protecting someone that refuses to admit that massive mistakes were made is helping to promote and advance steam power.

Lets get real!

Tell me how rotary vales are going to advance steam power.

Tell me how using an aluminum cylinder is going to advance steam power.

Tell me how refusing to admit failure is going to advance steam power.

Tell me how using supercritical pressures are going to advance steam power.

Tell me how using water, for gods sake, as a lubricant is going to advance steam power.

Quote directly from Harry 2010:
"Engine friction using water lube is incredibly low. This will help with a very long life engine."

Tell me why the University of Ohio has failed at making the incredibly low friction, very long life water lube work.

What I have been posting may appear to be "bashing", but I see it more as doing a frank analysis of the engineering and business arrangement as I see it, my opinion for gods sake.

Where is harry, why hasn't he been refuting what I have been writing?

George lets get VERY real.

You were hired as a consultant, yes or no?

You have an extreme depth of technical understanding, yes or no?

If the answer to the two above questions is yes.

Then how many times has harry taken your advice on how to improve his design?

How many times have you seen dyno results from his powerplant running for more then an hour?

Pretending that harry's motives are altruistic and he is the patron saint of light steam power, is not in any way going to advance steam power.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 03:21PM
Hey Scott,

Lets look at the big picture here.

When the Stanley cars and company is spoken of and analyzed it can not be done thoroughly unless the personalities and motivations of the Stanley brothers are taken into account.

Early on Fred had to install the water siphons on the sly for Stanley owners because the twins were against them being employed on their cars. He took some major heat from the twins for doing such. The twins resistance to the water siphon was not based on a technical or scientific standpoint, but on their personalities.

The same goes for the implementation of a condenser and electric starting of the burner.

Look at the White, it wasn't designed in a vacuum. Its design was based on the White sewing machine manufacturing business and their ability to produce very small accurate components on a massive scale. The down fall of the White car company had MUCH more to do with inner family squabbles then a technical inferiority to the IC cars of the day. This is a major misconception that is rampant in the light steam circles and is perpetuated by ignorance and an unwillingness to be frank about personalities and motivations.

Look at the Doble cars. The designs employed in them are based as much, if not more so on the personality of Abner then on a pure technical or scientific standpoint. The failure of the various Doble enterprises are likewise based more so on the disputes among the Doble brothers and the personality of the creators then on the creations.

Look at the Lear enterprise, one would have to be insane to ignore the rampant and widespread effect that the personalities of the people involved had on the creations.

So to be as frank as I know how, limiting the discussions on this forum to "science, physics, and engineering" is not going to allow people to achieve a full understanding of the science, physics and engineering of a project.

Nor is it historically how the conversations on this forum have been handled.

Are you going to go back and edit out every reference to the Stanley twins, the White family, the Doble brothers, the Williams brothers, the Carter family and on and on. No, that would be absurd and counterproductive.

Granted there is a fine line between someone "calling it how they see it" and "insulting and bashing" someone. However that line shifts around tremendously depending on the affiliation and bias of the person reading the words.

I have zero affiliation with the Cyclone project and I make every attempt to keep myself from being biased.

As far as bias goes, this has become VERY difficult, since over the last decade my knowledge has increased tremendously(admittedly still very limited compared to many here, including George Nutz) and the goings on at Cyclone have become more clear and frankly, disturbing.

Still nobody has proven to me with "science, physics, and engineering" how Cyclone is advancing the art.

Nor how my refuting harry's claim that there are no cylinder losses in a unaflow is incorrect.

Nor how my refuting harry's claim that water lubrication provides for less friction and gives a longer engine life is incorrect.

Prove my refutes to be invalid!

The only way to advance light steam power is to figure out what doesn't work and why it doesn't work, then move on with an honest evaluation.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 04:31PM
I think we have had enough on the ethics or otherwise of Cyclone Inc which is probably why, Caleb, nobody is responding to your detailed critique. The history of steam car development is strewn with the failures of over optimistic engineers and company promoters but I think there may be some positive technical things we can still draw from Harry's work without endlessly chewing over any failings.

I suggest we confine ourselves to what we can learn.

I am not qualified to discuss the properties of steam, being just a very amateur meddler but two questions are on my mind.

First the configuration of the burner and spiral generator coils which has a number of attractive features if it works.

Putting the burner outside the generator coils presumably helps to give full combustion within the annular casing before the gases enter the coils, and by centrifugal force, keeps the flame away from the coils. With the heat approaching the coils from the outside the large diameter of the helical coil gives plenty of tube length exposed to the hottest part and the relatively small diameter in the middle is acceptable as the by now, cooler, gases need less area between coils to maintain gas velocity. It occurred to me that if the outer wall of the combustion chamber were lined with ceramic radiant elements these becoming white hot would reflect lots of radiant heat to the coil and greatly increase heat uptake, on the basis that radiant heat is the best sort to transmit energy. I suspect Andy has some knowledge on this.

The helical coil pack is far easier to make than Doble style spiral pancakes and has the advantage that all pipe connections can easily be made through the end faces of the casing with no need for complex loops or joints in the hot zone. Spacing of coils is also probably easier to control during build.

The whole combustion chamber unit and generator can be mounted with the axis of the coils horizontally or vertically to suit installation needs. If mounted with the axis horizontal ( like a coin on edge), the burner can feed in from the bottom which eliminates the return flow of damagingly hot gases back through a top burner fan when the fan cuts out, and the flue outlet in the centre of the disc reduces (just as on a Stanley) the loss of heat when the burner stops.

The configuration lends itself well to use either as a monotube or with a drum as a Lamont.


The second point is the unusual method of controlling the conrod big end journal of the radial engine. No master rod, just a boss on each rod, dovetailed into a C shaped hole in the journal ring and relying on contact between the shoulders of the boss on the rod to keep the whole thing under control. Would that work long term with proper lubrication or would it soon wear or suffer metal fatigue in the rod? I have my doubts on that one as if it were practical I suspect it would have been used in the days of the Gnome Rotary Monosoupape in WW1, an engine brought down to the simplest workable level.

That's my two pennyworth!

Just edited - said spiral where I meant helical!


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2015 06:11PM by Mike Clark.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 25, 2015 05:33PM
Hey Mike,

First the crank assembly.

Historically I place the spider crank in the same category as the planet and sun crank made by Watt. It is based more so on patent protection and powerplant sales then on a technical basis.

To quote myself from 2011:
"I have only come across one or two automobiles that have used a radial engine in the last 100 years and there is a very good reason for that.

I can think of only a very few things that require a vertical power shaft output from above, one being lawnmowers and the other stirring mixers.

If the engine was made in a V or an upside down T 3 cylinder, that is one vertical cylinder and two others at 90 degrees to them, then it could send the power directly to where it needs to go without the waste of an additional gear box that just adds weight, cost and friction to the process. Even better would be a shallow V 4 on the axle(like the later Christie car, but not nearly as large! ) with the feed water heater coils around the uniflow ports shrouded to capture the exhaust steam.

I just simply don't like its unitized design, nor its supercritical pressure, nor its single acting nature, nor the turbine fans, nor its requirement for pristine processed water, on paper it may all look great, but in practice I think it may prove to be otherwise. Especially in a long term dynamic application such as an automobile.

However, if I am proven wrong it won't be the first time, nor the last! "

There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to convert reciprocating motion to rotating motion, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

For the boiler design.

Point blank harry is using Andy's combustion chamber and boiler design. However I don't recall seeing Andy's name on harry's patents!

From a thermal efficiency standpoint one wants to isolate the combustion chamber and its radiant heat as much as possible from exterior surfaces.

The late Ted Pritchard had the combustion chamber take up the inner core chamber of his monotube design.

George Nutz surrounded the combustion chamber with water walls to absorb the radiant heat.

Doble had a "cyclone" combustion chamber, first surrounded by sheet metal and insulation, then later a helical coil in an attempt to absorb some radiant heat.

There are hundreds of ways to arrange a boiler proper and its attendant combustion chamber.

Research deep into industrial combustion practices to see how external combustion should be and is done. Combustion gas recirculation and high burner velocities are key to acquiring a compact, stable and clean flame. Many years ago I shared a design I found that achieved, on a daily basis, a combustion density of 10,000,000 btu per cf, cleanly.

The key factors are to absorb as much heat as possible via radiation and figure the balance of thermal efficiency, package size, weight and cost to the application. Anyone with a firm grasp of boiler design can make one that will get 95% + thermal efficiency, it is the package size, weight, cost and blower power that balance the equation. Cyclones boiler is in no way advancing the art.

Quote from harry:
"Example IN the engine we intend to use for the LSR if we used 3/8 tube the surface area would be 90ft sq using 1/4 tube the surface area would be 156ft sq in the same space."

Presume using 3/8" od, half that surface area, 45 sq ft for the standard Mark V, heat transfer of 843,000 btu hr(from Nutz's numbers "The heat transfer efficiency of this unit is very high with a fuel input of 952,000 BTU/HR and 843000 BTU/HR transfered to the working fluid" ) that would be 18,733 btu sq ft. Doble with the draft booster 26,000 btu sq ft. Nutz's LaMont design 21,400 btu sq ft. I don't know EXACTLY what surface area is being used in the Cyclone boiler, but from the above numbers it is far from being superior.

The only "advancement" is the use of a very small tube monotube. Historically these have exhibited serious tube burnout and control issues. Using lower pressures, in the 1,500 psi range and a water level type boiler with forced circulation one can achieve heat transfer rates well in excess of 50,000 btu sq ft and MUCH higher steam output to boiler weight numbers then any monotube that can survive consistent use can achieve. At least this is what my independent research and analysis has shown.

Every application deserves a different design to be as space and cost effective as possible. Reference my "fancy stick" comments in an earlier post.

To be brutally honest, I have scrutinized the cyclone design as deeply as my abilities allow me to and I fail to see a single aspect of it that is an advancement of the art in any way shape or form.

The high power to package size and weight is pure fantasy and speculation until it is proven to function over practical periods of time and moderate power outputs.

Likewise the claimed efficiency is fantasy and speculation until it is proven to function over practical periods of time and moderate power outputs.

NO ONE is coming forward with any "science, physics, and engineering" proof of concept.

So as someone that has an admittedly unhealthy obsession with light steam power and a limited technical understanding, all I can do is my own analysis and come to my own conclusions.

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 09:32AM

Do you have more information on the British land record burner? I'm kinda working on a porous ceramic burner myself, and would like to know what they're problems were. Thanks!
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 01:01PM
A place to start.


Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 02:59PM
They had better coverage of the spec. and details than the Americans did....
The drive is not that far off from Linsmeyer who holds the gas turbine record The Alison 250 clock as fast 254mph...Bruce also owns Avon Aero as a partner.
The 4 wheel drive is a nice touch as well like the stp #60 that ran in Indy(the aircraft mechanic that owns it now has dropped in a 318hp Allison 250 while restoring it)
Bruce also has the McHowmet TX chasis number 1 that ran in Lemans....it also has about the same horsepower as the
British Steam car did.....still trying to restore it at this time.
The other race car the coyote isn't a turbine....and believe has just finished restoring that as well...
Expressed interest in the British steam turbine car as much I did...
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 04:31PM
The Stanley engine is well known for having some significant breathing issues with the D type slide valves and long rough ports. However the ports are of good dimension and the steam is of low density which helps the flow a lot.

Just keep the engine running down at its limits of breathing.

This isn't seen as "bashing" the Stanley engine, it is just a reality and recognized by virtually everyone.

Square wheels:


Scaling from the video, at most the steam line for it is 1/4" od.

Considering a max tube stress due to the claimed 3,200 psi of 11,428 psi that would be a 20 gauge tube wall or .035" wall thickness.

With the high temp steam it should be designed for lower stresses then that, but I will be generous to give a larger tube bore.

They stated in the past that they will need to run at longer cutoff and with a bigger boiler to get the power for the salt flats, don't know exactly what rpm they intend to run, their statements have never been precise.

So, I am figuring 2,500 rpm, average piston speed at that rpm with 2" stroke gives 833.3 fpm, figure 1/4 of that as the effective average fpm for a moderate cutoff, so 208.3 fpm. Gives 3.47 fps, piston speed or 41.64" per second, given the 2" bore that is 130.8 ci sec, divide that by 12" gives 10.9 feet of 1 sq in column, divide that by the bore area of the tube, 1/4" od, .035" wall for .18" id, bore area .02544 sq in. This gives a flow rate of 428.45 fps.

Formula for flow loss:

(.000108 * F * L * P * V(squared) ) / Df

F = Friction factor = .0027 * [1+(3.6/Di)] = for the tube dimensions given above .0567
Df = bore diameter in feet = .015
Di = bore diameter in inches = .18
L = length in feet = at least 2 feet when bends are figured in
V = flow velocity in fps = 428.45
P = steam lb per cf = 3.557 for 3,200 psi and 1,200 F

This gives a pressure drop of 533 psi for 2 feet of tubing for the above conditions.

This isn't even including the shock flow losses of the steam entering the very small tube, nor the flow losses of the ROTARY inlet valve nor the shock losses of the flow into the cylinder.

My gut is telling me that the effective line length is greater then 2'.

EDIT ------------------------------EDIT

The claims made by harry over the years are that the flow losses of supercritical steam are less then that of lower pressure steam. FOLLOWING EDITED: That simply appears false.

He also claimed that it is impossible to burn out a supercritical boiler because "there is always a fluid" in the tube. Well, go back to the first thread he started back in 2002 and read it for yourself:


This deal isn't something that just cropped up yesterday, this has been ongoing for 12 to 13 years now and this is really the first technical analysis of the design I have seen on here. However shallow it may be. EDIT-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EDIT

Caleb Ramsby

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2015 09:02PM by frustrated.
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 08:34PM
"to fit in half of a 55 gallon drum."

Hey, I finally figured it out!

I had been wracking my brain trying to figure out why someone would design a powerplant in that type of packaging. Radial engine, vertical shaft, etc. All in a nice cylindrical form that fills up only half of a 55 gallon drum. There are no commercial applications for a vertical shaft, all of the proposed applications of it are designed to accept a horizontal shaft. The attendant machinery would require a redesign at very considerable expense, especially on any legitimate scale.

Then it dawned on me.

At factories, machine shops, etc. 55 gallon drums usually have a big plastic bag inserted in them with an open top and are used as waste receptacles.

It all makes sense now!

Caleb Ramsby
Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 08:58PM
Regarding the implementation of near critical to supercritical steam in order to take advantage of the similarities in density so as to avoid burnout and control difficulties. I have never bought into that theory simply because earlier casual research showed me that such benefits were not realized in the early development of commercial boilers operating in those pressure regimes. By googling "supercritical boiler problems" I found the following in less than a minute:

"The first significant commercial application of once through boilers was made by Mark Benson, a Czechoslovakian inventor, when he in 1923 provided 4 ton/hr unit for English Electric Co., Ltd. at Rugby, England. This unit was designed to operate at critical pressure with the belief that operating at this pressure, where there is not density difference between steam and water, would avoid boiler tube overheating and solids deposition. Mark Benson continued his development work which included the installation in 1930 of a 113 ton/hr unit in Belgium. Like the unit for English Electric, this unit was intended to operate at critical pressure. The hoped elimination of problems by operating at critical pressure, however, was not fulfilled and it was necessary to reduce the boiler operating pressure to overcome problems with tube failures. In this case, the boiler inventor’s vision outreached the technology available at this time for both tube materials and water chemistry control. Nonetheless, these early units were successful in operation and served as the foundation for the boiler development work that set the direction for European boiler development."

Babcock and Wilcox Supercritical (Once-Through) Boiler Technology

While current knowledge and materials availability outstrip the state of the art back in the 1930s, it is also worth considering that the Benson units were developed by organizations with extensive resources and highly experienced in boiler construction and operation. If they found the issue problematic, it is likely not to be simply solved on a shoestring today. The fact that they had difficulties clearly demonstrates that success lies more in the implementation of the process rather than simply by adopting principles behind it. That's probably a good lesson for anyone to keep in mind, it is very simple to attempt that which is beyond your resources or expertise; as you try to push the envelope in one direction it is probably wise to be conservative in others so as to avoid compounding difficulties.

Re: Insulating steam engine cylinders and steam lines
February 26, 2015 09:23PM
Regarding the spider bearing as provided for in the Cyclone design, I have the following observations:

"Spider bearing" is an accepted term for very specific types of mechanism, the device so named does not match the definition. Admittedly this is a trivial issue but terminology is designed to aid communication by giving us mutually understood meanings and the accepted definitions are probably best adhered to.

Both sides of the connecting rods contact the carrier in order to toggle the bearing and maintain alignment similar to that obtained with a conventional master rod. These contact points must be highly accurate and add another level of difficulty in manufacturing what is otherwise a relatively non-demanding component.

The contact points on the rod are relatively small and under significant stress, thus lending the potential for rapid wear.

The contact points generate an additional shear force in a component that otherwise typically experiences mostly compression or tension loads. This additional stress has the potential to promote additional fatigue and premature failure, especially considering how rapidly and frequently this additional stress is applied.

The toggle action caused by contact of the rod with the carrier superimposes an additional acceleration or deceleration on top of the sinusoidal forces that would already be experienced. Such superimposed accelerations produce discontinuities in the otherwise smoothly progressive build up and reduction of stresses caused by reciprocation. Such superimpositions create second and third order acceleration phenomenon (such as "jerk" ) that are harmful to both smoothness of operation and hardware life expectancy.

The aforementioned acceleration superimpositions also manifest themselves as an inertial unbalance that is not readily canceled because it the unbalance builds up and diminishes regularly while simultaneously propagating in a circular orbit. I really have no idea offhand how you would cancel such a thing out.

In any case, the bearing is meant to address problems caused by the angularity of the master rod. Such problems were mostly canceled out in WW2 radial engines by changing the radial spacing of the piston rods in relation to their angular displacement from the piston attached to the master rod. The resulting cancellation wasn't perfect but it was very good and proved itself out in combat.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2015 10:35PM by frustrated.
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