4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 07, 2015 08:24PM
I was successfully able to run the engine thru testing stage using compressed argon. I wasn't going to go forward and actually run the engine on flash steam. I was going to build a whole new unit based on a Kohler engine. I have a policy that I wont strip a prototype down, instead im going to modify the existing prototype...

Im not that far from a running engine but it will be several months. If I was able to complete things by the next meet I will bring it. But this doesn't solve my problem with Jim Crank not being there.

I had a chance to step back and re-evaluate the existing platform, and there are some modifications as a result of that think tank...

The engine will most definitely draw live steam from the exhaust condenser and that steam will be super heated before it is drawn into the 4 cycle intake stroke.

It is hoped this mass of superheated steam will assist in flashing the injected water into evaporated steam. Also there is a engine block/head that is heated to about 450f using heat transfer fluid. Finally the injected water will be preheated by a heat exchanger in the fire stream of the solid fuel burner.

If your interested in theory look here- [flashsteam.com]

If your interested in day to day modifications as I retrofit the platform look here- [flashsteam.com]

Best

Jeremy Holmes



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/2015 11:02AM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 16, 2015 04:53PM
I spent some time working with my injector valve last night. I got the water cooling working and I was really able to hammer it. The injector is driven by a solid state mosfet array. In the past doing cyclic tests I have lost switching arrays. Running a linier solenoid theres a lot of "flyback" and it can fry the array in short order. As the years have progressed I have refined the system. So right now things are really working good.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 16, 2015 05:49PM
Jeremy,
Blown drivers are the result of a big back EMF kick when an inductive load is disconnected. Wicks Organ with their direct electric solenoid pipe valves had the same problem. A reverse diode across the coil prevents this happening.
Jim
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 16, 2015 07:25PM
Hi Jim,

Ive got a video I took about and hour ago. I will come up more formal videos. Heres the link to the video

[youtu.be]

[www.youtube.com]

I use an array of mosfets that have a Zener in parallel on the load side, also a diode is in series with the trigger. Its like this, if you build a new injector, make sure the reluctor and solenoid iron is demagnetized, once you cycle the injector, a residual magnetic field will fry you array so do not reverse polarity.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2018 08:21PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 17, 2015 11:52AM
Jeremy. I have used mosfet motor controllers in various projects with no problems. Your obviously are pushing the limits with that big coil. Using an array of separate discrete mosfet doesn't work as well as one might think.

If I remember right it's driving a piston that forced water into your engine?

If so have you tried using a pump to pressurize the water and a valve instead of the solenoid?

Andy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 17, 2015 04:11PM
Im liking this talk on electrical topics, seems we can meet in the middle.

Hi Andy,

Yes you are right the coil is water cooled and operates at 300 amps or so. I am pushing the limits. As Jim mentioned transient voltage can be a big problem that will cause a mosfet to fail. Im not exactly sure how much voltage is generated when the coil de-energizes but It goes up by the square as faster switching speeds are achieved.
   
The pressure is generated by a pressure washer pump that is coupled to the crankshaft. As the engine spins the pump is driven. The injector is a gate (if you will) in that it regulates water injection pulses, but the solenoid opens the nozzle. There is a regulator in parallel and this determines max pressure.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 17, 2015 04:44PM
Here is a picture of the mosfet array, each mosfet block is about 95 dollars there are 9 on the heat sink


Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 18, 2015 03:27AM
Hi Jeremy,

A couple things come to mind with the cycle as presented.

First, is your condenser operating subatmospheric? One would hope as it can have a good effect on efficiency as long as it can be applied to the delta P of operations.

If so, it would seem you need two stages, or pressure zones on a draw source for the uncondensed steam path because drawing something from nothing can be problematic, if condenser is subatmospheric.

Perhaps we're missing some components of the whole?

Keep at it,
Keith
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 18, 2015 12:54PM
Hi Keith,

Figure it like this, the exhaust steam is routed to the condenser within that routing is a pipe, this pipe is connected to intake port of the engine. Along the way from the condenser to the intake there is a super heater for the aspired steam.

Check out this animation [flashsteam.com]

The condenser is open to the atmosphere so there is no vacuum. The cutoff settings are controlled by the injector. So there's an intake port, the Injector and an exhaust port. Watch the animation carefully at the bottom of the page. The only thing not illustrated is the feed pump for the injector valve.

Keith I know you have had a project for sometime, is there anything or new developments you can share with us.

Jeremy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 22, 2015 07:36PM
The Injector for use with the "4 cycle steam engine" would not workable without semiconductors. Using precise wave forms. Without Mosfets there would be no way to switch at high freq without sparks. If I didn't drive the injector with mosfets the switching gear would spark so bad.

There is no way to do the injector work without the semiconductors



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/22/2015 08:12PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 24, 2015 03:14AM
Jeremy

This is a very interesting project. Please post often with updates of your progress. I am currently on the back side of the world with very limited interweb access, so I'm running late.

Jim is absolutely correct about back EMF destroying semiconductors. He is also correct about the reverse polarity diode offering protection. This diode will, however, cause your injector to stay open longer as the energy stored in the magnetic circuit is returned to continue energizing the injector after the MOSFETs have cut off.

It sounds like you are using a pretty beefy injector so there may be a lot of energy involved. The energy needed to hold an injector open is small compared to the energy needed to change states from closed to open.

You may be able to accomodate the extra duration by adjusting your software. Otherwise, you might consider using the diode to dump the back EMF to a dummy load rather than return it to the injector.

Kerry
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 24, 2015 05:10PM
Thanks Kerry.

I got my new set of mosfets today. At the time of my last cycling test there were 9 zener 5 watt diodes in parallel on the switching side of the circuit. A ziener diode has a breakdown voltage (in my case 24vdc) and its possible to hang the switching up with that.

If you use rectifier diodes it will cause reverse polarity and the back emf will slam the injector shut, this is good.

This time around I will be using 9 10amp rectifier diodes and a 150amp rectifier diode(stud mount).

When the injector slams shut it generates a lot of current, most solenoid don't operate at 300amps. But the actuation is extremely fast for a split second. The square wave is crystal clear on my oscilloscope. The spring is very strong so there is not much bounce.

Jeremy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 25, 2015 02:19PM
Hi Jeremy

I am working on a maglatch valve. It is magnetically latched in position. Takes vary little power compared to a sillynoid. Pun intended.

The idea came from an IC valve published in the 90s.

It uses spring force to move the valve and contect magnetic circuit to latch the valve in position. The problem was the time it takes to treverse traverse from one state and back. It limited the engine RPM.

The idea is it takes a lot less power to magnetically hold something then move it. A closed megnetic circuit has many times the force. Magnetic force is:

constant√∑(distance^2)

You have a steel plate with springs on both sides. They are preloaded so the plate can move back and forth. Electro-magnetics are positioned to make contact with the plate on both sides at some distance from the center spring balance position. With the electro magnet on one side energized the plate in contect with it. The the plate is held the with unbalanced spring force pushing away from the magnet. Now if you release the engaged magnet you have a simple first order differential equation that determines the plate position. It works out to a dampened sin function. Fairly simple to simulate. That is it accelerates up to a maximum velocity at center and decelerate as it a proceeds to the opposite side were a second electro magnet is energized to grab and latch it in that position.

It takes at lot less energy to magnetically hold contect in a closed megnetic circuit. The electro magnetic valve is designed so that both magnetic poles make contact with the plate. The valve motion is driving by the springs taking little power for the closed electromagnet circuit to to hold it in one of the two positions.

The IC engine was limited to around 2400 RPM at that time be the valve traversing time. Which for a steam engine would be 1200 RPM at full stroke admission.

My idea is sort of a series valve. One valve controls opening and the other closing. The mechanical implementation of series valve has some draw backs. Volume between them for one.

My design is hollow poppet valve. A duel clyandrical hollow poppet valve. That would almost double the speed of the valves as that only have to operate once instead of twice. One opening the other closing.

The concept could be duel slide valves. But not like the normal duel function used in old steam engine. Separate inlet and exhaust are required. In a steam engine these valves aelectrinic control of the valves. Actually they require it. They can throttle inlet as well. The closing can be initiated at any point after opening. The opening can be restricted by the closing valve chasing the opening valve keeping a nerrow throttling gap.

A corliss type valve arangement having two sliding plates could also work.

Anyway this spring powered magnetic latched valve requires a small fraction of the power of solenoid.

Andy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 25, 2015 03:31PM
Hi Andy,

Interesting since you are going into a full cycle sweep, and SCR would do a great job.

I initially planed on using an SCR for switching, but could not because the circuit was DC and the SCR would not unlatch.

Jeremy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 25, 2015 07:23PM
Jeremy:

Could you quote us a figure for electrical power consumption (in watts maybe) per horsepower you may hope to create from steam?

My impression right now is, you will need a pretty long extension cord to make this thing work!

Correct me if I'm wrong.

B.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 25, 2015 09:22PM
There are some modification that fall to be around what was there.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 26, 2015 06:07PM
Let me clarify, there is a 3000 watt inverter and two battery's and an alternator. Also the unit is tethered to a compressed air hose. This is one of the modifications that's needed. I have a 12 volt blower for the burner, that will be used next

The power consumed by the injector is not the same as a full load test at 300 amps, In fact, when driven with the wave form from my engine it would probably work for 8 hours with no charging.

Jeremy

Cheers drinking smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2015 06:14PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
April 27, 2015 04:42PM
I got the new semiconductors today here is a picture. All this stuff cost about 800 hundred bucks. Although I got 100 of the 10 amp diodes. The diodes were cheap, its the mosfet blocks that cost.


Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 01, 2015 05:38PM
So my wife found the bill for the semiconductors, she was like WOW....

This is the third time I have had to have rebuild the mosfet array. I have had a a hard time with transient voltage popping mosfets.

I now have a 150amp diode in parallel with the coil. since then things have stabilized. Without it I could pop a rectifier diode like nothing. Now that's not happening. I will be adding ten 33 amp Transient Diodes in parallel with each mosfet block then the coil. That's 450 amps of transient diode protection. When the coil operates its about 333 amps @12dcv.

I also re-ground the seat of the injector valve, and its sealing better. As the injector is cycled it hammers the seat and needle valve. So leakage should decrease after I do the next cycling test, at .003s for several minutes.

As you can figure a cyclic speed of being fully open within .003s it has excellent response.

I chose the injector valve as admission because its not elliptical and very precise at high cycling speeds. Instead of a sinusoidal wave admission event, its a square wave.

Although the engine design core (flash steam) is controversial the admission valve is the best performance on several engine types including a uniflow design.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 01, 2015 05:39PM
This a picture of the injector gimbal


Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 08, 2015 09:36PM
Jeremy Holmes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Injector for use with the "4 cycle steam
> engine" would not workable without semiconductors.
> Using precise wave forms. Without Mosfets there
> would be no way to switch at high freq without
> sparks. If I didn't drive the injector with
> mosfets the switching gear would spark so bad.
>
> There is no way to do the injector work without
> the semiconductors

Im going to attach a picture of the reluctor 15a


and 15b is a picture of the mosfet array.

Ive always have had the best performance using solid-state switching supply's however when I pushed the waveform in, the assy has failed...

Im about to perform the test again, but the array should be able to prevent transient voltage/current. This time I will film the actuation of the injector.


Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 12, 2015 12:48PM
Jeremy, I get that the idea is that the solenoid is forcing the water into the cylander. It operates a plunger forcing water into the cylander.

Is that correct?

Andy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 12, 2015 05:01PM
Hi Andy,

the water enters the injector under pressure and the needle valve has to lift off of its seat to allow water into the cylinder.


Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 14, 2015 04:06PM
In that case you probably could use a magneticly latched valve. Springs provide the valve movement. The elector magnets simply hold it open or closed. Basically a plate between two springs. Electromagnets are placed to both sides of the plate. Initially the plate is forced to one side were the electromagnet grabs and holds it. Switching the active magnets releases the plate and the unbalanced spring force drives the plate away from the magnet that was deenergized. The opsite magnets are energized and grab the plate and hold it there.

I have several steam valve designs based on this maglatch idea. As I have explained it came from an automotive engine valve. But was limited due to open close time. It takes a fraction of the power required by siylonoids and is faster operatoring. The springs are providing the movement power. The magnets form a magnetic circuit as both poles contact the plate.

Andy



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2015 06:46PM by steamerandy.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 14, 2015 05:55PM
Hi Andy,

I took this video today. I have overcome all of my problems with the solid-state switching array. Now I having problems with the valve guide being off center, I will attempt to re-grind the valve seat at 22,000 rpm using the carbide tool. I that doesn't work I will have to make a new seal block.

[www.youtube.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2015 05:56PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 16, 2015 03:36PM
I was able to find an old seal block, and reground the seat, at slow speed. I got mixed results on the valve leak down. Every thing is within tolerances. So I will be moving on to other modifications that need to be done on the engine.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2015 03:37PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
May 22, 2015 09:16PM
Quote
Andy
Jeremy, I get that the idea is that the solenoid is forcing the water into the cylander. It operates a plunger forcing water into the cylander.

Is that correct?

Andy

I actually thought about a self pumping injector valve at one point, the problem is metering the proper amount of injected water. I suppose it could be done. For now I use a feed water pump that makes enough flow for all rpm conditions and meter it with variable lift..

Jeremy
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
July 13, 2015 07:46PM
I need to make a correction. Ive been working on my injectors presently. and where I told Andy I was getting a temperature of 400f and getting a pressure of 3000psi. At the time I was using a direct contact sensor and I was getting a false reading. In fact the injector body was reaching a true temperature of 726f.
HLS
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
July 16, 2015 04:28PM
Hi Jeremy
I always liked what you are doing along with a few others...good luck but remember the pioneers get the arrows.
Re: 4 cycle Flash Steam Engine
July 30, 2015 07:40PM
Hi Harry,

Yes if you want to understand what im doing with the flash steam engine look here and read down to the bottom of the page.
flashsteam.com
There is a nice animation at the bottom of the page.

As im sure many here will agree there's never been a working "flash steam engine" ever built.

I use the 4 cycle approached to solve the btu deficiency to run the engine. Notice that superheated steam is introduced to aide in flashing the injected water to steam...
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