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Steam turbine driven turbojet

Posted by novice 
Steam turbine driven turbojet
December 01, 2018 05:32PM
There are several interesting steam turbines powered aircraft projects from 1930-1970s.

[digital.library.unt.edu]

Calculated condenser performance for a steam turbine power plant for aircraft ( 5000 hp steam turbines, 500 mph at 30,000 ft, total cycle efficiency 10-15%).


[digital.library.unt.edu]

Supercritical-water Cycle for Aircraft Propulsion (design of steam turbine driven turbojet aircrafts flying at 30,000-50,000 ft at speed 0.9 Mach -600 mph with total efficiency 20-25%).


[hdl.handle.net]

Steam cycle analysis for nuclear powered turbofan engine ( steam turbine driven turbofan engine designed for flight speed 0.8 Mach and altitude 35,000 ft, with cycle efficiency 20-30%).

In turbopropeller design steam is completely condensing only at speed higher than 250 mph, while turbojet/turbofan engines can work without steam loss even at takeoff. Also, at very high speed, propulsive power of the steam turbojet is significantly higher than its turbine power due to utilisation of waste heat.

I wonder if it is possible to build a small steam turbojet using Besler steam generator, small 200-300 hp steam turbine and high pressure steam condenser placed before the exhaust nozzle.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
December 07, 2018 12:19PM
Hi,
You present some interesting stuff. I'm going to give this some serious thought. One idea I've had for an aircraft engine is to combine the Rankine Cycle with the Brayton Cycle. Gas Turbine Engine Cycle

The condenser of the Rankine is the Q input to the Brayton. This would require a turbine stage added before the exhaust nozzle. Pretty sure you can maintain almost 700 degree F input to the Brayton. I would call this a combined cycle turbine. Further, I would equate this to a Turbofan Engine where the Rankine part is the, albeit Gas Producer, condenser giving up heat. Another way I would call the gas producer is a Turbojet.

Note that achieving super heat with Nuclear PWR is not feasible, my opinion, for a lightweight aircraft engine. The thrust-to-weight ration would not be good, given you have two closed loop systems for safe operation. The T-S diagram shows that and not sure it is feasible.

Another application for this concept would be a bicycle...just a thought! This would be the Turboprop equivalent smiling smiley

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
January 02, 2019 10:28PM
Here is a calculation of the steam jet engine aircraft from the 1952 study "Basic performance characteristics of the steam turbine-compressor-jet aircraft cycle" by A. Fraas and G.Cohen. Results are showing that this concept is feasible.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
January 02, 2019 10:34PM
Here is the summary of the calculation method.
The design steam pressure is 5000-1000 psi which is quite high. More practical is probably 1500-2000 psi and 1000-1200 F steam.
Engine design speed is 600 mph/Mach 0.9 at 45,000 ft.
Static sea level thrust of such engine per hp of steam turbine is rather low because the steam generator is rated for the cruise power due to weight limitations.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2019 11:15PM by novice.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
January 04, 2019 09:01PM
Here is the combined cycle concept...

This takes advantage of the supercritical concept, greater efficiency. Also, this uses HTE to provide greater steam generator efficiency. I would use the Gibbs Free Energy equation to show this.

Note that I can plug the same values and efficiency assumptions into this concept...feasible also. However, this concept is superior in efficiency along with greener.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
January 04, 2019 11:24PM
Steam turbine powered turbojet or turboprop aircraft will not be able to compete with modern turbofan/turboprop aircrafts due to much higher weight and lower efficiency, but it can be used in air racing or to achieve speed record.
Great deal of research on steam aircraft powerplants was done in 1950s. It is suprising that no one tried to build functional steam aircraft using modern materials and technology.

Using WWII motorjet aircraft design it is possible to build steam turbine powered racing aircraft with the top speed over 500 mph. 1200F/3500 psi steam turbine is 2000 hp at 30000 rpm. Air compressor consumes between 25 to 50 percent of turbine power and has pressure ratio between 1.2 to 1.5. Steam condenser is slanted at 30 degrees and works at temperatures 350-450 F and pressures 150-450 psi.
At 20% net turbine efficiency and air temperature rise 180F the required cooling air mass flow is approximately 130 lbs/sec.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2019 01:22PM by novice.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
January 22, 2019 11:29AM
Here is objective evidence of Steam Airplane.

Besler Steam Airplane
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 11, 2019 07:11PM
Working model of steam driven turbojet was built and tested by Nigel Copping in 1997.

[youtu.be]
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 14, 2019 12:18PM
Hi Novice,
3 threads ago, there is a picture of a steam turbo-prop engine airplane that looks like a Spitfire. In the diagram it shows a "Turbo charged mono-tube steam generator". Can you provide more information as to how they intended to do this?

My guess and something I've been performing a lot of thought engineering on is the maximization of fast combustion gas flow over steam generator tube(s). The energy equation shows that the quicker the M-dot, the higher the heat transfer. This along with high Reynolds numbers can produce high steam rates for relatively small steam generator surface areas. I often give advice to steam engine connoisseur, to have the exhaust gas from a burner travel a mile-a-minute over generating tube.

Please give light to this concept?

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 05:32AM
Also Novice,
I'm assuming that the airplane design uses a once pass generating tube or mono-tube without a separator or accumulator. The control of this system is difficult and sure that the intent is for a tuned steam generator-to-engine with constant speed as the net result for air travel. This system would be controlled simply, just control the fire.

Any information on the control of this system is welcome?

Another thing is to get to super critical (SC) steam. The pictures posted above, from my experience, won't produce SC steam. I'm thinking...the way to SC is to have a secondary boiler or 2nd stage boiler that takes boiler water and pumps it up to 3,000 PSI along with a super heat to 700 F. Any diagrams or information on going SC?

A example of a tuned system is with the Steam Hydrofoil Boat guys: Flash Steam Power Plant

Note that I've been working on a boiler design and showing the concepts to Chuk and the LSR Team. I often work/design on a simple concept like a forced circulation boiler system. However, thinking far ahead, the idea is working toward a SC system using the forced circulation to up the pressure and temperature. Currently, not feasible to do this with available pumps (3,000 PSI requirement). Perhaps this thread will get some thinking going and the possibilities?

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 04:19PM
This is just a concept based on 1946 motorjet aircraft I-250 (MIG-13). But it can be any other propeller aircraft like P51 Mustang.

Steam aircraft powerplant cannot compete with modern turbofan and turboprop engines and will be heavier than piston engine also. But at high speed and high altitude it works well if motorjet cycle is used.

It may be interesting to design and build racing steam aircraft to set a record of speed and altitude. Range in this case can be just sufficient for 30-60 minutes of flight.

[patentimages.storage.googleapis.com] - Nathan Price's design for 5000 hp, 1750lbs steam turbocharged aircraft boiler.

Cost of construction can be paid by sponsor like in case of record speed steam car:

[www.steamcar.co.uk]


For example, Rolls-Royce is building 300+mph electric racing aircraft, but its maximum range is just 200 mph at lower speed:

[www.rolls-royce.com]


Steam aircraft can fly for much longer time even if its net efficiency 10% due to very high energy density of jet fuel.

All necessary calculation methods are in above mentioned papers.
Even Pratt&Whitney successfully designed very high speed (Mach 0.9 sea level-680mph) aircraft with two 117 inch ducted fans driven by two 49100 hp supercritical steam turbines plus 7930 hp steam condensate pump turbine. That aircraft could fly, at least on paper.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 09:06PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 06:49PM
Besler's 1954 work on 4x200 hp steam engines STOL airplane:

[apps.dtic.mil]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 06:50PM by novice.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 06:57PM
[www.flightglobal.com]


''News has now reached us that the Breguet Aircraft works at Toulouse is building an experimental jet-propelled machine to the designs of R.Leduc.This French engineer is well known for his work in connection with the problem of jet propulsion.As reported in the fourth article on the subject appearing in the October 9th, 1941, issue of Flight, Leduc patented a thermal jet system in the year 1933.' According to Inter Avia, the new experimental type is basically similar in principle to the Caproni-Campini machine, but with one important exception.Whereas the Italian craft uses a standard type of air-cooled radial engine to drive the air compressor unit, Leduc employs a steam turbine for this purpose.Of the VUIA type running at 3,000 r.p.m.under a steam pressure of 1,910 lb.per sq.in., the turbine is estimated to develop 1,200 h.p. Experiments, presumably on the test bed, are claimed to have given satisfactory results.No details are yet available, however, of either the boiler or the necessary condenser plant.Obviously, the steam system would have to operate on a closed cycle.Condensing raises further problems which are not easy of solution in an aircraft installation.The condenser would, most likely be placed in the main air stream so that heat transferred from the steam would be usefully absorbed for the propulsive jet.The development of a jet-propelled aircraft employing such a system will be watched with intense interest by designers throughout the world.''



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 06:59PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 07:14PM
Design and development of an automotive propulsion system utilizing a Rankine cycle engine (water based fluid). Final report

Design, construction and testing of 150 hp SES automobile powerplant with fan cooled condenser and net efficiency 16% for a 1970s sedan.
Also in this paper there is a concept of steam engine with net efficiency 31%:

[digital.library.unt.edu]
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 15, 2019 07:18PM
Some interesting papers on steam automobile plant design and testing in 1970s:
1) Steam car control analysis

[nepis.epa.gov]



2) Condenser and fan development for Rankine automotive engines

[nepis.epa.gov]

3) Low emission combustor/vapor generator for Rankine automotive engines


[nepis.epa.gov]


4) Vapor generator feed pump for Rankine cycle automotive propulsion system

[nepis.epa.gov]



All these studies can be used for steam aircraft design.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 07:28PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 17, 2019 09:19AM
Reading the SES paper is a great picture of what a modern steam powered car could have been. Their proposal for a V8 two stage expander with reheat is even more interesting. That could have been built on existing transfer lines. Their steam generator also demonstrates the state of the art. It's too bad that development money dried up. Even so, the deeply entrenched position of the gasoline engine probably means steam never would have found its way into cars and light trucks. Imagine what that power plant would have become today with modern electronics applied like they were to IC engines.

Lohring Miller
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 17, 2019 12:09PM
Hi Novice,
Reading...I'll get back to you. Note: I like that you added " That aircraft could fly, at least on paper." LOL, smiling smiley being near and dear to my heart.

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 17, 2019 04:03PM
Steam automobile or aircraft or hovercraft could work on a cheaper or free solid fuel.

1939 aircraft with woodgas generator burning 34 kg/75 lbs of charcoal per hour of flight at 120 mph. Steam aircraft engine could have comparable performance and weight.


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 17, 2019 04:14PM
"Steam Bird" 1988 Sci-fiction book by Hilbert Schenck, engineer who worked on steam condensers for the giant steam turbofan aircraft at Pratt&Whitney in early 1950s. That system was called supercritical water ducted blower propulsion.

[en.m.wikipedia.org]
In this book, based on his real work, pilots are flying in a giant steam aircraft with 10 steam turbines turbofans and boiler of 1 million hp/746 MW.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2019 05:54PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 20, 2019 03:18AM
Having one of those late night episodes.

Novice, we as a group do try to work wikipedia.org are "workaround"
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 20, 2019 05:26AM
Hi Novice,
You got me thinking on a new track...thank you! Here is some of the key elements to a new steam generator. Perhaps there should be an umbrella figure like lbs/hr vs weight - ratio we need to adhere to. Consider my Ofeldt boiler for my Gentleman Speed Roadster. This car is planned to be a snappy performer even with a 10 HP Stanley Engine. Reason is that the boiler is significantly lighter than original fire-tube boiler (see attached picture). I have posted this picture several times for this reasoning, a light weight, relatively good performing output boiler compared to other Stanley and Ofeldt boilers. However, this boiler, I'll admit only scratches the surface of the potential output for a boiler of this size.

We need to think more about how to speed the water flow through tubes. The key is to increase flow to get resultant, higher steam output. What lead me to this conclusion is this experiment (see attached wire-in-tube experiment). The conclusion is that for natural circulation, not so good. For forced circulation, great idea and speed up the feed water flow because of rapid steam generation. I will say, less is more.

This leads me to one of my latest designs. This is supposed to be a super boiler for its size (see attached design). This design is flawed. The flaw is that it does not allow enough hot gas flow around the tubes. This is another feature that needs to be incorporated into the boiler design. This is where my thoughts are working, to create a hot gas flow path...a mile a minute.

Lastly is the use of a turbine engine as a heat source. Note that I have considered infrared as heat transfer and the combination of IR and hot gas. Still on this track of combined heat sources. A gas turbojet engine like this one:
Model Turbo Jet Engine
will do the trick. The exhaust temp will easily provide the heat needed and the more important gas velocity through a tube nest.

There is more coming...


Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 20, 2019 01:43PM
OK, I get a little queasy thinking about a million horsepower --- aircraft carriers only develop a bit over a quarter of that! The reduction gears are going to be monsters in and of themselves.

I may be missing something, can't really figure out why they want such high pressures in the turbojet steam generator. You need a nozzle to deliver the steam to a turbine (and at these pressure drops it should be an impulse turbine). That is one Gawd Awful pressure drop for a nozzle and I suspect you'd lose a heck of a lot to supersonic stagnation. Honestly, I'd think something like 150 psi might actually work better...unless I'm missing something altogether. Do you have any ideas?
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 20, 2019 03:21PM
Possibly the most practical pieces of steam aviation technology that I've seen are the designs developed by Nathan C. Price. He started out as a Doble engineer, moved to Lockheed where he worked on various aviation steam systems and then eventually designed America's first turbojet ... which sort of fizzled out as the US discontinued funding early. Kelly Johnson designed a fighter for the engine and the plane had such features as afterburning and compressor bleed to the control surfaces (as in the F-104 Starfighter) but that plane was mid 1950s whereas this concept was closer to 1940.

[www.youtube.com]

A lot of the aerodynamics eventually were used in the first deployed US jet fighter, the P-80/F-80 Shooting Star.

There's too many patents to paste here, so I accumulated the list at the bottom. This can be copied and pasted into www.pat2pdf.org for a complete download. Among other things, Price's systems include full boiler control systems. Probably the best patent is 02183893 but it's a close run race with some of the others.


02064494 ;02078341 ;02106414 ;02112750 ;02119245 ;02183893 ;02191289 ;02193141 ;02223856 ;02231295 ;02233031 ;02251420 ;02271131 ;02294350 ;02309274 ;02379183 ;02448824 ;RE22272
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 20, 2019 04:56PM
Pratt&Whitney's steam turbojet had 5000 psi pressure due to:
1) lower weight- 49000 hp turbine weight was about 3000 lbs
2) good efficiency at high condensing temperature
3) smaller, lighter and more effective steam-to-air radiator
4) smaller and lighter "steam" generator. At this pressure water does not boil and can absorb large amount of energy.

Using vapor of alkali metals/mercury or condensed CO2 can improve this engine efficiency significantly:

[repository.tudelft.nl]

Project of a giant passenger aircraft with supercritical CO2 turbines instead of water steam turbines.


The other useful application of aircraft steam propeller or turbojet engine is an air cushion/hovercraft passenger/cargo vehicle. It can use any fuel, even wood waste or coal:

[ntrs.nasa.gov]

Design of a steam turbines driven 2000 ton air cushion vehicle with fission power boiler and reserve chemical fuel.
Vehicle is lifted by 16 feet diameter air fans driven by 16 6500 hp steam turbines. Forward propulsion is provided by 8 35000 hp steam turbofans. Powerplant efficiency is 20%. Payload 720 ton. Steam condensers are placed in air cushion space.

Besler 200 hp steam engine from post above is sufficient for a hovercraft up to 2 ton. Lighter vehicle can be faster:

[youtu.be]


Another potential application of steam propeller powerplant is airboat. Any cheap solid fuel/wood can be used. Also efficiency of the steam engine can be up to 30% due to much higher effectiveness of river water cooled condenser.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/20/2019 06:36PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 21, 2019 10:02PM
"Bureau of Aeronautics Design Memo #120 - Steam Power Plant for Airships"

[www.flyingkettle.com]

NACA Technical Note #239 - "Steam Power Plant for Aircraft"

[www.flyingkettle.com]

Besler steam aircraft engine test

[www.flyingkettle.com]

[www.flyingkettle.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2019 10:06PM by novice.
Re: Steam turbine driven turbojet
May 23, 2019 09:57AM
That aircraft steam generator looks like a giant version of what the steam tether boats run.

Lohring Miller


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