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Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs

Posted by kyleborg 
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 12:11PM
I wonder how the steam automobiles would have progressed if they were to continue to innovate and build on what was established with Stanley, White and Doble?

The layout and configuration of an IC engine driven car and an EC engine driven car were miles apart. The latest Doble was a direct drive engine on the rear axle, boiler under the hood. Kyle's idea would go under the hood also, my opinion.

For an IC automobile manufacturer to change is very difficult. This is because of the ingrained structures and designs from years of innovation on this platform. To convert to EC, just aint gona happen. This is reason that Elon Musk went his own way.

Since Ken works for GM, I'll pick on Ford. What's taking so long for the electric F150 to come out. My guess is that they are fighting the years of ingrained thinking with IC.

Anyway...just some thoughts.
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 12:50PM
Internal combustion engine has some potential for efficiency improvement.
Spark ignition gasoline engine can potentially reach 50% net efficiency and turbodiesel - up to 60%.

[www.sae.org]
[www.roadandtrack.com]

Steam engine has really only one advantage - it can use any fuel or thermal energy source. Stirling engine can do it too with better efficiency.
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 01:33PM
novice Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Internal combustion engine has some potential for
> efficiency improvement.
> Spark ignition gasoline engine can potentially
> reach 50% net efficiency and turbodiesel - up to
> 60%.
>
> [www.sae.org]
> c-engines-symposium-2019-delphi-gdci-engine
> [www.roadandtrack.com]
> gy/a19909520/gas-diesel-engine-reactivity-controll
> ed-compression-ignition/
>
> Steam engine has really only one advantage - it
> can use any fuel or thermal energy source.
> Stirling engine can do it too with better
> efficiency.
Short ton of sub-bituminous coal contains 17.6 millions Btu of energy (equivalent of 140 gallons of gasoline) and costs only $11.70 - wholesale price of 10 gallons of gasoline.

[www.eia.gov]
[www.eia.gov]
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 02:22PM
I would think it would have a significant impact.
Rick

It does
Several cars have added them as well as 10 HP non condensing cars.
The only place to add one is in the exhaust duct under the car, or else your making major modifications. There’s just not a lot of room. The exhaust duct is not easy to get into.

Rolly
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 03:04PM
Years of ingrained thinking with IC.
Rick

That me. That’s why we also drive antiques. As well as Steam.

2016 I bought a new F150 natural aspirating V8 standard cab. I ordered it in the fall of 2014 for 2015 the first year the Aluminum body’s came out. They could not build it for 2015, they did not have body parts for the standard cab, I had to reorder it for 2016. They were really pushing the supper charged V 6 engines.
I’ve had a lot of F250 with the natural aspirating V8, never had engine problems or for that mater any other problems, just changer the brake pads and tires. I gave the last F250 to my son when it turned 200,000 miles when the F150 came in, he’s already put another 50,000 on it. So have I on my F150.
I do like the aluminum body no rust spots on the fenders. I built my 35 foot boat with Aluminum good stuff.
Rolly
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 14, 2020 03:47PM
Rolly,
I agree, I loved my 85' F250 with 195,000 on the Windsor 350. I'm going to buy another one someday soon.
Rick
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 15, 2020 06:22AM
Quote
Novice
Steam engine has really only one advantage - it can use any fuel or thermal energy source.


This is actually a deal breaker for the future...my opinion. I use an 80 volt self propelled lawnmower and weed wacker. This is way better than the IC unit of the past. I'm sure we'll see some major changes in other areas of renewable fuel sources. Perhaps it will be with EC Steam Engines.
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 15, 2020 09:57AM
Hi Rick,

Ingrained? A lot of people have bought the Elon Kool-Aid. Tesla consistently announces vehicle launch dates and then overshoots --- drastically. Far from being a manufacturing marvel, it's a bit of a joke in the industry. No other car company would get away with that, but he's running a cult and his followers loudly denounce anyone who points this out. The fact that he came out last on the J.D. Powers Initial Quality Survey isn't telling us good things, either --- it's an electric car and should be inherently less trouble prone than an IC vehicle. Recently, it turned out that they couldn't get the plastic corner pads for their battery packs and were substituting sections of plastic household corner trim. Not that they told anyone, some owners just stumbled over the fact --- Ford would be crucified for that.

If you want an inkling of how electric vehicle rollouts can occur in existing companies, as they advance through their normal launch cycles, see the following article:

GM electric models by 2023

It takes about 3 years from the start of vehicle development to launch, which is a fantastically short period of time when you consider that you need to build and test prototypes, and then preproduction models, accumulating thousands of dyno hours. Then you need to convert over some of the largest factories and supply chains in the world. If there's a significant change in vehicle technology, you will need to recertify a large number of dealership mechanics and service departments. So far, I haven't seen any signs that Ford is going to miss their timetable, unlike Tesla, which does little else.

You have to keep in mind that you don't just arbitrarily sell a new vehicle. Somewhere along the way, you need to get a variety of government agencies involved, and obtain approvals. Then there's the absolute hell you will endure if your vehicles are launched prematurely and start to experience reliability issues --- car manufacturers sweat warranty repairs. Remember the company that was building the Avanti II? Some company gave them bad batches of paint, unfortunately the stuff went on nicely and looked great --- for a while. Repairing all those cars put them under. And then, of course, there's the whole business of .... doing business. An electric F-150 isn't likely to be Ford's biggest money maker, anytime soon, and they are likely to give vehicles that maximize profits first priority --- this makes sure that they have the cash on hand to build something like an electric truck. Note that Tesla hasn't rushed their truck to market, though they publicized it ahead of Ford and GM.

Ford has an extremely good track record of meeting their launch dates, and I would be surprised if the vehicle doesn't go on sale when planned. If they aren't rushing to get it on the road, it might be because they have 112 years in the business which tells them that rushing a product too quickly leads to regrets later.

The problem with wondering where steam cars would be if White, Stanley and Doble had hung on is that their products weren't adequate to keep them in business at the time. It's a pretty simple axiom that you can't spend a lot of effort on research and development without revenue. Actually, White shifted over to internal combustion and then into truck manufacturing. For a number of years the company was quite profitable and even owned Freightliner, but they slowly declined and went out of business in 1980 --- this appears to be a matter of losing out to better capitalized competition since White didn't have a smaller line of trucks to help them through market fluctuations.

Realistically, I can't say that the White, Stanley or Doble were in any sort of position to be competitive since they all went with slide or piston valve engines and only White had a gearbox, and that of limited capability. A competitive engine is going to need IC style piston valves so as to avoid leakage and to permit fast, crisp cutoffs to allow shorter cutoff in order to take advantage of higher temperature and pressure steam. The slide or piston valve is also very poor thermodynamically as it tends to shuttle some heat from incoming steam right into the exhaust without extracting the energy in the cylinder. This loss is further exacerbated by the additional clearance volume associated with the necessary steam passages. General Electric far outstripped Stanley in the 1899-1905 time frame with poppet valve, uniflow engines -- using maybe 30 or more percent less steam than Stanley managed in the 1920s. The Scott-Newcomb engine was Stanley-like in general appearance but the two-cylinder, double-acting engine used poppet valves and a semi-uniflow exhaust --- semi-uniflow is advantageous in a car because it permits even smaller clearance volume and makes for smoother running. Likewise, the inline 3 cylinder Coats / Endurance engines and the Staley V-4 used poppet valves and semi-uniflow exhaust. None of these cars ever went into production but they had far greater potential than did a White, Stanley or Doble. Heck, after Jim Crank and I analyzed the Endurance, he told me he would have never touched a Doble if an Endurance had been available --- he was that excited by it.

Lack of transmission is a significant issue that is exacerbated by the steam community considering it to be an advantage -- they would be continually hampered unless someone finally broke their ingrained opposition to the gearbox. If we look at the simple PLAN formula for horsepower, it is immediately obvious that the ponies go up as the rpm increases. Therefore, the amount of power your engine can develop continues to rise as you go faster, assuming you haven't reached the limit of boiler output. Given that few cars ever drive at their top speed, it means that you can't actually tap the engines full potential. By contrast, with a gear box, you can start out in low gear and wind the engine on up to full power, then shift to the next highest gear, and so on. If we graph it out, we find a significantly greater area underneath the curve if using a transmission. We can find much the same with fuel economy as well because the tranny lets us operate the engine closer to its most economical settings while operating over a much wider range of speeds.

Another benefit of transmission is that it lets us operate a higher rpm engine. At higher revs, blowby decreases because the amount of time that the steam can work on the rings is decreased. I theorized this and Jay Carter, Sr. confirmed that he observed this in his testing. Possibly the bigger advantage of higher rpm comes from the PLAN formula, once again. If we make the "N" bigger, we can make the "A" smaller and therby shrink the engine. Smaller engine means less weight and more efficient vehicle.

The biggest problem with steam cars is that the earliest companies into the field came to dominate, simply because they were there first. Unfortunately, these same companies stuck with what made them strong on the assumption that they had a winning hand when, in reality, they just had a short-lived advantage. There were any number of superior steam cars, but they got in just a bit too late and faced the dual problems of a capitalization barrier to market entry and a drastic thinning out of manufacturers because too many people jumped into the market much faster than the customer base expanded. I sometimes think ego killed steam cars, too. Rollin White seemed to be on a one-man crusade to develop the car, just like Abner Doble. It wasn't confined to steamers, Henry Ford refused to update the Model T, then refused to replace it, giving GM the opening they needed to become the bigger company. If, around 1902, White had licensed poppet valve, uniflow engine technology from GE and also licensed Edward Newcomb's boiler and flow motor setup, maybe things would have been different --- I use White and not Stanley in this case simply because White did engage in a process of continuous improvement whereas Stanley managed slight tweaks over a quarter of a century. If White would have adopted a gearbox with one or two more speeds capable of being shifted on the fly, so much the better. The preceding would have produced a basic vehicle architecture that would have held up well and could have been strengthed in the early 20s by licensing French's forced circulation boiler technology and grafting it into the basic Newcomb boiler. Realistically, I don't see any other company of the era that could have pulled it off.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2020 11:41AM by frustrated.
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 15, 2020 01:43PM
frustrated Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Maybe I should write about this, again, since I
> actually work in the powertrain development
> process for a major American automotive
> manufacturer.
>

I appreciate you taking the time to share things like this. Most of us lay people have little to no idea. Definitely a lot to think about here.

All the best ~

Kyle
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 19, 2020 11:05AM
"A lot of people have bought the Elon Kool-Aid. Tesla consistently announces vehicle launch dates and then overshoots --- drastically. Far from being a manufacturing marvel, it's a bit of a joke in the industry. No other car company would get away with that, but he's running a cult and his followers loudly denounce anyone who points this out. The fact that he came out last on the J.D. Powers Initial Quality Survey isn't telling us good things, either --- it's an electric car and should be inherently less trouble prone than an IC vehicle. "

Have you actually driven a Tesla? Is GM building new plants for any vehicles? Does GM have actual experience with building batteries and battery management systems? My experience with GM's management quality is $10,000 worth of now valueless bonds. Teslas are to conventional cars as today's smart phones are to the Princess push button phones. Their cars improve over time without having to buy a new one every year or two. We'll see how GM does. Remember Nokia and Blackberry.

I have built IC engines as a hobby since the 1960s. In my world the RC steam speed record is 9 mph, the IC record is 135 mph and the electric record is 194 mph. Steam tether boats have gone 130 mph, an easier task. No one doubts that electric powered models will dominate in the future. Only a few old people, like me, are trying to preserve steam and now IC model engine history. I expect similar trends on cars. I love the old muscle cars, but I now own a real, modern, American muscle car.

Lohring Miller
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 20, 2020 11:23PM
Quote

but I now own a real, modern, American muscle car.
... Baloney

Quote
Wikipedia
Definition

The definition of muscle car is subjective and frequently debated.[3][4] Muscle cars often have many of the following characteristics:[3][5][6][7][8][9][10]

A large V8 engine in the most powerful configuration offered for a particular model
Rear-wheel drive
Being manufactured in the United States in the 1960s or early 1970s (the specific year range of 1964–1973 is sometimes used)[5]
A relatively lightweight two-door body (opinions vary as to whether high-performance full-size cars, compacts, and pony cars qualify as muscle cars,[11] as it is sometimes claimed that only intermediate cars can be considered muscle cars)[3][5]
An affordable price
Being designed for straight-line drag racing, while remaining street legal.

High-power pony cars are sometimes considered muscle cars, however personal luxury cars are often too expensive to be considered muscle cars.[3] Sports cars and sports sedans are not usually considered muscle cars, since they are generally associated with circuit racing rather than drag racing.[12] Muscle cars are an extension of the hot rodding philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it, for the purpose of increased straight-line speed.[12]
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 24, 2020 05:56PM
Scott Finegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
Quote

but I now own a real, modern, American
> muscle car.
>
... Baloney
>
>
Quote
Wikipedia
> Definition
>
> The definition of muscle car is subjective and
> frequently debated.[3][4] Muscle cars often have
> many of the following
> characteristics:[3][5][6][7][8][9][10]


Did somebody say or imply that an electric car was a "real, modern, American muscle car" ? LOL
Muscle cars are gasoline powered. The end.
Sure electric cars can be fast. But that in no way makes them "muscle cars".
Re: Full Steam Proposal for Auto Mfrs
September 26, 2020 04:19PM
Fine, then I own a 450 hp, 4 wheel drive, very high performance American made sedan that will out accelerate to 60 mph all non Tesla production American made cars with the exception of the Dodge Hellcat. The car it replaced was a real car. It was a Subaru BRZ front engine, rear wheel drive, with a 6 speed manual transmission. It was fun as well.

Lohring Miller
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