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Williams ws. Rankin

Posted by Howard Langdon 
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 03:05PM
I am not talking about stopping and starting a car; I’m talking about the steam volume in the steam pipe. Depending on your crank angles and the degree of valve opening the steam will be pulsating to get into the engine through the valve ports.
You need to be able to fill the cylinder fast enough through the ports.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 03:22PM
Hi George
I belive that sunlight on a sunny day produces aprox 250btu per sq ft. so it is not all temp but the volume that you have to deal with as what is the water rate ot the motor. Can you produce 800f steam at a rate the engine can consume. A constant 1800rpm will be hard to achieve as low sunlight therfe might not be enough volume for the engine to run at that rpm. If so it will be wasted. What we are doing is using an alternater to a voltage regulater to an inverter. That way the engine is free to run any rpm. We are looking at a mininum of 500sq ft.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 04:17PM
Harry, You are looking at 47 KwH from 500 sq. ft. of raw power. !000 kWh / M^2 is the typical figure. Then you have to figure reflector efficiency, receiver efficiency, etc. all the way down to the engine.

A 10 Meter dish is 78 Sq. Meters or 78 kWh of raw power.

BTU's are around 215K BTU's per hour.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 04:33PM
Harry, your calc's are close. 1 Therm = 100,000 BTU's = 29.3 kWh's. 1 Wh = 3.41 BTU's. Insolation loss @ sea level = 29-30%. Net gain is about 320 BTU's / H / Ft^2.

Your BTU's in terms of Meters is 3276.8 BTU's / H / M^2.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 04:40PM
Hi George,

I am developing a modern steam engine for cars and trucks. There is much I do share about the project. Like Harry though there is some stuff that should be patented and can't be divuldged untill that process is completed.

It's not my nature to secrete data that could help others, but as Harry said in the end when all the design and testing is done, if you got no patents and no protection you got nothing. The big guys could just take it without a thankyou, and they then have the money to stop me from using it.

Now the inventive phase is mostly completed and the get some money to build and test it phase is here.

Best Regards, ------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 04:45PM
Bill, Personally I see no market for a Steam car. You have to develop the heat somehow, where you burn Fossil fuel, Biofuel, Trees, etc. And, from what I have seen so far of making Biofuel, tyou can have it.

Solar is a good way to go IF you can be compact and efficient. There is plenty of Sun, Water, Land and Metal to go around.


Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 04:55PM
Hmm,,,Will this be more power than Capt' Erickson had in his 1853 ocean liner,,,,the one w/ 8' x 16' [yes,foot] pistons ?? Cheers Ben
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:05PM
Ben, You mean the one that is now 50 feet down?

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:05PM
Hi GR,

Those port & passage sizes sound good, but consider Rolly's comments on the Reliable V4 & on the advantage of double-acting cylinders. Harry's idea on varying load sounds good too. 5% of stroke for uniflow exhaust ports matches what I have read. The Reliable is a uniflow with D-slide inlet valves? Hm.

Steam passages get larger as the steam travels, pipe to steam chest is small, inlet port bigger, exhaust port(s) (if separate) bigger yet.

Your thinking about efficiency matches my thinking on solar systems. The fuel there is free, sort of ... collectors, mounts, & tracking systems do cost money per square foot. The crucial thing there is long-term equipment cost, not thermodynamic efficiency. Aluminized mylar is as cheap as you can get, one such large system in the CA desert claimed cheaper electricity than fossil fuels.

Another bit on single-acting (SA) vs double-acting (DA) is that with a lot of steam blowby past a single-acting piston, you can get oil/water "mayonnaise" in the crankcase, or at least steam or water. This means recovery/separation issues. Heat the crankcase, vent it to condenser, watch bearing temp limits with a heated crankcase, centrifuge separator for oiled crankcase, all sorts of things to consider, even with sealed bearings. I think DA is simpler overall, despite the crossheads, plus the crankcase runs less humid and at a lower temp, nicer for bearings. All these things are controversial, just noting some of the issues & options.

One thing I have considered for solar systems is a one-cylinder DA oscillating engine. The self-valving type are relatively much easier to design and build, 3 moving parts, no separate valves or valve gear. Less efficient, so it needs a bigger collector & condenser for the same power, but for a "free fuel" solar system, the life-averaged overall cost might be lower. For more power, I'd just cluster a bunch of smaller collector/engine units instead of building a bigger one.


Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:13PM
Peter, I am making the engine into a uniflow. That's why I am asking about the port size.

The rings will be Carbon Fiber, and the bearings are sealed. No oil. I am trying to raise the temp on the steam and get more efficiency. The Piston already has 2 compression rings plus an oil ring so any steam / water will collect and drain back to the tank.

I can e-mail you some sketches if you like.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:27PM
As far as I know Ericksons boat was converted to coal,,when the collecters wouldn't bring it up to the target speed,,and it ran a test w/ reporters taking a ride on top of the piston,, and was called a failure when it wasnt fast enough,,,How many ideas fly full design speed first time out?? Meanwhile a std 1922 Stanley [Nergaards] weighs about same as a F-250 Ford and gets same milage,,Maybee Ford needs to improve its milage,,,wonder if they have put any money into that,,Hmmm I think were not doin all that bad,,We know many of Stanleys problems,,had almost 100 years to figgure it out,,It still works,,,Cheers Ben p/s if its still 50 ft down,,we should bring it up and park it beside the Monitor,Ericksons other boat,cb
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:30PM
I bought an F-150, Inline 6, EFI. I thought it would get great mileage. Best it ever did was 18 MPH highway, 12-15 city. I traded it in for a Mazda Tribute with 27 MPH highway. What do I know.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 05, 2007 05:59PM
Hi George,

I am developing a modern steam engine for cars and trucks. There is much I do share about the project. Like Harry though there is some stuff that should be patented and can't be divuldged untill that process is completed.

It's not my nature to secrete data that could help others, but as Harry said in the end when all the design and testing is done, if you got no patents and no protection you got nothing. The big guys could just take it without a thankyou, and they then have the money to stop me from using it.

Now the inventive phase is mostly completed and the get some money to build and test it phase is here.

Best Regards, ------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 06, 2007 01:22PM
Hi George.

There is a lot of descusion of ideas here. Some are new. Some ar not. I am working on an idea that utilizes close to full expansion over a wide power range. It should be verry efficient as it is running close to a 27:1 expansion ratio over 3 stages. 3:1 in each stage. I am shooting for a power range of 125:1 which in an automobile would give you a 5:1 speed range with almost constant efficiency. 15 to 75 MPH with good efficiency.

The engine is microprocessor controled with anticipating boler control. The engine would be throttled for lower power and use longer cutoff for higher power below and above the constant efficiency range. The compound is different then old compounds that basicly had common valve controll and throttling on the first stage. Mine is more like seperate engines. They are all on a common crank. There is a steam chest(reciever) on each stage. The recievers not only recieve exhaust steam from the previous stage thay take makeup steam from the steam line. A pressure regulator keeps each interstage reciever at a minum pressure. Each stage is designed to take a bitmore steam then the previous so that some make up steam is alway needed to maintain pressure. Each stage is always expanding to 15 PSI above the reviever pressure it is exhausting into. So when in cutoff control mode the reciever pressure fluctuate a little. But with the next stage taking a little more steam the recirver pressure is always being pulled down. And when it goes below the regulator set point high temperature comes in. This helps keep lower stage steam temperature up and solves the stages getting way out of having equal output.

It new and radical. Don't know how it will work. It a bear to implement. And that is the main problem. Doing something completely new takes a lot of time and money to develop. Very few that try, succed.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 06, 2007 01:57PM
Andy, it seems to me that if we are a club, we should be working for the common good? If everyone is paranoid of another stealing their design, then they should not discuss it at all. If we can contribute in some way, we should.

If we can pump some money in by selling an engine design or two through the club, then it benefits everyone.

I am willing to help in any way I can. I just want to see some ideas come to fruition instead of ending up in some notebook long after I am dead.

Most people here will never develop a working production engine, so why not eveyone join in and make one really happen?
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 06, 2007 04:39PM
George. We are all going in different directions.

Harry is doing exceptional heat recovery. He also is geting good power density using very high pressure.

Me. I have been working on steam engine ideas for many years. Many many more years then Harry.

Me and Harry are perfact examples of the two types of individuals.

Harry is a do-er and I am a thinker.

In a management seminar I went to when working for Digital Equipment Corp many years ago we studied a managment system where thinkers and do-ers were identified and grouped so that you had a distrubution of both working together in teams. A do-er will start right away and get something working. A thinker will take for ever, if ever, before building anything. A thinker will come up with the best soloution given enough time. A do-er will get it done. But what a do-er creats they may not understand, may be unmaintainable etc...

From what we know of Harry's engine he doesn't have good control. I don't think controling engine power by turning the boiler wick up and down is responsive enough for an auto engine replacement. With an 8:1 expansion ratio the engine in theory should get around 19% efficiency. With heat recivery it's hard to say what the real efficiency. He has done his best to eliminate efficiency losses. But, considering boiler efficiency tipicly around 85%, I doubt the over all efficience to be better then theoritical engine efficiency. I could be wrong and heat racovery might put it up there a bit.

Don't think I am downing Harry. Harry is doing great. He his something out there. He will eventuially solve any problems as they come up. That is just the way of a do-er. They get something working and make improvements where a thinker likes to have all the problem completely figured out before starting. Thats our nature.

The idea of puting thinkers and do-ers together is to get a better design from the thinkers with the do-ers implementng them as they go. You get a better product out sooner.

Bill has his own ideas.

Peter Brow is building a "modernized" stanley. He isn't looking for better efficiency or performance but low maintaince and better reliability.

We all know what each other are doing. And may even learn from each other. But we all have our own projects.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 06, 2007 08:31PM
HI George the Williams is the most efficient automotive steam engine ever made I an associated new Williams company. It uses 9000 to 10000B T U per H P our new engine will do better. If you are intersdid? Email me
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 09:18AM
HI Andy
I do take what you said as a compliment, however I don't think you totaly understand how the system works. It is definetaly much higher than 19%. We don't turn the wick up and down, it is kept at constant temp.and pressure If you don't you will destroy the heat exchanger from stress. I was a member of SACA in 1975 and have done a lot of experiments and built a lot of small test engines and have an extensive libary. We don't just run out with a hammer and build something. We also don't just draw a bunch of cartoons and think they work. It takes a lot of testing to establish formulas to move on. sicence starts as an art then as it is duplicated it becomes a science. Then the thinkers can think about. The person who wrote the book doesn't have a degree in the subject. I hope you will be coming to the SACA meet this year. You are always welcome to visit us here and see the engines first hand. I do appreaciate your help over the years. Thanks
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 12:09PM

I think you all have a lot to contribute. I appreciate all your input.

Here is what I think and why:

I researched several Sterling companies claiming to be manufacturing engines for Solar so I could find one to sell me a working engine, or at least use it to propose as part of my systems.

One company is Kockums in Sweden.

It was pointed out to me that, in 50 years of research, they had only successfully sold 19 engines, mostly to the Swedish Navy. They never replied to me with a quote or documentation.

I have researched Steam as well, and only found 2 companies claiming to build a piston steam engine: one in Australia, and one in Missouri. The guy in Missouri has been using compressed air and the guy in Australia is actually using steam.

My point is this: If everyone in the club has such great ideas and has been working the problems for so long and are trying to put out a viable, working engine...where is it??? Harry and Howard are close, but I see no web site except Harry, and it still is a prototype as far as I can tell.

The DOE / NASA - AMES paid for a report for a 15 kWh Solar Steam engine. They concluded that there was no one building one currently (Circa 1979), so one would have to be made and they recommended a two-stage, two piston unit.

White cliffs Australia in 1981 had to make one using a Lister - GM 53 Series hybrid.

In other words...SHOW ME THE ENGINE!

If you guys quit trying to create on your own and put your heads together, you might actually get one out there.

Just my opinion, and you know what they are like. tongue sticking out smiley
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 01:24PM
Also contact the ACCUREX CORPORATION in MT. View CA. They built 15kw and 35 kw solar water pump systems, and I consulted on them.
Also Tabor in Israel did a lot of work and made quite a few systems, ASME reports.
Sundstrand made and used a 32 passenger bus, with a turbine and organic fluid.
Way back in about 1903, the Costrich (sp?) Ostrich Farm in Pasadena made and used for years, a solar system with a commercial engine for water pumping.
In other words, solar steam engine systems have been built for about a hundred years; but not for public sale.

Steam was not used in the solar systems because of the low temperature provided, organic fluids were used to boost the system efficiency. Neither used reciprocating engines, because of the low efficiency, turbines were used.

Available and good steam engines do not exist today, because there is no commercial market, Skinner was probably the last one to do so.
SACA members do not produce engines, because they are not funded to do so. Designing one that is really good is a most difficult problem and no one has the private funds to get even a good prototype made and developed. Only Harry presently is doing this.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/2007 01:25PM by James D. Crank.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 01:29PM

I understand the previous market was a no-go, but today Solar is very viable.

As far as funding, if we all contribute money and time we could do it. If their are 200 member, then $50 to $100 each is not much out of pocket to get one going.

It just depends if members here can see beyond their Stanley or White to do so, IMHO.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 02:09PM
Hi George
I think there are close to 500 members and $100 each... not even a drop in the deep bucket. And how do the get their money back? Other just do it for fun as some do however it will takes a long time. Also as you have seen, what concept do you build, every on has their own ideas.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 02:47PM

I would spend $100 to build something that would ultimately help the Club. The payback? A Working steam engine that someone could market. Or, payback in free dues. Or, more events, projects, symposiums, etc.

I suppose that some are good at Boiler design, some are good at valve design, etc. everybody has experience in one area or another. That is how you collaborate together.

You pick the most modern engine and go with it. Take a vote. Majority rules. Take a poll. The Forum should have that option available: What do you consider the most viable engine design to start building?

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 03:30PM
This is a club not a business, We all do this for fun. We freely give ideas when we can. If you wish, go ahead and start a business or invest into a going one. In my case I had invested many years of experance and hundedes of thousands of $. I got scientific verification. applied for patents.... then I let my friends help. Then to move it further we just went public. That is how it works. Live your dream my friend.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 03:41PM
George there are plenty of steam engines available in this country right now in the 5HP to 25 HP range. All that I know of are marine engines and can be used in stationary use.
Do a search for marine steam engines. If you cant find at least ten e-mail me.
I have been building engines and boilers for over thirty five years for my self. Most people won’t pay the cost of a good engine.
I can get you a set of casting for the twenty five HP engine I built for my 35 foot boat for $5,000. I think the guy that builds them gets $25,000 today. I built my own. There are 83 castings and another fifty parts to machine from stock. Take a look at my web site.
Most of the guys I know that build stuff aren’t on the internet, and could care less what others are doing.
I have not updated this site in a long time and have nothing on my car stuff on this site.
My site.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 08:12PM
I have thought some, about the club, sponsoring an actual steam car.

I was a member of SAE awhile. I paid 90 bucks a year. I never actually made it to the Detroit auto show, but addmission is free for members. Most likely I wouldnt even make it to a SACA meet for a couple of years. To me paying dues to be in a society is just something you do, plus have access to the type of documents I would like to purchase with a small discount. Alot of the stuff I like to read is not in the mainstream.

But also more interesting, is the concept of sponsored programs, such as World In Motion, like SAE does. Granted every society has its own goals. But I thought it was a good idea and sponsored it every year after my first year as a member. I got a cold call from someone from SAE one night, and we both agreed that, not only was it a good idea,(World In Motion program) but it promoted the vision of SAE, teaching students about standards and measures of physics and science. So I always looked for the box on my re-application each year, to check it off, and pay for my annual membership dues plus an extra $50 for world in motion. It wasnt a big deal and made alot of sense to me.

I propose some sort of 'Steam In Motion' project for us here. We Could all vote for the Chief Engineer of the project and allow that person to submit a proposal. I submit Jim Crank, only because he has intrisnicly been involved in all aspects of steam car propulsion. Raising heat, engine's, condencation, the waterman system etc. Im serious about this. Perhaps it takes a projected 6 years to completion, the final product would be owned by the society. So much knowledge could be passed on this way. Thru an actual construction project, directly made into an actual steam car. Shure everybodys going to have there own design favorite, but in the case of 'the Steam In Motion' project, everybody yeilds to the voted in Chief Engineer. And the project is put forward to completion. Perhaps the finished project(steam car) is used as a bench mark for a steam car economy race. The parameters are set by a working model actually built by the club.

Just one of my wandering thoughts.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 07, 2007 11:34PM
Thank you very much for telling the truth about the cost and the purpose of SACA.

To design and build and develop a really good high pressure, high temperature steam engine, try thinking about $500,000.00-$700,000.00 PLUS for the engineering and tooling and two developed prototypes. That is just the engine alone, nothing else. Good machine shops are $100-$125 per hour, plus materials and CAD programming.
Harry, am I close?

Just what engine are you asking for? Car, solar, heat recovery, organic vapor, what? All have to be designed for the specific use and steam conditions, there is no universal engine.

The previous solar market was a no-go, because no one saw any commercial return for the huge investment required. No customers, no profit.
The two Accurex systems worked perfectly and did just what they were designed to do, and no one wanted one. Electricity and water supply for two roadside rest areas in Arizona. Fully automatic for starting in the morning and shutting down at sunset, including the solar collector positioning all day, then flipping back to the sunrise morning position all by themselves. It was one beautiful system.

As Rolly said, there are engines out there, kits or castings. It all depends on what you are looking for and how much you have to spend.
As yet I have not seen the steam conditions you expect to use.

If it is one industrial engine that you require, I suggest you get on the computer and look for all the ship breakers on the East Coast, Great Lakes, and the West Coast, and the used marine machinery dealers.
There were, and probably are, hundreds of the small shipboard 5-30 hp steam engines that were used for generators, pumps, blowers, etc. that I found when looking for one for a client. Cheap, because now there is no market for them.
The last Skinner DA piston valve vertical was a good one to look for, and there were many others.

Not a bloody chance! I get into no group projects, because no two people want the same thing and as yet I have not seen anyone with the money to do it right.
If I want it done now, I do it myself.
We can talk about this at the SACA meet in September.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/2007 11:37PM by James D. Crank.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 08, 2007 12:23AM

I never heard of Accurex. Can you send me a link or info? I would be interested.

What I want is a Steam engine to run on distilled or de-ionized water, no oil, constant speed of 1800 RPM, self-start if possible, able to be rotated from horizontal to vertical, around 800-1000F steam temp, and highly efficient. Low maintenance.

As far as application, there are many third-world countries that would like a power system that they can install with little construction. NASA is also interested in a power plant system that is environmentally friendly vs. diesel.

If you need more info just ask.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 08, 2007 09:45AM
I think what you should be looking at are Scroll expander, there are companies making two KW generating systems for solar collecting systems.
Also for heat recovery systems.

Do a search and you will find a lot of stuff on them.



Re: Williams ws. Rankin
July 08, 2007 10:08AM
That temperature is not in the cards for any third world country. A lot of them are just coming out of the beads and rattles phase. Lower your sights.
They need systems that do not use any oil based fuel, and in some, even bio-fuel is out of the question, except for dried camel dung. Solar is a good choice, IF they can afford it. All it takes is cubic money.
Rolly suggests a possible engine for your solar system.

NASA is always wanting something new. They never go into it with enough funding to realize such power systems. We dealt with them for several years on the same subject and nothing ever came out of it, unless Lockheed paid for it.

ACCUREX CORP. Seem to be out of business, the last paper on the web sites says 1980.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2007 10:17AM by James D. Crank.
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