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LSR Steam Car

Posted by Mark Stacey 
Re: LSR Steam Car
November 17, 2007 09:39AM
You really don't need some extra boiler to keep things hot, in fact you really want to keep the car hot and up to temperature and pressure. This was no problem.

The way we ran the car at Bonneville was this: First wade through the crowd wanting to watch. Spend about half an hour answering many questions, most were very penetrating and fun. Fuel up and water the car. Then steam it up and get the outlet up to about 900°. Then get in line, and watch the fun. Then when you are about ready to go, top off the fuel and water tanks if you need to, turn on the burner and when you are about to go, cut in the other three burner nozzles. Then do your run. Drive it back to the pits and connect the battery charger. Relax and drink lots of water, and answer many more questions.

Really not any problem keeping the car hot until it is your time to go.
The most irritating thing was sitting there for about half an hour with that fire suit on and simply baking. Bonneville is very hot in August.

The actual run is depending on the salt condition; but usually a two or three mile runup to the timing traps, a mile for those, then you have many miles to shut it down and come to a stop.

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 17, 2007 11:51AM
Hi Jeremy,

That is then for the flame 357,000 Btu's/ft^3. Sounds low by a factor of two or three. I'd think offhand that you are getting more heat.

One consideration is the shape of the combustion chamber. As long as the radiation has little to no way out it will have to be absorbed by the tubing/firewalls. It will just reflect around untill it is absorbed. A spherical shape is best from this point of view, but from a boiler/tubing view a cylindrical shape would probably be as good. I doub't (but don't know) that most burners produce a spherical burn anyway, and the combustion chamber would need to be shaped to the flame to not have any impinging of the flame.

Best ---- Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
November 19, 2007 12:41PM
Bill. Or as in my design and Herry's the unburnt heaver fuel is flung to the outside fire wall where is is eventually burnt. And that circuiler fire laping back onto it's self creates and very hot flame.

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 21, 2007 06:13PM

Thats absolutely correct.

"One consideration is the shape of the combustion chamber. As long as the radiation has little to no way out it will have to be absorbed by the tubing/firewalls. It will just reflect around untill it is absorbed."

The cyclone burner design spins the flame column into a doughnut shape, in this way, both sides of the flame-front are exposed to heatexchangers. I cannot do this with a single vertical column. As tapping the centre causes a bad effect on the fire for me.

This is why ive shifted to MHD research with my burner designs.

But yes, with my burner I should be approaching 400,000 btu-per-hr. Its just not possible to gleen that much heat without the cyclone design. There is something there...

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 21, 2007 09:17PM
Hi Bill,

I just wanted to touch on something that may simplify matters somewhat.

"I found a statement on the net that said that the emissivity is much higher (how much?) for an incomplete combustion where there is unburned carbon (smoke?) still in the burning mix. This would indicate that a fuel rich burn would radiate more heat to the tubing than a lean mix. "

Although this statment is somewhat true, it is directly related to the heatexhanger design, it also directly relates as to why one cannot tap the centre of a flame column. This is an oxygen pathway. If you've got a blue flame there, its hard to get all its energy. This is not the case with incomplete combustion. Its common for me to observe a secondary flame in sucessive stages(chambers) while the first(chamber) burns the sharpest. For me, to maintain 14.7 to 1 sticometry within each four chambers makes the 18inch long by 6in wide column. But it is common to not reach sticometry in all chambers. But each chamber has its own air intake, with minimal air preheating, but there is some preheating.

This relates to the idea of looping a flame[column] around onto itself(like in a doughnut shape) . Easily talked about, but very difficult to achieve in actual practice.

"Harrys engine, as I understand it, uses the same fan to blow air through the condenser and then to the burner. I doubt that it's power requirements are all that much. Also the Cyclone is exhausting at a higher temperature than boiling and the fan is returning some of that heat to the burner."

I had a conversation with Harry about this sometime ago, perhaps I misunderstood, but I thought he stated to me, combustion air preheating is not done. I always thought this was puzzling, since its a well known fact that pre-heated combustion air does increase combustion efficiency.

I always figured he was trying to accomplish the same effect as intercooling in a turbocharged IC engine, so I never questioned it. What Harrys describing with respect to a combustion system, such as the flame looping back onto itself(from previous conversation on the phone) is very difficult to achieve. Simular to an afterburner system in a jet engine.(there must be away to manage the exhaust wash) Generally several aerodynamic stages are needed to do this. Its hard enough to do this, in a straight line, let alone in a circle.


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2007 09:24PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: LSR Steam Car
November 22, 2007 12:33AM
Thanks Jeremy, something to think about.

Interested in the MHD,s This is to produce electricity? If it were possible to economically get rid of a generator system in steam vehicles it would be a great plus.

Best, ---- Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
November 23, 2007 04:35PM

Not really difficult at all.
In the Doble White Flame burner, late Series E and the F cars, they used a single throat carburetor burner that shot tangentially into the fire can, and the fire swirls around very fast. It makes many revolutions before exiting in the center down to the coil stack, and any unburned fuel particles are flung against the yellow-white hot walls and vaporized completely.
The fire can hung in the top of the helical coil and thus was surrounded by steel tubing, so radiated heat from it would also contribute.

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 25, 2007 07:28PM

Agreed, But I will say the burners take some knowhow, to operate from the design standpoint, with either solidfuel or liquid fuel. I could never afford to run liquid fuel in my burner designs, since the hours of runtime are so expensive. I went the solidfuel route in order to prolong R&D.

I think you and Harry will do well on your speed runs. It will be exciting to say the least. Im sure whatever you guys make to compete, will be a special application.


MHD uses the faraday principle which can approache 99% efficiency, or 100% using superconductors(remember LN2 cooling systems do take energy). Its the same principle that covers electric motors and alternators/generators. However it is notoriously difficult, to get over 65% efficiency using a (combustion)plasma stream. Thats not to mention the magnetic field must be quite strong. The output is always DC volts, an invertor is needed to get AC power.

On the brightside, the electrodes often need water cooling, so steam comes back into the picture. I just want to stress I have not even achieved 10% efficiency(if im lucky, its more like 2%) with any of my MHD generators. I have not even come close to a final design.

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 25, 2007 09:25PM

Even 10% would be fine as long as the rest of the energy was going to the boiler. Keep the battery charged.

Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
November 26, 2007 12:11PM
Hi jeremy

With a circuler donut shaped combustion chamber the flame fromt is not all that hard to get to circle completly around the chamber. If the flame length out of the burner is longer then the diameter of the circuler flame path in the chamber it is going to complete the path and merge into it's self.

Re: LSR Steam Car
November 29, 2007 08:27AM
I remember MHD was a hot idea in the 60's, with Avco-Everett and the Soviets doing a lot of work. Other than some Congressional-pork type university work I haven't seen anything on this in a long time. Where can I find some info on the current state of the art?
Re: LSR Steam Car
December 15, 2007 12:54PM
November 2007 update for the land speed project www.steamcar.co.uk has a picture of one of the 12 generator modules that finally produce the flow, pressure and temperature required. This doesn't look like the first boiler and appears to use part of the massively parallel boiler shown May 2007. [www.steamcar.net]
Curiouser and curiouser.

Mark Stacey
Re: LSR Steam Car
December 29, 2007 02:21AM
Latest update Dec 7th on the Steam LSR website [www.steamcar.co.uk]

Hmm. So there will now be 12 boiler modules (Note the previous massively parallel unit is either being cut and shut and used in part or dumped as all pictures have vanished. My post above on the 29th of Nov has the previous link) The center section of the chassis has been cut out and will be redesigned (replaced by a stretched section) to fit all the large suit case sized modules. Figures in the latest news indicate a 14lb/hp hour water rate.
They will need 3 air compressor units at each end of the track to recharge the air bottles that push the water through the boiler. All very odd. Why not rent a bigger compressor in Utah or rent a big bottle bank?
Mark Stacey
Re: LSR Steam Car
December 29, 2007 10:13AM
Hi Mark,
Still wondering who is designing this car and who is funding it??? Such idiotic engineering I have not seen in all my life with any steam car project.
A 14 lb. water rate? Try over 50, IF it ever gets to critical speed.
Don't worry, it is never going to run anyhow.
Re: LSR Steam Car
December 29, 2007 12:53PM

I could use the wheels and tyres.

Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
December 30, 2007 08:52AM
I think the car is absolutely beautiful, and the chaise is well designed for just about any speed they can reach. I don’t think the doors will be blowing off this car.
Seems like someone else used a turbine? They seem to be testing everything as they go.
Time and money will tell, I hope they meet their goal. Might be the incentive this country needs to move ahead.
Re: LSR Steam Car
July 04, 2008 12:33PM

Has anyone been looking at the latest photos Jeff has posted on the The Steam Car Club of Great Britain site.


Re: LSR Steam Car
July 05, 2008 10:41PM

Looks like a lot of redesigning happened. More boilers is a good thing.

Wish them well, give us a higher speed to shoot for, but get some good publicity out there.

Best, --- Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
August 10, 2008 12:10PM
A video posted on youtube about the UK LSR steam car. It makes no mention of Jim Crank, and the fact that he presently holds the LSR from steam cars.

Re: LSR Steam Car
August 10, 2008 10:46PM

The Brits have never recognized the record set by Barber in '85...perhaps
it's their way of belittling his accomplishment--who knows. Their vehicle sure
has had a lot of mods in the past year-maybe they'll get it together at
Bonneville and set a new record for us to beat!!

Re: LSR Steam Car
August 11, 2008 03:14AM
Hi Chuk,

Not So! The Land Speed Record Team have always recognised the Barber/Nichols

145.607 MPH record as the speed to beat, have a look at their web page at

[www.steamcar.co.uk] click on record page and in

particular see the last padagraph of the record page, hope this helps, Jeff.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2008 03:19AM by Jeff Theobald.
Re: LSR Steam Car
August 11, 2008 10:57PM


You're right about the webpage-however, in the past two months I've seen
two separate articles and one video clip where they mention that the Stanley record
has stood for 100 years...etc. So-I did make an assumption based on those interviews..
What's the latest news from the group--have they shipped the vehicle
and are they well on the way to making their attempt??

Re: LSR Steam Car
August 12, 2008 03:15AM
Hi Chuk,

I spoke to Matthew Candy (Engineering Administrator) yesterday, and he has since

sent me pictures taken last Friday, see the latest picture on

[www.steamcar.net] web site. Today the suspension etc is being set up,

the car will then be taken to their test track, for its first test run, I hope

to be there, any new news will be posted on the web site as soon as I receive it.

The car is due to leave the UK on 13th Sept to take part in the World of Speed

event Bonneville Salt Flats 17th to 20th Sept, and then make an attempt on the

Re: LSR Steam Car
August 13, 2008 09:29PM

Thanks for the photo and the related info. I'm a bit surprised-I thought
they were headed to Bonneville for Speed week in August. So-did I understand you
correctly--they're going to use the Salt Flats during the World of Speed Week
to test the vehicle, and then make an attempt on the record afterwards-when they have
the salt to themselves??

Re: LSR Steam Car
August 14, 2008 03:04AM

Hi Chuk,

I have posted their latest news letter with a link from my front page, it looks

like their plans are to work up to an attempt on the record during the World of

Speed Week, all the best, Jeff.
Re: LSR Steam Car
August 14, 2008 09:58AM
They would be very wise to spend the time testing the car in England and bringing it to Bonneville next year after it works as intended, if it does.
There are absolutely no services on site, and you have to go into Salt Lake City to find anything. Or bring it with you, like lathes, milling machines, heli-arc welders and bags of money.
Why test in Bonneville and spend all that time, effort and money developing the car here, when it is best done in England? Foolish decision.

Having a private speed run that is certified is going to cost a vast amount of money, why do this when certification can be had during Speed Week, since the officials and timing are already there?
Re: LSR Steam Car
August 14, 2008 01:12PM


I agree with you completely about a private speed run. I misunderstood
their intentions, and after reading further on their website, I was able to get
the complete picture of their plans.
I also agree with you about doing work on a vehicle at Bonneville. Some
of the teams that are based fairly close to the Salt Flats bring complete shops
with them and are therefore able to do most anything-but a team traveling from
the UK will have a bit tougher time of it. If their vehicle is engineered well
and they're lucky-they might be able to pull it off without any major hitches.

Re: LSR Steam Car
September 06, 2008 03:28PM
I've put this back into the LSR thread to avoid hijacking the Pete Barret reports thread

"This link surfaced in the short time I viewed the video's. Its the UK based Land-Speed Car effort. I have been watching this effort for about 7 years[or so], from what I see in the video's, the design program with mutiple boilers has not changed. Its good to see this effort."

Hi Jeremy.
Briefly the boilers have been completely changed 3 times both in configuration (was massively parallel) and number (was 4 now 12) the car has been cut and stretched about 12? feet and it now weighs 3 tonnes. The official site is months out of date but checking the Steam car club of Gt Britain site [www.steamcar.net] Jeff Theobold has done a fine effort of keeping the news coming. My guess is they are having more problems as there is no report of running tests and that is about 3 weeks overdue.
I do hope they make it but some of the design choices are "interesting" to say the least

Re: LSR Steam Car
September 06, 2008 03:42PM
Hi Guys,

At 10.5 gal/min it is 5,247 lbs/hr. About the same as Jim's boiler as I understand it.

Best, --- Bill G.
Re: LSR Steam Car
September 07, 2008 09:58AM

Correct, about 5500 lbs/hr at 1200 psi @ 1100°f.
To say some of their "engineering" choices are interesting is putting it mildly.

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Bryan Engine photos.jpg 84.6 KB open | download Rolly 10/18/2007 Read message
1924 Stanley.JPG 59 KB open | download Rolly 10/22/2007 Read message
P1010001.JPG 59.9 KB open | download Rolly 10/24/2007 Read message
harryspts.pdf 18.8 KB open | download Andy 10/24/2007 Read message
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