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Aerospace Compression via Tesla turbines

  1. May 28, 2005 #1
    I've heard a lot about Tesla turbines so I was wondering if there was a way to compress air using Tesla turbines. Can it be done?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2005 #2


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    I hadn't heard of this type of machine before, but found a decent description of it here:

    There seems to also be a lot of hype on the internet about them which is probably very deceptive though.

    In principal, it should compress air, but how efficiently it will do that I can't say. There will be some motion of the gas in the direction the wheel is spinning due to shear stress between the wheel and air. From centrifugal force alone, there has to be some compression. Conventional centrigual machines I'd think would be much more efficient though since they also accelerate the air, and this kinetic energy is then converted to pressure energy. The Tesla design only relies on 'flinging' the air outwards.
  4. May 28, 2005 #3


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    I've heard about this too. I have not seen one in action, but it looks like a centrifugal pump with a different kind of impeller. In that case it is just that...a pump. By true definition, pumps do not create pressure, they create flow. The pump imparts a velocity on the fluid. Pressure is created by the back pressure of the piping system attached to them that trys to restrict the flow. Depending on how you used such a pump, or series of pumps would be more likely, you possible could compress a fluid, but it would not be as efficient as an axial, centrifugal or reciprocating compressor.
  5. May 28, 2005 #4
    Thanks a lot for the info.
  6. May 29, 2005 #5
    Of course you realize the Tesla worshipping fools will send you hate mail now. :rofl:
  7. May 30, 2005 #6

    I will not.
  8. May 30, 2005 #7


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    Boy. I sure hope they have more of a life than to come after me for that!
  9. May 30, 2005 #8
    Well Fred, some of them are pretty 'out there'. I don't know how much research you have done on Tesla, but it can be pretty interesting.
  10. Jun 5, 2005 #9
    Here's a very old, but interesting article on the Tesla Turbine:

    Lindsay's Technical Archive: Tesla Turbine

    It is claimed to be quite versatile.
  11. Jun 6, 2005 #10


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    That's a good article. I love reading articles and texts from the old days.
  12. Jun 6, 2005 #11
    Yeah, and that one is especially appealing and readable.
  13. Jun 6, 2005 #12


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    It's odd that you see it that way. Pumps and compressors are really the same sort of thing. They might have different characteristics, but both produce pressure differences and flow rates. (It's very much like voltage (pressure) and current (flow rate) in electricity.)
  14. Jun 7, 2005 #13


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    I do not agree. I think Fred is more or less right.

    Engineers usually talks that way: pumps causes an increasing in kinetic energy and not a pressure increasing. Such pressure increasing is due to the hydraulic circuit downstream them.

    In fact, pumps and compressors cause an increasing of stagnation enthalpy. In liquids, the increasing of stagnation enthalpy approximately is equal to an increasing of stagnation pressure. Therefore, you can obtain an increasing of stagnation pressure no matter static pressure remains constant, by varying kinetic energy. (stagnation pressure: [tex]P_o=P+1/2\rho U^2+\rho g z[/tex]). You can check it in the next way: take a pump attached upstream to some pipe through which flows water. Leave downstream outlet pipe being discharging to an atmosphere of uniform pressure. Well, you should realise the static pressure remains constant from upstream to downstream pipelines. But there have been some impulsion or change in kinetic energy. What happens if there is some hydraulic circuit downstream the pipe?. Hydraulic actuators usually provide pressure constraints to the circuit. In Hydraulic Science, pressure is imposed by the circuit and actuators, and not by the pump. One have to choose a pump accordingly with the maximum pressure developed in the circuit, which might be provided by external loads acting upon actuators (pistons).

    This is not completely possible with compressors. Gases flowing at moderate Mach numbers (I am not including Pneumatic applications), have pressure and kinematic fields coupled. So you cannot govern pressure and speed by separate. Also, the example I have given you above couldn't be possible with gas flow, because it could be a backflow due to a compressible behavior. Therefore, compressors usually change velocity and static pressure.
  15. Jun 7, 2005 #14


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    I can see how you can say that. I think of it in terms like that and it has never steered me wrong. True, you do get a slight rise in static pressure across the pump, especially in a centrifugal when you get a static head rise in the diffuser or volute, but I think the lion's share of any presure is going to be a result of the piping you attach the pump to. Like Clausius said, take the downstream piping off of the outlet of a pump so it is discharging to atmosphere. What have you got?

    Clausius has also reminded me of something I really need to go back and look at. We always deal in stagnation pressures. I need to look at stagnation enthalpy for a bit.
  16. May 7, 2008 #15
    Bumping an old post I know, but I ran across this as I too was thinking of a couple applications for using the Tesla Turbine as a compressor. According to Dr. Tesla it's HIGHLY efficient as a compressor. Of course that was in his day and age, not sure how it compares to those of today.

    http ://uncletaz.com/library/scimath/tesla/teslaturb.html

    "As an air compressor it is highly efficient. There is a large engine of this type now in practical operation as an air compressor and giving remarkable service. Refrigeration on a scale hitherto never attempted will be practical, through the use of this engine in compressing air, and the manufacture of liquid air commercially is now entirely feasible."
  17. Jul 24, 2008 #16
    Do your own experiments.
    Take the top cover off a computer hard disk drive and plug it back into the power leads.RBBY.
    Switch on the computer and see the disc spinning,just like a Tesla smooth disc.
    Drill two holes in the top cover ,one in line with the disc center and another at the edge of the disc,at right angles to the spin axis maybe best.
    Replace the lid,start it up and measure things.
    Google the HD part number to get the spin rate.
    There may just be enough room to put a deflector on the inside of the cover.
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