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Tesla Turbine, possible variation

  1. May 21, 2009 #1


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    Tesla Turbine, variation

    Just an observation from my shop a couple of weeks ago. Something I have done a few thousand times in my life, and for the first time took notice of what was happening.

    Turning the switch of my bench grinder on, the need to use the wire wheel for cleaning a small part, I noticed the large amount of entrained air that was being thrown from the wheel and the thought came to mind of the thread "Tesla Turbine Efficiency" where the question about water in steam doing damage to a disc turbine.
    With great care, the hand can feel the actual flow pattern of the air as it is being pulled into the side of the safety cover plate, and then thrown with quit a bit of force from the outer diameter of the wheel, the wire wheel has an open exposeure of about 1/3 of it's diameter.

    Danger from flywheel explosion would be reduced, and several wheels on a shaft can be driven by steam or high pressure air. With care in design, all the actions/reactions of a typical Tesla Turbine can be observed.

    Just a thought for any of the active turbine builders to think about or test in their shops or labs.
    A specific wire wheel designed for the application would be best, but the use of off the shelf items can work.

    Don't be shy with questions or comments.:smile: I can always run and hide:eek:

    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2009 #2
    The biggest problem I can see with this is that most wire wheels can't spin more then 12k rpm before they disintegrate, and you lose wires as the wheel is spinning. It looks like most Tesla turbines are in the 20k - 50k range. Also with losing the wires you would have to replace the wheel where with the turbine you would not have to.

    These are just two potential problems I see cropping up. However for a low rpm turbine it might be a good alternative.
  4. May 22, 2009 #3


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    Thanks for your input,
    Your right, in regards to, what is standard trends of thought.
    The observation made was on a 8" wheel, turning about 3600 RPM, and yes I have picked a lot of wire pieces out of my skin over the years, this is in general because of how rough I have been using the wheel.

    I get real nervous around anything spinning faster than 10K, however I do have one wheel of special interest, and that is one with several twisted wires, forming a shaft of about 1/4" and at the tip the individual wires extend out in a slight flare pattern, there are 56 of these and they make up an almost solid 6" wheel, I think it was rated at around 12.5K.

    A regular wire wheel is generally considered a cleaning or polishing tool, the thought of safety in the rotating mass, plus the large mass of air affected, caused this line of thinking to really stand out.
    My thoughts tend to lean in the direction of larger mass air flow at lower pressures, and generate a colder discharge.

    Guess I better quit at that.:smile:

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