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Welcome to the New Steam !

  1. Sep 15, 2011 #1
    Welcome to the "New Steam"!

    One of my favorite examples of the "New Steam" actually isn't all that new, as it derives from a television show I saw in which Jay Leno explains the difference between a Stanley steamer and a White steamer, both of pre-First World War vintage. With the Stanley, the boiler and the water reservoir were the same vessel, which meant that you had to bring your entire water supply to a boil in order to get any steam at all, whereas the White had a separate reservoir and boiler, with the boiler having only a two-quart capacity. The White system allowed for greater fuel efficiency and a faster start-up time, as you were only boiling a small amount of water at a time, and weren't wasting fuel boiling water that you weren't going to need for a while. The Stanley also had a Stephenson-style blast pipe for the piston exhaust, whereas the White had a condenser which recirculated the piston exhaust back into the water reservoir.

    In many ways, the White represents the essence of the "New Stream", in which efficiency is stressed. We like using steam in small amounts to increase both fuel efficiency and safety, recapturing waste energy by means of superheater water-tubes, preheater fire-tubes and condenser coils, and compound engines on railroad locomotives (even triple-expansion engines!). We pay a great deal of attention to exhaust systems, in order to improve aerodynamic draw from the firebox and to extract power from the hate available in the smokebox.

    The benefit: new steam locomotives are being built and designed, and old locos are being rebuilt, in a manner which makes them more efficient than diesel (in spite of all that water we're lugging around!), and better for the environment. We like light oil for fuel, and even experimental fuels, such as liquid biofuels.

    For a more thorough intoduction to this subject, see:

    http://www.trainweb.org/tusp/

    I'm probably going to be living on that site for a while.
     
  2. jcsd
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