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2128Kitchen rudder experiment

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  • np2153
    Feb 2, 2010
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      Hi everyone,
      A while back I offered the suggestion that a Kitchen rudder might be one way of controlling the speed and direction of a pop-pop boat, and might have potential for a radio-controlled pop-pop.  For those who don't know, the Kitchen patent reversing rudder was invented by Jack Kitchen in the early years of the 20th century, and is designed to control the speed and direction of a boat with a constant-speed engine.  It consists of a pair of curved vanes surrounding the propeller that can be turned as a unit to steer the boat, or closed to form a cone behind the propeller to deflect the thrust forward and reverse the boat's direction.  The boat can also be slowed or stopped by partly closing the vanes.   (More info here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchen_rudder )  Of course, it was originally intended for a screw propeller, but a pop-pop engine is also a form of constant-speed engine, so the idea of fitting one with a Kitchen rudder seemed to have potential.

      I finally got around to testing the theory by fashioning a cone out of aluminum foil and attaching it to the stern of one of my pop-pop boats, and giving it a run in the kitchen sink.  Sure enough, the boat ran backwards.  I'd estimate the speed was about 30% of the boat's normal forward speed.  It wanted to go in circles rather than run a straight line in reverse, but considering the rudder was roughly formed out of foil and only loosely attached to the boat, that's not too surprising.  All in all, the experiment was a success.  The next step is a new hull with a proper steerable two-vane Kitchen rudder and radio control.

      Foil cone before it was attached to the boat

      Foil cone attached to the boat

      YouTube video of the boat running backwards in the kitchen sink, then forwards after the foil cone is pushed aside.

      Richard Jenkins

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