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Re: Our new members

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  • Pete B.
    Welcome All. New members; Please tell us a little bit about your interests. As you ll find out we have members with a lot of knowledge and talent. Others of us
    Message 1 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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      Welcome All.

      New members; Please tell us a little bit about your interests. As you'll find out we have members with a lot of knowledge and talent. Others of us have ideas and enthusiasm and are working on the rest.

      Thanks Frank....and congratulations. Now you truely are "great"!

      Pete


      --- In pop-pop-steamboats@yahoogroups.com, "Frank McNeill" <frankmcneilll@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi All,
      >
      > We have four new members who were "tricked" into joining our motley
      > crew by a message that I posted on the Yahoo discussion group,
      > LittleEngines at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LittleEngines/>.
      > In the alphabetical order of their Yahoo IDs, our new members are:
      > brian458666, gpomier, rogerkrahl and silntobsvr
      > Thanks. new members for joining us on pop-pop-steamboats, and best
      > wishes to all.
      >
      > old Frank (a great grandfather since 10/01/2007)
      >

    • Donald Qualls
      ... I ve been interested in Pop-Pop boats for a long time, and always felt there was still a biggish hole in the explanations of how the engine works --
      Message 2 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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        Frank McNeill wrote:
        > Hi All,
        >
        > We have four new members who were "tricked" into joining our motley
        > crew by a message that I posted on the Yahoo discussion group,
        > LittleEngines at <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LittleEngines/>.
        > In the alphabetical order of their Yahoo IDs, our new members are:
        > brian458666, gpomier, rogerkrahl and silntobsvr
        > Thanks. new members for joining us on pop-pop-steamboats, and best
        > wishes to all.
        >
        > old Frank (a great grandfather since 10/01/2007)
        >

        I've been interested in Pop-Pop boats for a long time, and always felt
        there was still a biggish hole in the explanations of how the engine
        works -- specifically, how can the steam in the tube cool enough to get
        water back into the hot section, if the hot section stays hot? That is,
        not a question of the reaction effect (the linear vs. hemispheric
        argument seems valid there), but rather of how the engine continues to
        operate indefinitely (pending fuel supply for the burner)...

        I might have to build one out of Pyrex tube sometime so I can see the
        water movement inside...

        --
        If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
        it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

        Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

        Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
        and don't expect them to be perfect.
      • David Halfpenny
        ... From: Donald Qualls ... Well some engines don t run continuously. They may set off fine, and then stutter to a frustrating halt.
        Message 3 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>

          > how can the steam in the tube cool enough to get
          > water back into the hot section, if the hot section stays hot? That is,
          > not a question of the reaction effect (the linear vs. hemispheric
          > argument seems valid there), but rather of how the engine continues to
          > operate indefinitely (pending fuel supply for the burner)...

          Well some engines don't run continuously. They may set off fine, and then
          stutter to a frustrating halt.

          One clue is that the engines work better with the right amount of air in
          them. (Quite what the right amount is, and whether it increases or
          decreases during a run is another matter altogether.)

          So the air and the water act as a spring-mass-damper system, with a
          resonant frequency.

          This of course is in addition to all the evaporation and condensation going
          on, but all the same it is a clue.

          The important thing about a resonance is that the Output is out of phase
          with the input: the movement is greatest when the pressure is least. If you
          find this counter-intuitive, I recommend spending a few years pushing kids
          on swings as being a better path to illumination than diving into the
          maths.

          There's an analogy here between a pop-pop and a "displacerless" Stirling
          engine. Resonance causes the air in the sole cylinder to move 90degrees out
          of phase with the piston, just like a crankshaft-driven displacer would.

          David 1/2d
        • Donald Qualls
          ... Aaaah! Key here is that, having never actually operated a pop-pop, I wasn t aware they need some air in the system to operate. This makes perfect sense,
          Message 4 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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            David Halfpenny wrote:
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>
            >
            >> how can the steam in the tube cool enough to get
            >> water back into the hot section, if the hot section stays hot? That is,
            >> not a question of the reaction effect (the linear vs. hemispheric
            >> argument seems valid there), but rather of how the engine continues to
            >> operate indefinitely (pending fuel supply for the burner)...
            >
            > Well some engines don't run continuously. They may set off fine, and then
            > stutter to a frustrating halt.
            >
            > One clue is that the engines work better with the right amount of air in
            > them. (Quite what the right amount is, and whether it increases or
            > decreases during a run is another matter altogether.)
            >
            > So the air and the water act as a spring-mass-damper system, with a
            > resonant frequency.
            >
            > This of course is in addition to all the evaporation and condensation going
            > on, but all the same it is a clue.
            >
            > The important thing about a resonance is that the Output is out of phase
            > with the input: the movement is greatest when the pressure is least. If you
            > find this counter-intuitive, I recommend spending a few years pushing kids
            > on swings as being a better path to illumination than diving into the
            > maths.
            >
            > There's an analogy here between a pop-pop and a "displacerless" Stirling
            > engine. Resonance causes the air in the sole cylinder to move 90degrees out
            > of phase with the piston, just like a crankshaft-driven displacer would.
            >
            > David 1/2d

            Aaaah! Key here is that, having never actually operated a pop-pop, I
            wasn't aware they need some air in the system to operate. This makes
            perfect sense, then; the steam forces water out, but doesn't completely
            clear the tube (so no steam bubbles emitted) and the inertia of the
            water pulls the pressure in the tube well below ambient; this then
            causes water to rush back in and actually compress the remaining air (as
            well as condensing some of the steam), and if things are all well, the
            inertia of the inflowing water will be sufficient to bring enough into
            the hot zone of the boiler to power another cycle.

            As you say, the water remaining in the pipe is acting as the piston in a
            hybrid of a Stirling cycle and a phase-change system similar to the
            Rankine steam cycle.

            BTW, I've seen photos and drawings of very large steam pumping engines
            that used only the water as their pistons, but (of course) they used a
            separate boiler and a valving system of some sort to control the steam.
            The pop-pop sounds like it uses a similar cycle, but with steam
            controlled by access of water to the hot section.
            --
            If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
            it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

            Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

            Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
            and don't expect them to be perfect.
          • David Halfpenny
            ... From: Donald Qualls ... Yes. However few owners give any thought to air: it just happens, or not. With the diaphragm type motor,
            Message 5 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>

              > This makes perfect sense, then;

              Yes.

              However few owners give any thought to air: it just happens, or not.

              With the diaphragm type motor, it would be hard to exclude all air as it
              will lurk in the recesses when the motor is first filled.

              However with the coil type it would be difficult to include any, but some
              will come out of solution as soon as the water is heated.

              It is possible that there are several different types of successful
              configuration - long tubes, short tubes, immersed tubes, inboard tubes etc
              and I can't get my head round it all. But as you say, folk who have made
              transparent motors have found them instructive.

              David 1/2d

              Jargon:

              A Stirling engine:
              - compresses a load of gas (usually air),
              - heats it up while compacted
              - lets it expand (providing a power stroke)
              - cools it down while expanded.
              Repeat.

              A Rankine engine:
              - boils a load of liquid (usually water),
              - lets the steam expand (providing a power stroke)
              - condenses it back into water
              - pumps it back into the boiler.
              Repeat.

              Either can be used either as a motor or be motor-driven to act as a heat
              pump shifting heat from a colder zone to a warmer one. For example a
              Rankine engine can be made either as a steam power plant or as a
              motor-driven refrigerator.

              There have been a lot more Rankine engines built than Stirling engines
              because it's a heck of a lot easier to pump liquid than to compress gas,
              and because a lump of steam holds a lot more heat than a lump of air at the
              same temperature.

              There: the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!
            • Donald Qualls
              ... Well, at least as it stood ca. 1900, when internal combustion wasn t yet a major player in the prime mover game. In fact, most steam engines made over the
              Message 6 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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                David Halfpenny wrote:
                > Jargon:
                >
                > A Stirling engine:
                > - compresses a load of gas (usually air),
                > - heats it up while compacted
                > - lets it expand (providing a power stroke)
                > - cools it down while expanded.
                > Repeat.
                >
                > A Rankine engine:
                > - boils a load of liquid (usually water),
                > - lets the steam expand (providing a power stroke)
                > - condenses it back into water
                > - pumps it back into the boiler.
                > Repeat.
                >
                > Either can be used either as a motor or be motor-driven to act as a heat
                > pump shifting heat from a colder zone to a warmer one. For example a
                > Rankine engine can be made either as a steam power plant or as a
                > motor-driven refrigerator.
                >
                > There have been a lot more Rankine engines built than Stirling engines
                > because it's a heck of a lot easier to pump liquid than to compress gas,
                > and because a lump of steam holds a lot more heat than a lump of air at the
                > same temperature.
                >
                > There: the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!

                Well, at least as it stood ca. 1900, when internal combustion wasn't yet
                a major player in the prime mover game. In fact, most steam engines
                made over the past four hundred years have been an "open" version of the
                Rankine cycle, with the pump back to the boiler and often the condenser
                omitted in the interest of mechanical simplicity and/or reliability
                and/or lightness. I'm sure that's the case, because there have almost
                certainly been more steam engines built as locomotives and tractors than
                all other applications together, and virtually all of those are open cycle.

                Which, of course, doesn't change the elegance of an engine that can
                drive a tiny watercraft with no moving parts other than the working fluid...

                Worth noting relative to Stirling that the compression and expansion is
                typically a pretty small percentage of the volume; most of the designs
                I've looked at seem to run 3-5% volume change over the full stroke of
                the power piston. Steam, by comparison, has an expansion (if I recall
                correctly) of about 260:1 over the liquid phase; that makes steam
                engines capable of immense effort at very low speed (at least those that
                are designed for that kind of thing, minimum feature set including a
                variable cutoff valve gear) while Stirling is closer to an internal
                combustion engine in the way it runs -- that is, must keep up a pretty
                good rotational clip to run at all, because each power stroke produces
                relatively little energy.
                --
                If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

                Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

                Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                and don't expect them to be perfect.
              • David Halfpenny
                ... From: Donald Qualls ... Yes indeed - letting the condensing happen in the atmosphere and substituting alternative Working Fluid
                Message 7 of 17 , Nov 30, 2007
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>


                  > most steam engines
                  > made over the past four hundred years have been an "open" version of the
                  > Rankine cycle, with the pump back to the boiler and often the condenser
                  > omitted in the interest of mechanical simplicity and/or reliability
                  > and/or lightness.

                  Yes indeed - letting the condensing happen in the atmosphere and
                  substituting alternative Working Fluid is technically cheating, just as
                  leaving a turbine wake behind and ingesting substitute air is.

                  > there have almost
                  > certainly been more steam engines built as locomotives and tractors than
                  > all other applications together, and virtually all of those are open
                  > cycle.

                  I'm sure you are right, but for such an influential piece of kit the number
                  of steam locomotives built has been surprisingly few. I've not seen any
                  estimate that exceeds a million. The humble pop-pop may well be (or soon
                  become) more numerous!
                  >
                  > Which, of course, doesn't change the elegance of an engine that can
                  > drive a tiny watercraft with no moving parts other than the working
                  > fluid...
                  >
                  Absolutely! D
                • Donald Qualls
                  ... Well, don t forget that most of steam s influence was in the days when a few dozen of something important could change the world. But look at what else
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                    David Halfpenny wrote:
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>
                    >
                    >
                    >> there have almost
                    >> certainly been more steam engines built as locomotives and tractors than
                    >> all other applications together, and virtually all of those are open
                    >> cycle.
                    >
                    > I'm sure you are right, but for such an influential piece of kit the number
                    > of steam locomotives built has been surprisingly few. I've not seen any
                    > estimate that exceeds a million. The humble pop-pop may well be (or soon
                    > become) more numerous!

                    Well, don't forget that most of steam's influence was in the days when a
                    few dozen of something important could change the world. But look at
                    what else steam has done -- powered ships (the bulk of which after about
                    WWII ran turbines instead of steam expanders) and operated stationary
                    power installations (either electric generation -- again, virtually
                    always turbine -- or things like mine engines); both of those are surely
                    fewer in number than even locomotives. One could make a case that there
                    have been more model steam engines built than there ever were full size
                    ones, though I don't know where you'd get the figures to back it up...

                    --
                    If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                    it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

                    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

                    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                    and don't expect them to be perfect.
                  • David Halfpenny
                    ... From: Donald Qualls ... OK then: An Infernal Confusion engine: - compresses a lump of air, - heats it up a lot - expands it
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>

                      >> There: the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!
                      >
                      > Well, at least as it stood ca. 1900, when internal combustion wasn't yet
                      > a major player in the prime mover game.

                      OK then: An Infernal Confusion engine:
                      - compresses a lump of air,
                      - heats it up a lot
                      - expands it (providing a power stroke)
                      - lets it escape along with the products of combusion (which may also
                      provide a reaction thrust)

                      The one closest to the pop-pop is the pulse-jet or doodelbug engine, which
                      also uses an oscillating column of fluid in a backwards-pointing tube. (My
                      parents weren't very fond of these as they were married in London in August
                      1944.) In this case, the resonant pressure wave opens and closes the air
                      inlet valve, sucks in and atomises the liquid fuel and compresses the
                      ingested air. Ignition is usually by contact between the explosive mixture
                      and the hot walls of the combustion chamber.
                      The result is very simple and powerful model boat engine that is several
                      decibels noisier than a pop-pop

                      David 1/2d

                      There are one or two additional details, but the core science behind post
                      mediaeval Mechanical Engineering isn't mechanics, or mechanisms, or
                      materials, important as they all are: it's thermodynamics.
                    • Donald Qualls
                      ... Of course, this cycle, like the Rankine, can be used either in batch mode or in continuous mode. Common piston, rotary, and pulse-jet engines operate
                      Message 10 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                        David Halfpenny wrote:
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>
                        >
                        >>> There: the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!
                        >> Well, at least as it stood ca. 1900, when internal combustion wasn't yet
                        >> a major player in the prime mover game.
                        >
                        > OK then: An Infernal Confusion engine:
                        > - compresses a lump of air,
                        > - heats it up a lot
                        > - expands it (providing a power stroke)
                        > - lets it escape along with the products of combusion (which may also
                        > provide a reaction thrust)

                        Of course, this cycle, like the Rankine, can be used either in "batch"
                        mode or in "continuous" mode. Common piston, rotary, and pulse-jet
                        engines operate in pulsed or "batch" mode, where a discrete "lump" of
                        working fluid goes through the entire cycle independent of other
                        charges, while ramjets, turbojets and turbofans and at least one variant
                        piston engine (an internal combustion version of an elbow engine)
                        operate in continuous mode, where all parts of the cycle operate on a
                        flowing stream of working fluid (rather like the difference between pot
                        distillation and a distillation column, or lab synthesis vs. an
                        industrial process).

                        > The one closest to the pop-pop is the pulse-jet or doodelbug engine, which
                        > also uses an oscillating column of fluid in a backwards-pointing tube. (My
                        > parents weren't very fond of these as they were married in London in August
                        > 1944.) In this case, the resonant pressure wave opens and closes the air
                        > inlet valve, sucks in and atomises the liquid fuel and compresses the
                        > ingested air. Ignition is usually by contact between the explosive mixture
                        > and the hot walls of the combustion chamber.
                        > The result is very simple and powerful model boat engine that is several
                        > decibels noisier than a pop-pop

                        The classic valved pulsejet actually has a front intake and almost
                        entirely one-way flow, and model airplane versions have a venturi
                        carburetor built into the intake at the forward end (the German design,
                        too large to work well with a flat reed valve, incorporated the fuel
                        delivery into the grid that held the valves, so didn't as much resemble
                        a simple venturi carburetor).

                        There are actually a couple valveless pulse jets that are even closer to
                        a pop-pop in operation; all compression and flow control is due to
                        pressure pulses in resonance with the pipe, and both pipe openings face
                        backward and produce thrust (though the designs I've seen have them
                        different lengths and the overall flow is from the shorter pipe to the
                        longer; there has to be some directional flow to keep drawing in fresh
                        air and fuel and removing combustion products, of course, but it could
                        be worth testing to see if this would be the case with our kind of
                        pop-pop, since tuning the tubes to product directional flow has the
                        potential to greatly increase the efficiency of the engine). The
                        resonance frequency in these, in hobbyist scales, tends to be in the
                        mid-upper audible range, leading them to produce a very distinctive
                        screaming sound in addition to the usual loud roar of any jet exhaust.

                        > David 1/2d
                        >
                        > There are one or two additional details, but the core science behind post
                        > mediaeval Mechanical Engineering isn't mechanics, or mechanisms, or
                        > materials, important as they all are: it's thermodynamics.

                        Yep, pretty much anything invented since James Watt improved the pumping
                        engine at the mine where he worked (by inventing, out of laziness, an
                        automatic valve gear to replace the continuous attention of a boy)
                        depends on thermodynamics, at least until you start getting into
                        practical electricity in the late 19th century. At that point,
                        Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism become the important ones...

                        --
                        If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                        it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

                        Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

                        Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                        and don't expect them to be perfect.
                      • David Halfpenny
                        ... From: Donald Qualls ... All good stuff, and worth remarking - for the benefit of Our new members in the subject line - that
                        Message 11 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>

                          >>>> the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!

                          All good stuff, and worth remarking - for the benefit of "Our new members"
                          in the subject line - that very little of our traffic is this
                          philosophical.

                          We major in the sheer delight of simple little boats, whether mass produced
                          from printed tinplate or cunningly homemade out of cardboard or balsa wood.


                          My 'Rattanndeep Enterprise' tinplate Titanic fell out of the cupboard today
                          (I caught her before she hit the deck).
                          http://www.angelfire.com/extreme2/rattandeepenterprise/

                          I took a look at her workings. The burner is a 7/8" diameter tinplate tray
                          balanced precariously on the outlet pipes out of reach and out of sight,
                          and very close to the underside of the pop-chamber. So I think it's fair to
                          say that the chances of a successful run As Supplied are vanishingly
                          small - par for the course I suppose ;-)

                          I shall try to sail her in the kiddies' paddling pool in the park while
                          it's too cold for kiddies to paddle, but not cold enough to be drained for
                          the winter. I've got some brand new Wellies (gumboots) in case of
                          emergency!

                          David 1/2d
                          Chartered Mechanical Engineer
                        • brian458666@550access.com
                          ... Yes, and I had a moment of illumination just now as I was loading up my coffee maker...although it does use a check valve, and the older style percolators
                          Message 12 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                            >
                            > There are actually a couple valveless pulse jets that are even closer to
                            > a pop-pop in operation;

                            Yes, and I had a moment of illumination just now as I was loading up my
                            coffee maker...although it does use a check valve, and the older style
                            percolators used a restricted inlet to work.
                            Brian
                          • Donald Qualls
                            ... I ve got a stovetop type percolator that has a very broad, flat funnel covering the base and feeding into the vertical pipe, with liquid flow under the
                            Message 13 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                              brian458666@... wrote:
                              >
                              >> There are actually a couple valveless pulse jets that are even closer to
                              >> a pop-pop in operation;
                              >
                              > Yes, and I had a moment of illumination just now as I was loading up my
                              > coffee maker...although it does use a check valve, and the older style
                              > percolators used a restricted inlet to work.
                              > Brian

                              I've got a stovetop type percolator that has a very broad, flat funnel
                              covering the base and feeding into the vertical pipe, with liquid flow
                              under the funnel permitted only through a couple tiny openings or under
                              the edge if a pressure pulse should lift the pipe and basket clear of
                              the pot base. The electric percolator I used to own had a rather tiny
                              boiler chamber, roughly hemispherical, under the base of the pipe, and
                              again a couple small openings to admit liquid. To my eye, they depend
                              on the bulk of liquid in the pot being fairly well below boiling, so it
                              takes a few seconds (even when the pot has begun to perk) for inflowing
                              liquid to boil, after which rising bubbles push liquid out the top of
                              the pipe; as the coffee heats, bubbles push smaller and more frequent
                              slugs of liquid into the dome to drip through the grounds until the pot
                              stops working at all when the liquid is very close to boiling -- just
                              steam comes up the pipe, because the liquid can't fill the working
                              chamber, much less the pipe, before it boils.

                              An automatic drip coffee machine (a la Mr. Coffee) works similarly but
                              with a limited supply of water; mine seems to have an unrestricted
                              intake from the tank, and depends on the temperature of the water supply
                              to regulate the rate of boiling, which in turn regulates the temperature
                              of the water that gets poured into the grounds basket. It's a little
                              topsy-turvy, though; start with water that's too warm and you'll get
                              mostly steam and poor flow through the pipe, while starting with icy
                              cold water gives the best coffee because you get good slugs of water and
                              they heat up just right before the hot spot boils and pushes them
                              through. This pot, however (mine's a Melitta), seems to depend strongly
                              on the inertia of water in the tank as well as on heating most strongly
                              near the intake to produce a useful pumping action. I didn't see
                              anything I could identify as a check valve when I had it apart for
                              cleaning after a period of disuse...

                              --
                              If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                              it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

                              Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

                              Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                              and don't expect them to be perfect.
                            • brian458666@550access.com
                              ... Yes, I had completely forgotten about the stovetop variety and was going with the electric ones only. Most of the electric percolators used a small boiler
                              Message 14 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                                Quoting Donald Qualls <silent1@...>:

                                > brian458666@... wrote:
                                > >
                                > >> There are actually a couple valveless pulse jets that are even closer to
                                > >> a pop-pop in operation;
                                > >
                                > > Yes, and I had a moment of illumination just now as I was loading up
                                > my
                                > > coffee maker...although it does use a check valve, and the older style
                                > > percolators used a restricted inlet to work.
                                > > Brian
                                >
                                > I've got a stovetop type percolator that has a very broad, flat funnel
                                > covering the base and feeding into the vertical pipe, with liquid flow
                                > under the funnel permitted only through a couple tiny openings or under
                                > the edge if a pressure pulse should lift the pipe and basket clear of
                                > the pot base. The electric percolator I used to own had a rather tiny
                                > boiler chamber, roughly hemispherical, under the base of the pipe, and
                                > again a couple small openings to admit liquid. To my eye, they depend
                                > on the bulk of liquid in the pot being fairly well below boiling, so it
                                > takes a few seconds (even when the pot has begun to perk) for inflowing
                                > liquid to boil, after which rising bubbles push liquid out the top of
                                > the pipe; as the coffee heats, bubbles push smaller and more frequent
                                > slugs of liquid into the dome to drip through the grounds until the pot
                                > stops working at all when the liquid is very close to boiling -- just
                                > steam comes up the pipe, because the liquid can't fill the working
                                > chamber, much less the pipe, before it boils.
                                >
                                > An automatic drip coffee machine (a la Mr. Coffee) works similarly but
                                > with a limited supply of water; mine seems to have an unrestricted
                                > intake from the tank, and depends on the temperature of the water supply
                                > to regulate the rate of boiling, which in turn regulates the temperature
                                > of the water that gets poured into the grounds basket. It's a little
                                > topsy-turvy, though; start with water that's too warm and you'll get
                                > mostly steam and poor flow through the pipe, while starting with icy
                                > cold water gives the best coffee because you get good slugs of water and
                                > they heat up just right before the hot spot boils and pushes them
                                > through. This pot, however (mine's a Melitta), seems to depend strongly
                                > on the inertia of water in the tank as well as on heating most strongly
                                > near the intake to produce a useful pumping action. I didn't see
                                > anything I could identify as a check valve when I had it apart for
                                > cleaning after a period of disuse...

                                Yes, I had completely forgotten about the stovetop variety and was going
                                with the electric ones only. Most of the electric percolators used a small
                                boiler of under an inch in diameter that was at the very bottom of the pot. I
                                haven't seen or used one of those in many years and further details are elusive
                                now, and my Mr. Coffee type devices get a lot of use. It seems that each
                                manufacturer incorporates their own flaws so my standard backup is a french
                                press. But all of mine have check valves molded into the bottom of the
                                reservoir.
                                Brian
                              • Donald Qualls
                                ... I ll have to go look at mine; I couldn t get some pieces apart (they seem to be assembled with one-time latch-in parts, you d break them before they d
                                Message 15 of 17 , Dec 1, 2007
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                                  brian458666@... wrote:

                                  > It seems that each
                                  > manufacturer incorporates their own flaws so my standard backup is a french
                                  > press. But all of mine have check valves molded into the bottom of the
                                  > reservoir.

                                  I'll have to go look at mine; I couldn't get some pieces apart (they
                                  seem to be assembled with one-time latch-in parts, you'd break them
                                  before they'd fully disassemble), so it's very possible it has a check
                                  valve I missed. That would make a lot more sense in terms of avoiding
                                  bubbling back up through the tank, and it would only need a small
                                  plastic ball trapped in the joint between two pieces.

                                  --
                                  If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                                  it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

                                  Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

                                  Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                                  and don't expect them to be perfect.
                                • Double Diamonds
                                  i was also looking into the possibility of using pulse-jet designs to improve on putt-putt engine work and was considering that it might allow for a faster
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Jul 26, 2013
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                                    i was also looking into the possibility of using pulse-jet designs to improve on putt-putt engine work and was considering that it might allow for a faster engine cycle and quiet running from the lack of a diafram might allow more speed

                                    --- In pop-pop-steamboats@yahoogroups.com, Donald Qualls <silent1@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > David Halfpenny wrote:
                                    > > ----- Original Message -----
                                    > > From: "Donald Qualls" <silent1@...>
                                    > >
                                    > >>> There: the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering on a postcard!
                                    > >> Well, at least as it stood ca. 1900, when internal combustion wasn't yet
                                    > >> a major player in the prime mover game.
                                    > >
                                    > > OK then: An Infernal Confusion engine:
                                    > > - compresses a lump of air,
                                    > > - heats it up a lot
                                    > > - expands it (providing a power stroke)
                                    > > - lets it escape along with the products of combusion (which may also
                                    > > provide a reaction thrust)
                                    >
                                    > Of course, this cycle, like the Rankine, can be used either in "batch"
                                    > mode or in "continuous" mode. Common piston, rotary, and pulse-jet
                                    > engines operate in pulsed or "batch" mode, where a discrete "lump" of
                                    > working fluid goes through the entire cycle independent of other
                                    > charges, while ramjets, turbojets and turbofans and at least one variant
                                    > piston engine (an internal combustion version of an elbow engine)
                                    > operate in continuous mode, where all parts of the cycle operate on a
                                    > flowing stream of working fluid (rather like the difference between pot
                                    > distillation and a distillation column, or lab synthesis vs. an
                                    > industrial process).
                                    >
                                    > > The one closest to the pop-pop is the pulse-jet or doodelbug engine, which
                                    > > also uses an oscillating column of fluid in a backwards-pointing tube. (My
                                    > > parents weren't very fond of these as they were married in London in August
                                    > > 1944.) In this case, the resonant pressure wave opens and closes the air
                                    > > inlet valve, sucks in and atomises the liquid fuel and compresses the
                                    > > ingested air. Ignition is usually by contact between the explosive mixture
                                    > > and the hot walls of the combustion chamber.
                                    > > The result is very simple and powerful model boat engine that is several
                                    > > decibels noisier than a pop-pop
                                    >
                                    > The classic valved pulsejet actually has a front intake and almost
                                    > entirely one-way flow, and model airplane versions have a venturi
                                    > carburetor built into the intake at the forward end (the German design,
                                    > too large to work well with a flat reed valve, incorporated the fuel
                                    > delivery into the grid that held the valves, so didn't as much resemble
                                    > a simple venturi carburetor).
                                    >
                                    > There are actually a couple valveless pulse jets that are even closer to
                                    > a pop-pop in operation; all compression and flow control is due to
                                    > pressure pulses in resonance with the pipe, and both pipe openings face
                                    > backward and produce thrust (though the designs I've seen have them
                                    > different lengths and the overall flow is from the shorter pipe to the
                                    > longer; there has to be some directional flow to keep drawing in fresh
                                    > air and fuel and removing combustion products, of course, but it could
                                    > be worth testing to see if this would be the case with our kind of
                                    > pop-pop, since tuning the tubes to product directional flow has the
                                    > potential to greatly increase the efficiency of the engine). The
                                    > resonance frequency in these, in hobbyist scales, tends to be in the
                                    > mid-upper audible range, leading them to produce a very distinctive
                                    > screaming sound in addition to the usual loud roar of any jet exhaust.
                                    >
                                    > > David 1/2d
                                    > >
                                    > > There are one or two additional details, but the core science behind post
                                    > > mediaeval Mechanical Engineering isn't mechanics, or mechanisms, or
                                    > > materials, important as they all are: it's thermodynamics.
                                    >
                                    > Yep, pretty much anything invented since James Watt improved the pumping
                                    > engine at the mine where he worked (by inventing, out of laziness, an
                                    > automatic valve gear to replace the continuous attention of a boy)
                                    > depends on thermodynamics, at least until you start getting into
                                    > practical electricity in the late 19th century. At that point,
                                    > Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism become the important ones...
                                    >
                                    > --
                                    > If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
                                    > it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.
                                    >
                                    > Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com
                                    >
                                    > Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
                                    > and don't expect them to be perfect.
                                    >
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