A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.
Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be used. Water is heated into steam in a boiler until it reaches a high pressure. When expanded through pistons or turbines, mechanical work is done. The reduced-pressure steam is then released into the atmosphere or condensed and pumped back into the boiler. The ideal thermodynamic cycle used to analyze this process is called the Rankine cycle. Most mobile steam engines and some smaller stationary engines discard the low-pressure steam instead of condensing it for reuse.
The idea of using boiling water to produce mechanical motion has a very long history, going back about 2,000 years. Early devices were not practical power producers, but more advanced designs producing usable power have become a major source of mechanical power over the last 300 years, beginning with applications for removing water from mines using vacuum engines. Subsequent developments used pressurized steam and converted linear to rotational motion which enabled the powering of a wide range of manufacturing machinery. These engines could be sited anywhere that water and coal or wood fuel could be obtained, whereas previous installations were limited to locations where water wheels or windmills could be used. Significantly, this power source would later be applied to vehicles such as steam tractors and railway locomotives. The steam engine was a critical component of the Industrial Revolution, providing the prime mover for modern mass-production manufacturing methods. Modern steam turbines generate about 90% of the electric power in the United States using a variety of heat sources.
In general usage, the term steam engine can refer to either the integrated steam plants (including boilers etc.) such as railway steam locomotives and portable engines, or may refer to the piston or turbine machinery alone, as in the beam engine and stationary steam engine. Specialized devices such as steam hammers and steam pile drivers are dependent on steam supplied from a separate boiler. In this article purely for clarity we refer to the whole plant as 'steam engine' and pistons and turbines as the 'motor unit'.
Other articles related to "steam engines, engine, steam engine, steam, engines":
1804 to assist with the installation of four steam engines that were ordered from Sweden, intended for industrial use, that had been sold by the company Fenton ... The first engine was installed in the autumn 1804 in a textile factory at Lidingö outside Stockholm to replace horses that were used to drive the machines in the factory ... asked once again in 1806 to come back to help in setting up another engine ...
... Main article Advanced steam technology Although the reciprocating steam engine is no longer in widespread commercial use, various companies are exploring or exploiting the potential of the engine ... made progress in using modern materials for harnessing the power of steam ... The efficiency of Energiprojekt's steam engine reaches some 27-30% on high-pressure engines ...
... Former engineering company based in Grantham Aveling and Porter - Steam rollers (became Aveling-Barford) Autocast - non-ferrous foundry in Bourne, supplying casings to ... Blackstone Co - Blacksmiths early engine manufacturer BMARC - Former armaments designers and manufacture British Racing Motors (BRM) - Racing cars Lister-Bl ... - Former Steam engine tractor manufacturer Priestman Brothers - Crane excavator builders Rinovia Steam Fishing Company Ltd ...
... Roller mills of 4½ sack capacity were installed c.1893 as was a boiler and steam engine, principally to drive the roller mills whilst the waterwheel drove the stones ... The steam engine was a beam engine, it was eventually sold to a buyer in the USA ... This received a drive from the steam engine so that the mill could be driven that way if necessary ...
... A horizontal two-cylinder single expansion steam engine powered the ship ... The boilers supplied steam to the engine at 2 standard atmospheres (200 kPa) ... rig with a surface area of 1,980 square meters supplemented the steam engine ...
Famous quotes containing the words engine and/or steam:
“The machine unmakes the man. Now that the machine is perfect, the engineer is nobody. Every new step in improving the engine restricts one more act of the engineer,unteaches him.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Clean the spittoons.
The steam in hotel kitchens,
And the smoke in hotel lobbies,
And the slime in hotel spittoons:
Part of my life.”
—Langston Hughes (19021967)