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Light,Smoke and Sound for a Fictional Atomic Locomotive

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Posted by TractionAction1700 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 9:35 AM

Overmod

Plant noises for the reactor would be comparable to a small submarine installation (Soviet for liquid-metal/NaK, American for pressurized-water).  Again most of this is fairly steady-state pump noise with occasional valve actuations.  If you get to the point something is actually going wrong, as at TMI with the steam bubbles shaking the control room as they go through the recirculating feed pumps... you're in much more trouble than that old O-scale 'failing F unit' you could buy, and you get quickly into the realm of theatre rather than engineering with the subsequent lights and effects.   

 

I like the idea of variable speed condenser fans, I plan on using a loksound decoder for this project as the lokprogrammer gives a lot more freedom than the Digitrax PR4, I still better check that I can do a steam sound project with a constant variable fan loop. I been using a program called Audacity to make most of my sound files. I currently have an alarm replacing the bell as I figured a locomotive as expensive (and dangerous) should have a distinctive bell. Along with a quiet reactor “hum” and 2 fun little automated announcements I made to sound like a crude voice synthesize. One reporting “excessive radiation in condenser unit 2” and another alerting the “condenser at 87%”

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 7:07 AM

TractionAction1700
Did my pictures load correctly?

Yes, I see them.

I guess I should've paid closer attention, you all ready have the condensers. Smile, Wink & Grin

My bad.

Maybe you could use the vap thing coming off the condensers.

Mike.

 

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Posted by TractionAction1700 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:44 PM

Did my pictures load correctly? I had some issues with them before, using google photos. Anyway, The locomotive is using a standard 2-8-0 with a vault sealing the exhaust, a reactor in a tender with a condenser behind. the reactor heats a heat exchanger which then boils the water into steam in the locomotive up front.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 6:51 PM

You need to decide what the 'cycle' to produce atomic power for rail use is going to be.  Since the 'locomotive' retains pistons, you're looking at an indirect steam cycle.  Here the reactor coolant is in a continuous closed loop (water under pressure, sodium/NaK or similar light metal, helium gas, etc.) and it transfers its heat to water to make (and sometimes superheat) steam which is then used in pistons.  (Or turbines, but your engine has cylinders... one of the Swedish SGOJ turbine prototypes from the Thirties would work nicely as a turbine in this application)

The steam in the secondary loop is (intentionally) only slightly radioactive, and could be discharged to atmosphere (simulated by smoke generator) except that you have to remember something very important about 'atomic' power generation.  When you shut down, or 'scram' the reactor, although the primary fission shuts down, the decay chain of 'daughters' does not, and there is a considerable afterheat (which has to be effectively dissipated through heat exchange) whether or not the fuel is contained in some kind of core elements or is dispersed in the primary coolant.  The 'closed' condensing secondary loop provides this, and since you already have a substantial condenser in your design, it would make sense to use this for the purpose.

Now, the amount of actual condensing capacity in the 'tender' as built appears to be limited.  Look at the Henschel tender on the aforementioned South African class 25s to get some idea of the panel surface and fan/pump capacity needed for prompt condensation combined with fast ability to accommodate mass-flow changes.  (These will be less severe on an atomic locomotive due to the necessity of handling afterheat, but you will still want considerable redundancy against both climatic extreme or mechanical failure...Or Else!

My further recommendation is that you look at the later version of the British 'Electro-Turbo-Loco' from the 1920s (it's described in the Douglas Self bestiary of implausibly nonsensical steam) which uses additional water (unfiltered, untreated for pH and oxygenated if necessary, so cheaper than boiler feedwater) sprayed over the outside of the condensing elements for radically improved cooling.  Here a couple of tank cars filled with the local equivalent of greywater would do just fine, and provide a rich 'target environment' for all the steam effect you could want.  (Just be aware that the condenser vaporized 'steam' would NEVER be green or glow in the dark!)

 

Sound is not going to be too much fun, I fear.  If you look up YouTube for the class 25s, these very large and capable 4-8-4s when starting at long cutoff produced no particularly audible cylinder noise at all, let alone heroic 'chuff'.  They did have considerable fan noise from the smokebox draft arrangement ... but your locomotive neither needs nor would have such a thing, even if the ACE 3000 thought it needed one for 'emergencies'.

Lots of variable-speed fan noise from the condenser tender, combined with some splashing and gurgles from the water spray system and drains/recirculation for the portion of spray that does not promptly evaporate.  

Plant noises for the reactor would be comparable to a small submarine installation (Soviet for liquid-metal/NaK, American for pressurized-water).  Again most of this is fairly steady-state pump noise with occasional valve actuations.  If you get to the point something is actually going wrong, as at TMI with the steam bubbles shaking the control room as they go through the recirculating feed pumps... you're in much more trouble than that old O-scale 'failing F unit' you could buy, and you get quickly into the realm of theatre rather than engineering with the subsequent lights and effects.   

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:29 AM

Somebody in here posted a "whats this?" a while back, and it was a condensing car, I don't remmeber the whole story about it, I haven't tried searching for it.

But anyway, you would still need a water tender to go with.  Not sure if you could fit it all in one long car.

Mike.

PS. just did a quick search and the South Africa car came up first.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:18 AM

mbinsewi
 wjstix
You'd need plenty of water to turn into steam. The exhaust would just be white steam up the stack.

 

OR you could pipe it back to a condensing car, sorta of cooling tower on wheels, and reuse.

Mike.

 

 
IIRC the railway down in South Africa experimented with condenser cars back in the 1970's or 80's when they were still running steam. Course you'd still need the water in the first place, to make the steam to condense the water back out of. Wink
Stix
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, January 6, 2020 3:45 PM

Some thoughts:

I've heard of modelers using vaping units as a smoke (vapor) generator.

Google "Micro fog machine" or similar.

Probably the best way to make the smoke green is to have one or more SMD LEDs placed in the outlet of the vapor funnel. You might get several LEDs of various colors, say, green, yellow, amber and mount them in a triangular fashion to get a "custom blend" of colors.

My estimation of the sound would be the "whoosh" sound that Broadway Limited fabricated to use in their PRR S2 turbine.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by garya on Monday, January 6, 2020 3:00 PM

TractionAction1700

Yeah, Thats Right! Throughout Christmas Break i have 3D Printed and wired an atomic locomotive. The concept is a standard 2-8-0 steam locomotive with a reactor and 2 condenser units in place of a tender. It was a fun project and with a custom digitrax decoder and a glowing reactor, im looking for ideas to make it into an even more fun project! I recently purchased a smoke unit and i had an idea to make a system to "leak" green radioactive steam. problem is: how do i make green smoke fluid? any additional details i could add? Here are some photos:Atomic locomotive

Atomic loco reactor glow

 

I like it.

I know I have seen a model of a nuclear locomotives before, but I'm not having luck finding it...in the meantime, there are these links:

https://books.google.com/books?id=bVMEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA78&ots=oNcGmhCvuD&dq=x-12%20locomotive&pg=PA78#v=onepage&q=x-12%20locomotive&f=false

https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-days-of-atomic-locomotives-in-america-1564623650

Gary

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:59 PM

wjstix
You'd need plenty of water to turn into steam. The exhaust would just be white steam up the stack.

OR you could pipe it back to a condensing car, sorta of cooling tower on wheels, and reuse.

Mike.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:16 PM

wjstix

BTW not sure there's a way to use nuclear power directly to run a locomotive. In a nuclear power plant, the nuclear control rods are used to make water boil, which creates steam, which then is used to turn turbines to create electricity. I'd assume a nuclear steam engine would work somewhat similarly? Nuclear fuel turns water into steam, which is fed to the cylinders to drive the engine. You'd need plenty of water to turn into steam. The exhaust would just be white steam up the stack.

Yes to the above.  Could be just like steam engine but using nuclear reaction to generate heat/steam instead of coal.  Sound would be similar to a steam engine.

Or could be steam from above process to gurn a turbine to generate electricity to the traction motor.s

No green smoke - you've been watching too many B movies if you think it should be green!

But if you want your own wierd science fantasy, don't ask us, just do what you want.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, January 6, 2020 11:35 AM

BTW not sure there's a way to use nuclear power directly to run a locomotive. In a nuclear power plant, the nuclear control rods are used to make water boil, which creates steam, which then is used to turn turbines to create electricity. I'd assume a nuclear steam engine would work somewhat similarly? Nuclear fuel turns water into steam, which is fed to the cylinders to drive the engine. You'd need plenty of water to turn into steam. The exhaust would just be white steam up the stack.

Stix
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 3, 2020 2:04 PM

Green smoke is a 'thing' but you need to be careful with the formula you use.  Many of the 'smokes' in the literature are pyrotechnic (which doesn't help you) and some of the dyes that might be soluble in oil-based smoke fluid (like a mix of QID solvent yellow 33 and quinizarine solvent green 3) might subsequently stain surfaces exposed to the 'smoke'.

Everyone's favorite photo store has this product made for fog machines, which might be a useful thing depending on how you care to volatilize or 'distribute' it.

I would venture that green smoke is NOT something that a malfunctioning (or even evilly designed) nuclear locomotive would actually emit, though.  You'd have more fun with white smoke and combination of strobe and LED flashes -- even some of those fake-candle LED bases to gin up a Windscale-style fuel fire.  You could mix aluminum powder with one of those glow-in-the-dark powder bases, and contrive to 'leak' this as primary NaK with some black-light illumination skilfully concealed...

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Light,Smoke and Sound for a Fictional Atomic Locomotive
Posted by TractionAction1700 on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 11:50 AM

Yeah, Thats Right! Throughout Christmas Break i have 3D Printed and wired an atomic locomotive. The concept is a standard 2-8-0 steam locomotive with a reactor and 2 condenser units in place of a tender. It was a fun project and with a custom digitrax decoder and a glowing reactor, im looking for ideas to make it into an even more fun project! I recently purchased a smoke unit and i had an idea to make a system to "leak" green radioactive steam. problem is: how do i make green smoke fluid? any additional details i could add? Here are some photos:Atomic locomotive

Atomic loco reactor glow

Tags: DCC , LED , Sci-fi , smoke

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