Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Anyone ever model a fireless steam locomotive?

8680 views
34 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 13,412 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, October 16, 2020 3:52 PM

rrinker
 Yes, I know they ran on sodium hydroxide.

I know you know, and I remember Fred Westing knowing (but I don't remember him in The Locomotives that Baldwin Built telling exactly how the trick was done.

I still think Perkins gets a gold star for making calcium chloride work...

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,879 posts
Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 8:09 PM

 Theoretically, anything that generats a gas at pressure can be used. Some things are more efficient than others, and some do not generate a gas that causes sudden death, but other than that.... 

 One of the options to electric cars is hydrogen - could try that, too. But even more so than in a car, the integrity of the pressure vessel is critical, at the kind of pressures they are using. Plus gaseous hydrogen in the presence of oxygen is rather flammable, as the passengers and crew of the Hindenberg found out to their extreme detriment.

                                        --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    October 2020
  • 70 posts
Posted by NorthBrit on Saturday, October 17, 2020 4:57 AM

A fireless steam locomotive UK style.     The locomotive is now at the 'Locomotion'  Musum,  Shildon,  County Durham,  England.

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 13,412 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 17, 2020 10:35 AM

rrinker
 Theoretically, anything that generats a gas at pressure can be used.

All these engines are steam engines, pure and simple.  I confess that when I first read Westing's book circa age 12, I thought the 'soda' motor used CO2 (like the old Cox toys with the compressed-gas ampoules made for at-home seltzer and cream-whipping) but that was wrong-o.

If you remember the original Fowler's Ghost, you know that 'heat recovery' by condensing exhaust steam into feedwater is a losing proposition in a comparatively short time: the latent heat of condensation being so great that 1lb of condensing steam raises over 6lb of water to the boiling point from room temperature.  So a better source to stick the exhaust -- condensers using air being bulky and likely needing fan power -- and condense it quickly needed to be found.  The idea is to pass the steam through a chemical that reacts with it... and ideally releases heat in the process.  If you jacket a fireless locomotive 'boiler' with this stuff inside, you can get a triple treat: the water exhaust and its residual heat disappear, the jacket keeps the hotter supercritical water charge hot longer, and by passing the (inherently saturated) throttle steam to the cylinders through the hot material in the jacket you can get up to 40 degrees F of superheat at pressure, which cuts down on wall and nucleate condensation just as in fired engines.

Then you can use any applicable heat source to 'boil off' the water from the jacket material -- slowly if necessary -- to reuse it.  (It was this part of the process that made early commercial 'soda motors', like the Perkins design earlier, uneconomical ... and of course the introduction of practical electric trolleys 'subsidized' by developing utility companies, and then development of practical-scale gas engines, put the final kibosh on the idea for street transit or subway use...

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,194 posts
Posted by snjroy on Monday, October 19, 2020 2:06 PM

Since someone revived this thread my answer to the original question is YES.

For fun, I purchased this fireless locomotive (a European Liliput model) and converted it for the North American context. For some reason, Europeans put the pistons near the cab for their prototypes. So, I managed to reverse the pistons on this Lilliput engine that I found on Ebay, and converted it to DCC with an LED headlight. I  also shaved the wheels a bit to make it work properly on our North American rails... Did that with my  Dremel with the engine turning upside down. I tried a needle file but that would have taken forever. I gave her a new color and did a bit of weathering. I painted the engine with Vallejo acrylic paint. The first coat did not stick to anything, so I used Vallejo acrylic primer for my second try. That seemed to work.

Simon

 0-4-0 fireless_0004_zpsvfwofwpt  on Flickr

 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!