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Discussion Starter #1
So, I just thought I'd mention a project I'm helping with.

My brother is building a waste oil fired V8 steam engine. Imagine a waste oil fired boiler, a throttle body between the boiler and the engine, and a V8 engine with a special dual-lobe camshaft that essentially turns it into 2-stroke steam engine. Intake valve opens just past TDC, exhaust valve opens just past BDC.

The boiler is a small, hot forced air burner powered by waste oil and the water is injected into it on demand to produce steam. The burner design is not unlike the waste oil shop stoves that have been discussed here before. The waste oil is also injected to it on demand. It's controlled electronically. He's building the mechanicals. I'm building the electronic control system for it.

Nuts?

We'll see. Will be fun anyway, and if it runs...free to run.
 
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Sounds interesting post some pic's !!

What kind of engine internals do you intend to use?

Need to watch condensate return and chemistry of the feed water.
 

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Tangentially fired boiler?

What do you mean controls? That what I do for a living. I would like some details. Sounds cool!
 

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x2 that dfree383. To make it last any time you have to maintain the chemistry of the feed water. I was a Boiler Tech on a Destroyer Escort during my time with the Navy. One of my duties when I worked with our Oil King was running all the test on the boiler water and fuel transfer.

pH
Hardness
Oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration
Silicates
Dissolved solids
Suspended solids
Concentration organics
 

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Doesn't sound like he is talking about a closed cycle system (condenser, condesate, etc), therefore the steam/water quality is not "as" important, but still needs to be somewhat clean.
 
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It will be a Rust Ball / Wear Nightmare with regular engine parts.

+ posibilities of hydro locking due to the position of the cylinders.

+ Problem being a pressurized / closed lubrication system integral with the cylinders and no where for blowby steam to go but in the oil.

It should work but is going to have some longevity issues and a bunch of weird fixes for problems your going to run into.
 

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I would bet that they have already though of most of this and are "designing" it accordingly. That is the big part of designing/engineering something new- you can't just always treat it like something you already know or are familiar with.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The first version...

The first version of the mill is a junk engine. The only part we're spending money on is the cam, which hopefully won't rust :)

I'll take pictures when it looks like anything. Right now it's not much to look at, and we're a ways away from getting the boiler and control (water injector, oil injector, temperature feedback) working. That's the only brains in this design...the rest is basically disposable junk. If the motor rusts up and turns to crap in a few hundred hours, it's not going to bother us much.

We're just a couple of motor heads wanting to do something weird...it will accomplish that much at least.

One of the thoughts regarding the water contamination of the oil was to burn it. Use the oil pump in the engine as the delivery pump for the burner...and consume the oil in the pan as the fuel for the burner, and replace it with new filtered waste oil. The oil would continuously be exchanged that way, and there shouldn't be a significant buildup of water in the oil as long as the burn rate is reasonable and the capacity isn't too big. Crazy idea, but I think it'd work fine...maybe not live forever since we're lubricating the engine with waste oil; but I don't think we care much at this point. Bearing life is the least of our worries. :)

B
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Water chemistry

So considering that this is a waste-water steam engine, do I still have to be concerned about water chemistry? The steam is basically wet compressed air that is being used to push pistons down the bore. During the exhaust stroke is just to blow the steam overboard into the atmosphere. This thing will consume a significant amount of water to function. No recovery at this stage.

I guess I'll answer this question through experimentation because we're going to feed this thing whatever water we feel like. I'm certainly not going to bring in a tanker full of deionized water. :)

And, does anyone have a feeling for how much water we'll be consuming? I'm not at all confident with my napkin math, but if it's right, it's on the order of a gallon a minute at 3000rpm, and I think that was assuming 300psi...which was the very least I thought we'd need to make the thing do anything interesting.
 

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water filters today can get you past that issue. come time for the big buck build , coating can solve rust problems, nikasel (spell ck) for cylinder walls, along with a case vacuum system. plus a extra hour to warm up???? don't think 1 gal/min is correct, old railroad engine info might help on that one
 

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I think it would be easier to calculate the water amount using a mass flow rate like pounds/hour instead of a volumetric flow rate.
 
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Like Kosler Said you need to figure the Capacity of your boiler first, how much heat (BTU's) it will consume and Lbs per Hour of steam it will produce, they you can figure water consumption.

Watch your pressures and make sure you have quality safety blow-off valves in place.

It would be handy to be able to recover the condensate, and reuse it if possible, but you could do that later once you figure out how to get things working.

It be interesting to put everything on roller bearings and grease them instead of pressurized oil lubrication. Just a thought if the once thru system doesnt work. (I'm thinking you flow thru the oil pump is going to be way greater than your consumption in the boiler)
 

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This is very interesting. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel as far as the engine. Since steam engine been around for more than 200 years, there is tons of engineering knowledge out there. Like the Stanley steam car of the 20s, the problem wasn’t the engine, but boiler design. With modern technology, much can be done with new improved “boilers”. Waste oil would be good, but I would also look into gasoline fueled computer controlled on demand steam generator/boiler. Common fuel injectors could be used to computer control fuel into a boiler with air intake control with typical throttle bodies. I think the miles per gallon of gas would be way higher, due to more efficient use of the energy(heat) generated and then converted to steam. What is cool about a steam engine is that high torque can be generated at zero RPM.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the ideas.

Thanks for all the ideas guys.

I'm definitely not going to do a gasoline fired engine; the whole point of this is free energy from waste oil.

I am going to use injection techniques for both the oil and the water, and we're going to make the boiler (more like a flash steam generator) small as well.

Version 1 is going to be extremely far from optimal. If the crank moves at all, I'm going to be ecstatic.

The steam generator will be an iterative design. There are too many unknowns to try to guess at BTU math...we'll try something and if it doesn't work, we'll try something else.
 

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...we'll try something and if it doesn't work, we'll try something else.
thats kinda how I work... If it doesn't work the first time, just grab another beer and try again :D
 
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If anything else you have a good time working on something with your Bro !!! And maybe learn something new !!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yep

Life is all about time; and how much fun you have spending it. This will be a great time no matter what. I want to be there the first time we drive this old rust bucket truck powered by the steam engine into town for lunch. It's going to be like the Clampetts, MC Escher, Dr. Emmet Brown, and Dr. Seuss got together and made up a new sweet ride.
 

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Steampunk, literally! :)

I'd like to hear a little more about the dual lobe cam....sounds like the old desmodromic concept, so far as the general lobe shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
OK...

Well, the idea is instead of Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow, we'll Suck Blow Suck Blow. Since that sounds dirty and I don't want to excite Lem too much, I'll rephrase it.

Intake valve begins to open at TDC and closes it before it reaches BDC.
-as it opens, hot steam rushes in and pushes the piston down.

Exhaust valve opens at BDC and closes before it reaches TDC.
-exhaust opens as piston travels upward and charge is wasted out the exhaust

I don't know what to do with the spark plug hole...put a cork in it I guess. How about 8 kazoos?

To save money, we're going to use a regular cam and just sprocket it so it runs at crankshaft speed. That'll have the same effect, and since this thing is going to be a low rpm deal anyway...I'm not worried about it. I'm going to take a junk timing set and cut down the cam sprocket, turning it into a hub for another crank sprocket. We'll just weld it together if necessary. As for the chain, we're going to use the chop it down and hope it fits approach. We may need an idler. And, we'll have to remember the valvetrain rpm just doubled for any given crank rpm so we don't send things flying. No such thing as a limiter in this design, right? LOL

Looks like the donor motor is going to be a 280K mile 5.0L with a crack in the block by one of the head bolt holes.

BTW, did you know that big steam pressure relief valves are damned expensive? I think I'm going to build my own using junk car parts.

We're talking about putting the steam generator right on top of the engine now...to simplify the pressure plumbing. 300psi through big tubes is a bit hazardous.

This thing is going to look dangerous. It'll be basically what looks like a glowing red heavily smoking propane tank strapped to the top of an engine with steam pouring out of everywhere. LOL!! I can't wait to see the public reaction. Two words; smog exempt.
 

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novel idea, have ear plugs on hand, high pressure steam leaks have a shrill all their own.

so you're going to pressurize the intake to 300# . . .stay far away. i have no idea if a cast aluminum or iron intake will hold that pressure. That is of course if you find an intake gasket that will.

also your valves and especially the seats are not going to last any time at all. you will be letting down steam across these points. this will have a very high rate of "errosion". but for a limited time with the right amount of tinkering it could be made to work.

one more thought, it will probably fill the cylinders with water after a period of time as this is going to be saturated steam, not superheated. Therefore when you lose pressure across the valves some water will fall out and have no good way out as the steam is essentially filling a "dead leg" since the valves are on top.

be carefull, 300# is a hell of a lot of pressure to be making in a backyard boiler. just remember, it is actually lbs per squar inch. if the vessel is 2 ft long and 1 ft in diameter for instance, this puts about 275,000 total lbs of pressure in it.
 
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