The slide valve is a rectilinear valve used to control the admission of steam into, and emission of exhaust from, the cylinder of a steam engine.
A rectilinear polygon is a polygon all of whose edge intersections are at right angles. Thus the interior angle at each vertex is either 90° or 270°. Rectilinear polygons are a special case of isothetic polygons.
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category. In an open valve, fluid flows in a direction from higher pressure to lower pressure. The word is derived from the Latin valva, the moving part of a door, in turn from volvere, to turn, roll.
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside a cylinder. This pushing force is transformed, by a connecting rod and flywheel, into rotational force for work. The term "steam engine" is generally applied only to reciprocating engines as just described, not to the steam turbine.
In the 19th century, most steam locomotives used slide valves to control the flow of steam into and out of the cylinders. In the 20th century, slide valves were gradually superseded by piston valves, particularly in engines using superheated steam. There were two reasons for this:
Piston valves are one form of valve used to control the flow of steam within a steam engine or locomotive. They control the admission of steam into the cylinders and its subsequent exhausting, enabling a locomotive to move under its own power. The valve consists of two piston heads on a common spindle moving inside a steam chest, which is essentially a mini-cylinder located either above or below the main cylinders of the locomotive.
A superheater is a device used to convert saturated steam or wet steam into superheated steam or dry steam. Superheated steam is used in steam turbines for electricity generation, steam engines, and in processes such as steam reforming. There are three types of superheaters: radiant, convection, and separately fired. A superheater can vary in size from a few tens of feet to several hundred feet.
Lubrication is the process or technique of using a lubricant to reduce friction and/or wear in a contact between two surfaces. The study of lubrication is a discipline in the field of tribology.
The D slide valve, or more specifically Long D slide valve, is a form of slide valve, invented by William Murdoch and patented in 1799. It is named after the hollow central D-sectioned piston.
William Murdoch was a Scottish engineer and inventor.
This valve worked by "connecting the upper and lower valves so as to be worked by one rod or spindle, and in making the stem or tube which connects them hollow, so as to serve for an induction pipe to the upper end of the cylinder." This allowed two valves to do the work of four.
The above description (referring to upper and lower valves) clearly relates to an engine with a vertical cylinder, such as a beam engine. Where the cylinders are horizontal, as in a steam locomotive, the valves would be side-by-side.
A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall. The efficiency of the engines was improved by engineers including James Watt who added a separate condenser, Jonathan Hornblower and Arthur Woolf who compounded the cylinders, and William McNaught (Glasgow) who devised a method of compounding an existing engine. Beam engines were first used to pump water out of mines or into canals, but could be used to pump water to supplement the flow for a waterwheel powering a mill.
A steam locomotive is a type of railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material – usually coal, wood, or oil – to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels (drivers). Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons (tenders) pulled behind.
The balanced slide valve was invented by the Scottish engineer Alexander Allan. It was not much used in the UK but, at one time, had great popularity in the United States. It gave some of the advantages of a piston valve to a slide valve by relieving the pressure on the back of the valve, thus reducing friction and wear.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
Alexander Allan was a Scottish mechanical engineer. He was born at Montrose, Angus, in 1809 and died at Scarborough, Yorkshire on 2 June 1891.
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A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is typically a heat engine that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion. This article describes the common features of all types. The main types are: the internal combustion engine, used extensively in motor vehicles; the steam engine, the mainstay of the Industrial Revolution; and the niche application Stirling engine. Internal combustion engines are further classified in two ways: either a spark-ignition (SI) engine, where the spark plug initiates the combustion; or a compression-ignition (CI) engine, where the air within the cylinder is compressed, thus heating it, so that the heated air ignites fuel that is injected then or earlier.
A poppet valve is a valve typically used to control the timing and quantity of gas or vapour flow into an engine.
The valve gear of a steam engine is the mechanism that operates the inlet and exhaust valves to admit steam into the cylinder and allow exhaust steam to escape, respectively, at the correct points in the cycle. It can also serve as a reversing gear. It is sometimes referred to as the "motion".
This is a glossary of the components found on typical steam locomotives.
A compound steam engine unit is a type of steam engine where steam is expanded in two or more stages. A typical arrangement for a compound engine is that the steam is first expanded in a high-pressure (HP) cylinder, then having given up heat and losing pressure, it exhausts directly into one or more larger-volume low-pressure (LP) cylinders. Multiple-expansion engines employ additional cylinders, of progressively lower pressure, to extract further energy from the steam.
The Walschaerts valve gear is a type of valve gear invented by Belgian railway mechanical engineer Egide Walschaerts in 1844 used to regulate the flow of steam to the pistons in steam engines. The gear is sometimes named without the final "s", since it was incorrectly patented under that name. It was extensively used in steam locomotives from the late 19th century until the end of the steam era.
In a piston engine, a piston rod joins a piston to the crosshead and thus to the connecting rod that drives the crankshaft or the driving wheels.
The cylinder is the power-producing element of the steam engine powering a steam locomotive. The cylinder is made pressure-tight with end covers and a piston; a valve distributes the steam to the ends of the cylinder. Cylinders were cast in cast iron and later in steel. The cylinder casting includes other features such as valve ports and mounting feet. The last big American locomotives incorporated the cylinders as part of huge one-piece steel castings that were the main frame of the locomotive. Renewable wearing surfaces were needed inside the cylinders and provided by cast-iron bushings.
An expansion valve is a device in steam engine valve gear that improves engine efficiency. It operates by closing off the supply of steam early, before the piston has travelled through its full stroke. This cut-off allows the steam to then expand within the cylinder. This expanding steam is still sufficient to drive the piston, even though its pressure decreases as it expands. As less steam is supplied in the shorter time for which the valve is open, use of the expansion valve reduces the steam consumed and thus the fuel required. The engine may deliver two-thirds of the work, for only one-third of the steam.
The steam locomotive class kkStB 429 was a class of passenger locomotive operated by the Imperial Austrian State Railways, kkStB.
The Vauclain compound was a type of compound steam locomotive that was briefly popular around 1900. Developed at the Baldwin Locomotive Works, it featured two pistons moving in parallel, driving a common crosshead and controlled by a common valve gear using a single, complex piston valve.
The double-beat valve, drop valve or equilibrium valve is a type of poppet valve arranged to allow it to be opened against a high pressure with a minimum of force. One of its uses is in steam engines to admit steam to the cylinders and to release the exhaust. In stationary steam engines it is usually operated by trip valve gear while in railway locomotives a valve gear such as Caprotti is used.
The South African Railways Class 8A 4-8-0 of 1902 was a steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in Transvaal.
The South African Railways Class 6L 4-6-0 of 1904 was a steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope.
High-speed steam engines were one of the final developments of the stationary steam engine. They ran at a high speed, of several hundred rpm, which was needed by tasks such as electricity generation.
The Willans engine or central valve engine was a high-speed stationary steam engine used for electricity generation around the start of the 20th century.