steam engine, device for convert heat power into mechanical energy using steam as a medium, or working fluid. When water is converted into heavy steam it expands, its volume increasing about 1,600 times. The force produced by the counter is the basis of all vapor engines. Vapor engines run by having actually superheated heavy steam force a piston come reciprocate, or move earlier and forth, in a cylinder. The piston is attached by a connecting rod come a crankshaft the converts the back-and-forth movement of the piston to rotary movement for steering machinery. A flywheel attached to the crankshaft makes the rotary activity smooth and also steady. The typical steam engine has actually an inlet valve in ~ each finish of the cylinder. Heavy steam is admitted with one inlet valve, forcing the piston to relocate to the other finish of the cylinder. This vapor then exits with an exhaust valve. Steam from the various other inlet valve climate pushes the piston ago to its original position, and also the bike starts again. In a single-cylinder heavy steam engine the exhaust steam is usually expelled straight into the atmosphere. A compounded heavy steam engine has actually several cylinders, i beg your pardon the steam passes with successively until, leave the critical cylinder, that is condensed into water and also returned come the boiler. Native the Greek inventor Heron that Alexandria come the Englishmen cutting board Newcomen and also John Cawley, plenty of persons added to the occupational of harnessing steam. However, James Watt"s heavy steam engine, patented in 1769, provided the very first practical solution. Previously engines depended on atmospheric push to push the piston right into the cylinder, whereby a vacuum was created by sudden cooling that its steam content. Watt"s use of a separate condenser caused a 75% saving in fuel. It also made possible the usage of steam pressure to move the piston in both directions. Watt"s continuing efforts produced a governor, a mercury heavy steam gauge, and a crank-flywheel mechanism, every one of which prepared the steam engine for a major role in the commercial Revolution. Sailing vessels gave way to steamboats, and stagecoaches surrendered to rail trains as the steam engine was perfected. Sent by belts, ropes, shafts, pulleys, and also gears, the power from heavy steam engines drove devices in factories and mills. Now, however, heavy steam engines have been changed in many applications by much more economical and efficient devices, e.g., the heavy steam turbine, the electrical motor, and the internal-combustion engine, consisting of the diesel engine. They space still sufficiently economical come be used in markets where vapor is essential for some objective in enhancement to the of steering an engine.

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See C. W. Pursell, at an early stage Stationary heavy steam Engines in America (1969); E. Robinson, James Watt and also the Steam revolution (1969); see additionally bibliography under locomotive.

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