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Internal Combustion

I am a licensed Chief Engineer of Steam and Diesel power plants, unlimited horsepower. I’m writing a book about power plant operation and maintenance. I looked over your Design for converting an engine into a steam engine and think I might have some useful thoughts on the subject.

First, your use of an internal combustion engine really interests me. I see your concern with figuring out intake valving and distribution. Actually the incoming steam pressure should be high enough that you could probably screw some kind of piping right into the sparkplug hole. As for exhausting the expanded gas, the larger the valves the better. you don't want to recompress the steam trying to get rid of it. Way back in the early 1900's when generators first were introduced to ships, the generators and main propulsion engines were strictly reciprocal engines. Maybe you can find some old steam ship info that would help.

Meanwhile I was thinking about 2-cycle outboard engines, what we call uniflow engines. They have ports at the bottom of the cylinders to exhaust the gases instead of valves in the head. As the piston moves down in the cylinder it passes these ports and allows the expanding gasses to leave the cylinder directly to atmosphere. If you were to screw a steam line into the existing sparkplug hole and attach a simple valve actuating timing system directly to the flywheel on top of the outboard engine, it might work. Of course you would have to disable the original intake valves as you showed in your drawings by grinding off the cams. As for starting it, you might have to use the old rope start. And timing would be a function of trial and error, but the flywheel is a nice big rotating chunk of steel, suitable to work off. And it has the advantage of being directly coupled to the engine for timing purposes. A nice old two cylinder Merc of about 25 horsepower would be a good place to start. I'd stay away from Aluminum casings.

Offered by Gary.