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Reciprocating Steam Turns 300

[+] Author Affiliations
Matthew A. Carr

United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Paper No. IMECE2011-63806, pp. 249-258; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2011-63806
From:
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Engineering Education and Professional Development
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5491-4

abstract

The year 2012 marks the 300th anniversary of the first successful reciprocating steam engine, which was built by Thomas Newcomen of Dartmouth, England to dewater a coal mine near Tipton, West Midlands, England. With over 1400 built during the 18th Century, Newcomen engines enabled the Industrial Revolution. This paper: (1) commemorates this achievement through an overview of the development of this remarkable machine; (2) describes the operation of the Newcomen steam engine; and, (3) provides modern thermo-fluids analyses using authentic historical data of the Westfield Engine at Parkgate, an engine that was constructed in 1823 and dismantled in 1934. The overarching goal of this paper is to encourage teaching about this fascinating historical technology in today’s classrooms by providing the background knowledge and pertinent calculations for integration into current thermo-fluids courses.

Topics: Steam

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