« Innovation Articles
Hybrid Diesel-Steam Engine
Hybrid Diesel-Steam Engine
This engine is not a conventional diesel engine converted to use water as a fuel. Rather, it combines key elements of diesel engines, steam engines, and Stirling engines. This hybrid diesel-steam engine would significantly lead the U.S. to energy independence.
This engine is based upon three well-known facts of physics:
1)—Finely atomized water, injected into a piston engine’s hot cylinders, will explosively expand when injected in 1/2,000th of a second into those cylinders1, thereby instantly attaining full steam pressure in pounds per square inch [psi] necessary to operate the engine with horsepower and torque equal to current gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines;
2)—Pistons, compressing cool intake air to 435-600 pounds per square inch [psi] in the confines of diesel engine cylinders, heats that air in small fractions of a second to 1,400-1,650 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) (760-899о C.)2;
3)—Each water molecule, injected into said hot cylinder will expand 1,600 times, to make steam, which is a gas.
This piston engine should be made from vanadium. Vanadium has a melting point of 3428.6оF. [1887оC.]—well above the 1400-1650 degrees F. developed in this hybrid diesel-steam engine that would melt or weaken engine parts if made of steel or aluminum alloys.
One cannot substitute water in place of diesel fuel in a diesel engine. If atomized water were to be injected into a diesel cylinder instead of diesel fuel, the compressed air pressure of 435-600 psi in the cylinder2 would keep the water confined as water—preventing it from exploding into the dry gas called steam.
By pairing cylinders, this concept addresses the problem of high air pressure preventing water from being transformed into steam. Cylinder 1 generates the necessary heat by compressing air, then transfers that heat instantly and continuously to adjacently- paired cylinder 2 via heat pipes or liquid gallium. In cylinder 2, finely atomized water is injected in 1/2000th of a second, [same timing as a diesel engine] enabling each water molecule to instantly expand 1,600 times, thus creating abundant pressure to push pistons in power strokes. Heat transfer by heat pipes is instantaneous, from air compression cylinder 1 to paired steam power cylinder 2. Cylinder 1 does not exhaust its air. See below.
Heat is applied externally, as in Stirling engines, to heat the steam-powered cylinders. We know that Stirling engines do work. But, instead of hot air pushing the pistons, as in Stirling engines, the gas called steam in this hybrid diesel-steam engine pushes the pistons.
Consider this: Why doesn’t a conventional one-cylinder, four-cycle diesel engine stall? Initial power stroke pressures from exploding diesel fuel range from 1100 to 1370 psi, but the pressure continues to fall as the piston travels towards bottom-dead-center [BDC], resulting in the total average effective pressures dropping to 109-174 psi3.
Following the power stroke, the diesel piston must complete an exhaust stroke, complete a fresh air-intake stroke, and then compress that relatively cool fresh air to 435-600 psi in as little as 1/25th to 1/50th of a second during the compression stroke in order to heat that fresh intake air to 1400-1650о F. (760-899о C.) before the injection of diesel fuel for the next power stroke.
Where does the energy come from to compress the fresh intake air to 435-600 psi? The energy certainly does not come from the average effective cylinder pressure of 109-174 psi during the previous power stroke3. The energy to compress the intake air comes
from the momentum of the engine’s flywheel, crankshaft, and crankshaft counterweights. Remove the flywheel, and the engine will not run. Take the blade [which acts as a flywheel] off of a piston-powered lawnmower, and the engine will not start.
Since a flywheel makes a one-cylinder diesel engine work, it will do exactly the same work for this proposed hybrid diesel-steam engine. The quantity of injected atomized water [fuel] can be adjusted for any engine demand, just as in diesel and gasoline internal combustion engines.
Hundreds of patents issued in the past 110 years provide indisputable evidence that steam developed by atomized water injected into the cylinders of internal combustion engines during power strokes or after exhaust strokes, is just as powerful as the power strokes provided by gasoline or diesel fuel. Examine a sampling of the number of patents issued on this subject1 at the end of this document. Look up not only those patents, but also the patents cited in those patents by the Patent Office examiners. Witness Neumann’s patent, number 885,820, dated April 28, 1908.
Having lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s, and served in the U.S. Navy towards the end of World War II, I knew that in World War II, U.S. fighter planes were able, for short periods of time, to inject water into their gasoline engine cylinders along with the fuel-air mixture, to temporarily boost the plane’s speed. Long periods of water injection would have exploded their engines—such was the explosive power of the steam that developed.
The June, 2007, issue of Popular Science included an article about one Bruce Crower of Crower cams and Equipment Company, Inc. of southern California. Mr. Crower modified a one-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine into a six-stroke engine by squirting water into the hot cylinder after the normal diesel exhaust stroke. That was the fifth stroke. The sixth stroke, of course, was the steam exhaust stroke. The steam developed was so powerful that, upon exiting the vertical exhaust pipe, it blasted paint chips off of his shop’s ceiling. No mention was made in the article about all of the previous patents on the subject. The Dyer patent, number 1,339,176, of 1920 fully anticipates Crower’s engine. Crower’s engine fully vindicates the Dyer patent.
The Popular Science article of June, 2007, was a reminder about the power of steam in WWII fighter planes that led to the concept presented in this document. As stated earlier, this concept is not a diesel engine converted to use water. It is a purpose-built engine.
Pistons in the present concept engine will generate air compression temperatures and pressures equal to contemporary diesel engines, which do attain temperatures in the 1,400-1,650 F. range at air compression pressures of 435-600 psi2. Lower cylinder temperatures, even those below 1,000 degrees F., would be hot enough to flash finely atomized water into steam. Cylinder temperature control is made possible by computer-controlled cylinder head intake and exhaust valves.
Whereas a one-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine completes one power stroke for every two revolutions of its crankshaft, a configuration of the present concept with only one power cylinder would have a power stroke for each one revolution of its crankshaft.
As the reader will learn presently, the preferred embodiment of the present concept has two or more steam power cylinders—each of them paired with its own air compression heating cylinder. The engine example below has two, inline, steam-powered cylinders, and, given the configuration of the crankshaft, will have one power stroke for each half revolution of the crankshaft—two power strokes per one crankshaft revolution!
In a boiler for a conventional piston-driven steam engine, the water molecules have already been expanded 1,600 times, and the driving force comes from a constant boiler pressure that has been built up to engine operating pressure.
In this hybrid diesel-steam engine, the required steam pressure is developed on demand, instantaneously, when finely atomized water is injected into the steam cylinder in 1/2000th of a second [the same fuel timing as in a current diesel engine], when its piston is at top-dead-center [TDC], ready to commence a steam power stroke.
The steam pressure obtained for a power stroke depends upon the amount of injected atomized water, the temperature of the cylinder, the temperature attained by the resulting steam, and the volume of the confining space between the top of the piston and cylinder head when the piston is at TDC of the crankshaft. Obviously, the higher the temperature and the smaller the volume above the top of the piston, the higher the resulting steam pressure will be for any given amount of injected atomized water. Keep in mind that when the cylinder’s piston is at TDC, finely-atomized water is injected following a steam exhaust stroke. There should be little, if any, residual steam pressure following a steam exhaust stroke to oppose the injection of finely atomized water in preparation for the immediate commencement of the next steam power stroke.
This hybrid diesel-steam engine differs from conventional piston-driven steam engines in that it operates as if it were an internal combustion engine. In an internal combustion engine, the driving force—the burning fuel—expands at the onset of the power stroke, and diminishes as the piston travels to bottom-dead-center. As stated earlier, the resulting mean effective pressure in a diesel engine is 109-174 psi.
FIGURE 4 below displays an example of a multiple-cylinder configuration of this hybrid engine, i.e., the pairing of air compression cylinders with steam power cylinders. A four-cylinder inline engine is depicted, using adjacently-paired cylinders—one of each pair to generate heat of air compression, the other to provide the steam power stroke. Heat from the air compression cylinders is transferred instantly by heat pipes or liquid gallium to their paired power stroke cylinders. Sixty percent of heat in a piston cylinder is absorbed by the cylinder walls, and 40% of the heat is absorbed by the cylinder head4. A discussion of heat pipes is given further in this document.
Every half revolution of the crankshaft of the four-cylinder engine provides one power stroke paired with one air expansion stroke, plus one steam exhaust stroke paired with one air compression stroke. In other words, as in current four-cylinder inline internal
combustion engines, two steam cylinders in this hybrid diesel-steam engine power two strokes per each revolution of the crankshaft, making the job of the flywheel easier.
For simplicity of description, the four-cylinder inline engine is shown without valves, and without heat pipes linking the paired cylinders. The cylinders are numbered from left to right, from 51 to 54.
The reader should draw Figure 4 on a separate sheet of paper, and use it in order to follow the description below.
The two end cylinders, 51 and 54, are air-compression cylinders. The two center cylinders, 52 and 53, are steam-power cylinders.
Although the drawing in Figure 4 shows a separation between cylinders, it is to be understood that the cylinders are integrally and mechanically linked to each other, as in automobile engines; that the space separating the cylinders in the drawings are not drawn to scale; that the cylinders share a common cylinder head; the piston connecting rods share a common crankshaft; and that the cylinders are also linked by insulation and heat pipes or liquid gallium.
Heat pipes5 have the ability to concentrate or disperse heat energy instantly. Concentrated heat from air compression cylinders 51 and 54 is conducted into steam power cylinders 52 and 53 by specially-shaped heat pipes.
The crankshaft of the example engine of Figure 4 is arranged such that for pistons 61 and 62 in cylinders 51 and 52, their crankshaft throws are both at top-dead-center [TDC]. Both axes of the crankshaft throws share the identical axis of alignment, and both cranks are adjacent and in the same plane to each other, while simultaneously the axes of crankshaft throws for pistons 63 and 64 in cylinders 53 and 54 are adjacent and in the same plane to each other, and share the identical axis of alignment at bottom-dead-center [BDC] of the crankshaft.
Finely-atomized water is injected into each steam cylinder by two or more diesel-type fuel injectors that have been purposely-built to inject water. An engine computer controls the timing and the quantity of the injected atomized water according to engine
demands, whether the injection comes just before, at, or just after top-dead center of the crankshaft throw. As noted previously, the injection of atomized water takes place in 1/2000th of a second—the same fuel timing as in current diesel engines..
The paired cylinders have complementary functions. In Figure 4, piston 61 has just completed an air compression stroke. As piston 61 was rising, its heat of compression instantly was transferred by heat pipes or liquid gallium to heat cylinder 52. Piston 62 has just completed a steam exhaust stroke and is ready to start its next power stroke. Pistons 61 and 62 move in unison from TDC to BDC, and pistons 63 and 64 move in unison from BDC to TDC. While piston 62 is pushing down in a power steam stroke, its paired piston 61 also is pushing down [its hot compressed air was not exhausted] [see below] in an air expansion stroke, thus recovering not only some residual heat energy as the air expands and cools, but also recovers some of the kinetic energy that was used to compress the air. Piston 61 uses all of its stored compressed air energy to help piston 63 to rise in a steam exhaust stroke, and its paired piston 64 to rise in an air compression stroke.
When at TDC, pistons 63 and 64 are ready to repeat the identical functions that pistons 61 and 62 performed half a crankshaft revolution before them. Pistons 63 and 64 then are ready to start their steam power stroke and air expansion stroke.
Each steam piston—62 and 63—has its own source of high cylinder heat, just as in any conventional diesel engine or Stirling engine. In other words, each steam piston not only supplies a power stroke for every half revolution of the crankshaft, but simultaneously during the power stroke also provides some of the driving force, in addition to the flywheel, to cause the other pair of cylinders to rise—one in an exhaust stroke; the other in an air compression stroke that provides the heat necessary for the other steam piston to perform its power stroke.
Despite any cylinder cooling that takes place when finely atomized water is sprayed into and exploded in steam cylinder 52 during its power stroke, any lost heat is immediately restored to steam cylinder 52 in the next half revolution of the crankshaft when the power stroke of steam piston 63 in steam cylinder 53 causes piston 61 in air compression cylinder 51 to rise—to compress and heat air and, as piston 61 rises, to transfer that heat through heat pipes to steam cylinder 52 in time for the next power stroke of piston 62, and vice versa. With two steam power strokes for each revolution of the crankshaft, the power of two steam cylinders 52 and 53 is the equal of any four-cylinder four-stroke production automobile internal combustion engine.
In Figure 4, steam cylinders 52 and 53 are adjacent to each other in the middle of the engine. This arrangement facilitates a compartmentalization of a lubrication system separate from the lubrication system of the air compression cylinders. Steam cylinders 52 and 53 utilize blow-by recovery unit 90, including a vacuum pump as described later.
Since a very efficient type of insulation [ described below] is used to retain engine heat, it may be possible to make air compression cylinders 51 and 54 and pistons 61 and 64 smaller in diameter than the steam power cylinders and pistons, but provide the required heat with less effort. For example, in the four-cylinder inline engine as depicted in Figure 4, steam power cylinders 52 and 53 and pistons 62 and 63 could have three-inch-diameters, with air compression cylinders 51 and 54 and pistons 61 and 64 having
diameters of two and a half inches—an approximate 30% reduction in piston area and cylinder volume. This would result in an approximate 30% reduction in the total psi required [72.03 psi instead of 103.9 psi] to compress a compensatory volume of air smaller that would have been used in three-inch-diameter cylinders, and attain the same required compressed air temperature. The quantity of heat would be less, but the superior insulation would compensate by retaining much of the previous temperature of the heat in the steam power cylinders. Experimentation should be used to obtain optimum results.
Air compression cylinders 51 and 54 can utilize synthetic, high-temperature lubricants in their separate lubrication system without possibility of steam blow by, since no steam is admitted to those cylinders.
Cylinders 51 and 54 do not exhaust their hot air unless required for heat management. Rather, the same air is retained through successive compressions and expansions, possibly reaching equilibrium maximum and minimum temperatures. If a small quantity of air is lost to piston blow-by, the loss is detected by sensors in the cylinders. An engine computer restores the lost air through air injection valves, using previously compressed air from an air tank reservoir. When required, pressurized replacement air is forced into cylinders 51 and 54 when their pistons 61 and 64 are at BDC, and cylinder air pressure is at its lowest. Exhaust valve 35 functions in concert with the air injection valve to regulate cylinder heat management and air supply.
If engine temperature and pressure rises from the optimum operating temperature, cylinder sensors can signal an engine computer to lower the air quantity through exhaust valve 35. More air to compress raises engine temperature, and less air to compress lowers engine temperature.
All cylinders are to be fitted with heavy-duty electric diesel glow plugs, in order to quickly bring a cold engine to optimum operating temperature. Any configuration of this engine would naturally include a heavy-duty electric starter motor to start the engine.
All valves in this diesel-type steam engine are actuated without the use of engine-linked camshafts, although some types of camshaft systems allow variable valve timing. Valves may be operated electrically by solenoids; by hydraulic means; or by any other means that lends itself to computer control.
The following engine operating procedures are recommended.
Electric glow plugs pre-heat all cylinders before the starter motor is engaged, and the glow plugs may be turned on during the operation of the engine if needed for heat management. When ready, the correct amount of air is adjusted in each air cylinder, and all steam cylinder-head valves are opened for air venting. In cold weather, if necessary, steam cylinder valves could be opened to draw in air, then closed to compress that air to more quickly heat the steam cylinders.
When ready, a heavy-duty starter motor causes the crankshaft to rotate, which in turn reciprocates the pistons. Air is compressed in each air compression cylinder for several rotations of the crankshaft to further heat the cylinders uniformly before the engine is started. Sensors tell the computer when cylinder temperatures are heated to operating temperatures; when cylinder valves should be engaged for normal operations; and when atomized water can be injected to start the engine. The original intake air in the
compression cylinders is compressed and expanded repeatedly, even after the engine is operating without the help of the starter motor.
Before an engine is shut down, the crankshaft is automatically cycled by the computer (s) through at least four revolutions, without injecting water for the power strokes. Instead, air in the compression cylinders is heated by compression, which evaporates any steam remaining in the cylinders, and is purged through open steam exhaust valves in the steam power cylinders. When the engine cools to ambient
temperatures, any water that condenses as a result of piston ring steam blow-by is collected by the blow-by recovery unit 90 and the generic vacuum suction pump.
This hybrid diesel-steam engine can regulate and vary its operating temperature from 212○ F. to 1,650○ F. and above, using computer-controlled valves, which effectively
regulate engine temperature by modifying air compression ratios. Internal combustion engines are limited by a narrow range of combustion temperatures, depending upon the fuel used.
The following describes engine controls, components, and systems
All systems and components, including but not limited to: valves, heat management, pumps, nozzles, glow plugs, water tank—virtually anything that requires automatic control—are to be controlled by one or more computers.
EXHAUST VALVE 35 WITH EQUALIZING CHAMBER 41:
Figures 1, 2, and 3 identify the various parts of this specialized valve. Heat and air pressure sensors linked to the engine’s computer (s) can and will cause exhaust valve 35 to relieve air compression pressure anytime during an air compression stroke in any cylinder in order to control compression ratios and/or heat caused by air compression.
The hinged doors of a car underwater, with its windows up, cannot be opened from the inside by any occupants because of water pressure against the outside of the doors. A window or windows must be opened to let water into the interior of the car in order to equalize the water pressure. When water pressure on both sides of the doors is equalized, the doors can be opened more easily.
Partially equalizing air pressure against exhaust valve 35 is the function of equalizing chamber 41. Air pressure enters equalizing chamber 41 through two small cylindrically—shaped holes 36 in exhaust valve 35, thus partially equalizing air pressure on both sides of exhaust valve 35. Only partial pressure equalization is obtained, since the area of the valve on the equalizing side of 41 is of necessity smaller than the area of the piston side of exhaust valve 35. Holes 36 are sized large enough such that air pressure is not restricted from entering equalizing chamber 41, yet are small enough to maximize the amount of area that air pressure has available to press against the equalizing chamber 41 side of air-pressure exhaust valves 35. Air pressure simultaneously presses against secondary air exhaust valve 39 within equalizing chamber 41, keeping it closed. By equalizing air pressure on that amount of area of exhaust valve 35 exposed on the equalizing side of chamber 41, much less force than 600 psi is needed to open it. For example, if the area of exhaust valve 35 exposed to air pressure on the equalizing chamber 41 side is 50% of the area exposed to air pressure on the piston side of exhaust
valve 35, then only half of 435-600 psi is needed to open valve 35, plus the force needed to overcome friction and valve springs.
Equalizing chamber 41 is large enough to provide equalizing pressure on both sides of air-pressure exhaust valve 35, yet it is small enough that during the power stroke, very little steam pressure is diverted through holes 36 and into equalizing chamber 41. Residual steam in equalizing chamber 41 is exhausted when steam is exhausted during steam exhaust strokes. Spent steam is routed through a condenser before being returned to a condensate supply.
Exhaust valve 35 is opened, as in Figure 2, and closed, as in Figure 1, by computer-controlled valve actuator 37. Valve actuator 37 may be operated by electro-magnetic, hydraulic, or any type of valve operator that can be computer-controlled.. The two valves, 35 and 39, and valve steam 43, are one piece of metal (or Syalon™ ceramic),
and therefore move in unison. Pressure-equalizing chamber 41 is securely attached to cylinder head 38 by equalizing chamber housing supports 49 (shown in figures 1 and 3), and valve steam support 44 such that it can contain any air pressure built up in cylinder 19.
A vehicle going downhill needs less power than when going uphill, therefore computer-managed exhaust valves 35 can lower the air compression duration without lowering the speed of the vehicle. The same is true when maintaining a steady speed on level roads—less power is needed than when accelerating.
Furthermore, given the holes 36 in exhaust valve 35, and the small area of secondary air exhaust valve 39 relative to the area of exhaust valve 35, it is easier for computer-controlled valve actuator 37 to push against valve steam 43 to open both valves, although secondary air exhaust valve 39 is still subject to 435-600 psi. If the cross-sectional area of valve steam 43 is ¼ by ¼ inch, for example, and 100 pounds of pressure is applied to that ¼ by ¼ inch area, the 100 pounds of pressure applied to valve steam 43 is the equivalent of 1600 psi—more than enough to overcome 600 psi even without equalizing chamber 41.
PLENUM CHAMBER 40 is sized to be greater than the volume of the cylinders as measured when its piston is at bottom-dead-center. When valves 35 and 39 open, air pressure is not impeded by exhaust manifold 42, but instead is free to expand straight into plenum chamber 40 before entering exhaust manifold 42, expediting the rapid evacuation of air pressure or steam pressure as the case may be, from the cylinders. Secondary air exhaust holes 48 and equalizing chamber housing support 49 are also shown.
The plenum chamber could be eliminated, and the force of the steam exhaust then could be directed to turn a Tesla turbine to generate electricity, before the steam exhaust is routed to the condenser.
FIGURE 2 shows exhaust valve 35 in the open position. Note, by comparing Figure 1 with Figure 2, that some structural parts surrounding air passages 45 have been removed from the drawing in Figure 2 in order to illustrate air pressure exhaust and intake paths with greater clarity. Most notable is the absence of the three equalizing chamber housing supports 49 shown in top view in Figure 3.
Air pressure in the cylinders escapes through air passages 45 surrounding exhaust valve 35 and through plenum chamber 40 to exhaust manifold 42, while air pressure within equalizer chamber 41 escapes through secondary air-exhaust holes 48, air passages 45, then through plenum chamber 40 to exhaust manifold 42.
FIGURE 3 shows a top-view of plenum chamber 40 with the top removed, revealing equalizing chamber housing 46, equalizing chamber housing supports 49,
pressure-equalizing chamber 41, valve steam 43, steam support 44, secondary air-exhaust holes 48, plenum chamber housing 47, secondary air exhaust valve 39, and exhaust manifold 42.
After an exhaust stroke, when the exhaust valve is closed, a powerful vacuum above the piston’s crown may develop if the atomized water injection fails and the piston begins its downward stroke. To prevent a sudden vacuum-caused stalling of the engine, a check-valve, one that opens only into the cylinder, in the direction of the power stroke, should be installed in the cylinder head, to open only in such a contingency. The check-valve would be connected to the exhaust manifold, thus providing the needed reverse flow of venting air or steam.
An electric motor-driven compressor, or a Stirling engine-driven air compressor could be used. A compressor is needed to adjust air volume in the air cylinders, to provide air pressure if superheated injection water is to be used, and for all other purposes requiring compressed air. Obviously. a tank of sufficient capacity to hold standby compressed air should be provided.
CERAMIC ENGINE PARTS:
This diesel-type steam engine is to be built as strong as a diesel engine, preferably with heavy-duty cylinder liners, cylinder head, pistons, piston rings, valves, connecting
rods, wrist pins, crankshaft, crankshaft bearings and supports made of zirconium ceramics, or one of the formulations of Syalon™,6,7,8 ceramics, other ceramic composites,
or certain ceramic-coated metal alloys, that are able to withstand thermal shock, physical stress, and sustained high (400-1,700о F.) operating temperatures. Building ceramic engine blocks and other engine parts is a well-developed technology. The 1997 Honda Prelude, for example, had a ceramic fiber engine block. Another advantage of having combustion chamber parts made of the same material is that the coefficients of expansion are identical, allowing for better engineering design.
Syalon™ is stronger than steel, and is as light as aluminum. It is as hard as a diamond, which gives it superior wear resistance. Syalon™ retains good mechanical strength up to 2552о F. (1,400о C.). Corrosion resistance is very high, and Syalon’s porosity is zero percent, thus it will not absorb contaminants. It is possible that no lubricants would be needed between piston rings and cylinder walls, or between other moving parts within an engine made of Syalon™, or other selected materials such as zirconium ceramics, or metal alloys.
One of Syalon’s™ greatest attributes is its resistance to thermal shock, which makes it ideal for this engine’s pistons, valves, cylinders, and cylinder heads. When atomized hot water or superheated water, with temperatures at or above 212о F., contacts
everything within the combustion chamber at 1400-1650о F., a thermal shock is created for which Syalon™ is well-suited.
Powder metallurgy technology makes it possible to mold the raw materials of Syalon™—silicon, aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen—in dies using pressures up to 30,000 psi, followed by sintering in a nitrogen atmosphere at 3,272о F.(1,800о C.), resulting in parts needing minimal finishing. The U.S. Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed a form of tantalum carbide which is harder than diamond, has a melting point of 6,760о F. (3738о C), and can be made easily into finishing cutting tools9.
Zirconium Ceramics are highly well-qualified for this engine. Zirconium is known to be completely non-toxic and is no threat environmentally. Ceramics made with zirconium are ultra-strong and heat-resistant. Red hot zirconium ceramics can be immersed in cold water without cracking10. Engines have been made for British army tanks with zirconium ceramics, that do not need lubricating oils or cooling systems11. Although cylinder walls and piston rings may not need oil lubrication, it is recommended that connecting rods and crankshaft bearings be pressure-lubricated in order to absorb impact created during power strokes. As with Syalon™, zirconium ceramic parts12 are formed in dies under pressure, then sintered at 3,092о F. (1700о C).
The water-injection/atomizing pump13, similar to diesel fuel injectors, should be made from zirconium ceramic, to eliminate the need for oil lubrication of the pump, unless by using other materials there is no danger of lubricating oil being injected into combustion chambers along with the atomized water.
Patent number 6,054,402, dated April 25, 2000, entitled “Mullite-zirconia engine part”, affords insight to engine parts made from zirconium ceramics.
Heat pipes5,14,15 work on the principles of vapor heat transfer and capillary action, which in practice means that their heat transfer capacity can be thousands of times more
than the heat transfer capacity of solid metal heat conductors of the same size. Heat pipes conduct heat rapidly with very little loss from the heated end, where a working fluid
evaporates, to the condensing end. Working fluids in high-temperature heat pipes usually are solids at room temperature. Sodium, for example, can be a working fluid. The ends of a heat pipe usually are reversible, as is the flow of heat, from hot to cool.
Heat pipes have no moving parts and require no maintenance.
Heat pipes developed from NASA technology transfer have been refined in the past five decades to the point that any requirement for the rapid transfer of heat in large quantities with virtually no loss of heat can be achieved easily and economically. Heat pipes can be tubular, flat, as thin as a credit card, or adapted for any unusual configuration. In the semi-conductor industry, tubular heat pipes are used as walls of a furnace in the manufacture of semi-conductors, allowing uniform temperatures within the walls of the heat pipe throughout the manufacturing process.
Heat pipes are custom-tuned for the working conditions under which they will operate. There is a wide range of working fluids to accommodate applications within any required temperature range. Heat can be transferred in any direction, including up, using proper heat pipe design.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO HEAT PIPES
Instead of locating heat pipes between air-compression cylinders and steam-power cylinders, that space could be filled with the metal gallium. Gallium melts at 86оF, or 30о C. Gallium, more than any other known substance, will remain in liquid form up to 4303оF. [2373оC.], which is much higher than the heat required by air compression in this piston engine19.
The advantage of using gallium to conduct heat from air-compression cylinders to steam-power cylinders is that gallium would tend to maintain a high heat equilibrium, thus assuring that the steam-power cylinders would maintain the required heat levels necessary to explode atomized water into instant steam power. Given the insulation that is intended for this engine, hot gallium would preserve engine heat for hours if the engine were to be shut down without engaging the stand-by system.
As stated above, a piston engine made from vanadium would be ideal. Vanadium has a melting point of 3428.6оF. [1887оC.]—well above the 1400-1650 degrees F. temperature developed in this hybrid diesel-steam engine that would melt or weaken engine parts. It is doubtful that any chemical reaction would take place between gallium and vanadium, but if there is any doubt, that issue could be resolved by experimentation.
If no chemical reaction is observed by experiment, then liquid gallium could be circulated throughout the engine in the same manner that engine coolant is circulated in current internal combustion engines. Alternatively, it may be determined through actual engine operation that there is no need to circulate the liquid gallium.
Diesel glow plugs located throughout the cooling system could melt the gallium should it cool to a solid state. Once melted, gallium can be maintained in the liquid state by the operation of a standby system that operates the engine in a no-load state.
Surrounding each heat pipe and selected engine parts are insulating jackets filled with millions of hollow, vacuum-interior ceramic microspheres with very low thermal conductivity—another NASA development. Each microsphere is smaller than a grain of talcum powder, has a compressive strength of 60,000 psi, and a softening point of about 3,272о F. (1,800о C.).
The insulation capacity of these spheres is often demonstrated in a laboratory by placing a thin, non-flammable sheet of stiff fabric on a ring support above a Bunsen burner. A thin layer of the spheres is placed on the stiff fabric. Ice cream placed on top of the insulated sheet of fabric will not melt when the Bunsen burner flame is placed under the fabric.
Insulating jackets retain air compression heat to aid the heat pipes in directing heat from the compression cylinder to its paired steam cylinder. All parts of the system that need heat insulation, are to be surrounded by similar jackets filled with the hollow, vacuum ceramic microspheres.
In military vehicles, this engine and all ancillary support components could be surrounded by insulated walls to eliminate heat signatures.
Exhaust steam is routed to a condenser, the capacity of which naturally depends upon the size, number, and output of the steam power cylinders. Condensed water is routed by a pump through two filters before being returned to an insulated condensate tank from which hot water is drawn by the atomized water injection system.
The heat released by steam condensation can be used to maintain heated water for the injection system, and it can be used to power infrared solar cells to produce electricity for engine systems.
Because it is impractical to recycle 100% of the steam water from the engine, provision is made to replenish any lost evaporated water with two supply tanks provided for that purpose. A water gauge for the water tanks, similar to a fuel gauge, is to be
provided on the dashboards of motor vehicles. When water tank number one is nearly empty, a warning is given to the vehicle’s operator, who switches to tank number two, and, hopefully, remembers later to replenish both water tanks with distilled water.
ENGINE HEAT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS:
Engine heat management relies upon computer-controlled components of the engine. Heat management involves temperature issues arising from air compression, altering compression ratios, engine timing, fuel delivery, ambient temperatures, water temperatures, insulation, glow plugs, engine pre-heaters, air intake and exhaust temperatures, etc.
At 1500 revolutions per minute, a piston engine crankshaft makes twenty-five  revolutions per second. This means, at 1500 rpm, that each piston in this concept engine will travel the length of its stroke in 1/50th of a second, from TDC to BDC, and from BDC to TDC. In a conventional diesel engine, cool fresh air is heated to 1400-1650 degrees Fahrenheit in a small fraction of a second, whereas in this concept engine, cool fresh air is only admitted when necessary to replace air lost to piston blow-by, or other causes, so during the compression stroke, the temperature of the confined air is well above that of ambient air.
Computer-controlled exhaust valve 35, with its partially-pressure-equalizing chamber 41, is one of the most important components of this diesel-type steam engine. Being computer-controlled, it regulates air compression ratios, which directly affects engine timing, as well as cylinder air compression temperatures and air pressures.
Exhaust valve 35 was conceived when this author first thought of substituting water for diesel fuel in a diesel engine. The initial thought was to open the exhaust valve shortly before a piston reached TDC to relieve the 600 psi compressed air, close the exhaust valve, and admit the atomized water into the combustion chamber about one degree past piston TDC. The valve’s function was to diminish the force necessary to overcome the 600 psi compressed air pressure, thus making it easier and faster for the valve opener to open and close within the short time duration necessary when relieving the compressed air pressure.
It soon became evident that at 1500 rpms, the crankshaft would be rotating at 25 rpms per second, valves would have to be opened and closed very quickly, and all that activity would be doubled at 3000 rpms. The timing of opening valve 35, relieving the compressed air, closing valve 35, and injecting atomized water, all while a cylinder’s piston was near, at, or slightly beyond top-dead-center, became problematic.
Thus, the concept of paired cylinders was invented. Not only was timing more simplified, but two strokes—the fresh air intake stroke and the hot air exhaust stroke—were eliminated by not exhausting the hot air prior to injecting the atomized water into the conventional diesel engine’s cylinder. Steam power strokes for each cylinder were doubled, as in a two-stroke engine. Another bonus was that much heat energy could
be saved and put to use where heat was needed, and to convert that heat into electricity, or to power an auxiliary Stirling engine coupled to a vacuum pump.
Instead of having a power stroke every two revolutions of the crankshaft, as in a one cylinder, four-stroke diesel internal combustion engine, one steam power stroke in a Garden diesel/steam one-paired-cylinder engine could be had for each one crankshaft revolution. Consequently, in the four-cylinder example—two cylinders of which are steam-powered cylinders—each time one of the steam pistons was at TDC, a steam power stroke would commence, for a total of two steam-powered strokes per one revolution of the crankshaft.
In Figure 4, where the same air is compressed and heated, then expanded and cooled over and over, it is expected that air temperature and pressure will arrive at an equilibrium. The air, however, could become over-pressurized through heat build-up in the compression cylinders.
Although pressurized air cools as it expands during the expansion stroke, its temperature will not fall as low as its original temperature. Successive compression and expansion of hot air eventually may or may not raise not only its temperature, but its air pressure as well. Elevated air pressures could stall the engine. Long before that happens, temperature and pressure sensors within the compression and steam cylinders will notify the engine computer (s) of the impending problem. The engine computer (s), in turn, will choose one or more remedies, such as causing exhaust valves 35 to lower compression ratios, or to exhaust overheated air, which simultaneously will lower air pressure, then follow up by admitting cooler air into the cylinders. Compressed replacement air will be
admitted to the cylinders when their pistons are at bottom-dead-center, when cylinder air pressures are at their lowest. This will not affect power stroke timing.
Since cylinders are paired, heat is transferred by heat pipes or liquid gallium to its paired steam cylinder. If the compression cylinder becomes cooler as a result of preventive actions taken by the engine computer (s), heat pipe action automatically will reverse itself and transfer excess heat from the hotter steam cylinder to its cooler, paired compression cylinder, until both cylinders reach an equilibrium, however short-lived that may be in an engine running at 25 to 75 crankshaft revolutions per second.
Recall that British army tanks made from zirconium ceramics did not need cooling systems, and that the engines, or parts of the present engine concept, should be made from ceramic materials, since they have high heat tolerances.
INJECTION WATER RESERVOIRS
Another possible option for heat management can be found in the temperature of the water that is to be atomized as it is injected into the affected steam cylinders. That water can be stored in three separated holding chambers—one at ambient temperature, one at approximately 200о F, and one in which superheated water under pressure higher than one atmosphere is held.
The colder the water, the more that extra heat energy is required to atomize that colder water. If lower temperatures are required in a steam cylinder, the coldest water can be atomized in that steam cylinder to absorb unwanted heat energy and thereby lower that cylinder’s temperature.
The engine computer (s) can mix water from any of the three holding chambers into a pressurized mixing chamber to achieve the optimum temperature prior to the injection of atomized water. Optimum injection water temperature is required constantly to meet the demands of the load put upon the engine.
Pressurized and superheated atomized water will expand explosively when injected into a cylinder whose air pressure is one atmosphere. Of course, energy is
required to pressurize and superheat the water to be atomized, hence the need to convert waste exhaust heat into usable forms of energy, such as electricity for heating elements or pressure pumps
A Stirling engine-driven air compressor could be used to pressurize the superheated water, but an electric motor using waste engine heat to generate electricity to drive the air compressor also should be considered.
A more complicated method of heat control would require that the existing cylinder and cylinder head heat pipes divert excess heat to air-cooled or liquid-cooled heat sinks, rather than to its dedicated steam cylinder.
Diesel-type steam engines described herein can, of course, be made in any size for stationary applications, such as driving generators to create electricity. Stationary engines usually operate at a fixed rate of revolutions per minute. In such cases, heat management will attain and maintain a state of equilibrium.
Heat management is also concerned with cold engines. If for some reason upon starting a cold engine the water does not heat up rapidly enough, then provision must be made to sustain operational heat by intermittent or continuous use of electric glow plugs until such time that normal operation of the engine resumes. An increase of the insulation provided for the cylinders may be necessary in cold climates. Heating elements can be embedded beneath the surfaces of the cylinder head and cylinder walls, thus supplanting or supplementing the traditional glow plugs. If the method of sustaining engine heat through the energizing of embedded heating elements becomes necessary, then sufficient battery power must be provided, even if it requires periodic battery recharging by external stationary sources, in addition to their recharging by vehicle alternators, regenerative braking, and onboard solar panels. Engines operating in arctic weather may need these added measures of heat retention.
A small internal combustion engine driving an electric alternator can be added to a vehicle, if necessary, programmed to turn on automatically when batteries get low.
In freezing weather, a standby system would obviate the need to shut down the engine. The engine computer can operate the engine at a no-load idle speed indefinitely. Electric heaters and insulation also would help to prevent water freezing.
Two or more diesel-type water-atomizing injectors are to be supplied to each steam cylinder to insure that a sufficient quantity and optimum distribution of uniform, finely-atomized water is to be available for injection into steam cylinders when the timing is correct, and within the required 1/2000th of a second.
UNIFORMITY OF ATOMIZED WATER PARTICLES
Of utmost necessity is the fact that atomized water particles for this diesel-type engine are to be of the smallest diameter possible, and to be of uniform size. This requirement is necessary in order to expose the greatest possible surface area of water in the fraction of a second that it takes those particles to expand 1,600 times. Expansion becomes uniformly progressive, and conversion from water to gas (steam) is virtually complete.
It is important that the extremely rapid expansion of the atomized water be controlled by the engine computer (s). The engine computer (s) can regulate the timing, the amount, and duration of the atomized water injected into the combustion chamber. The computer can also regulate the size of the atomized particles as a means of controlling the force of the power strokes. Within a small range of sizes, larger particles would result in less power, and smaller particles would generate more power.
That a given volume of water, or any other solid substance, can expose a large surface area is explained to the non-technical reader as follows: Imagine a cube of soft clay, each side measuring three inches by three inches. Each side has nine square inches, for a total of 54 square inches. Slice that cube in half, top to bottom and parallel to the ends, and you still have the original volume, but you have exposed an additional two sides and 18 square inches. By slicing in three different directions, you can produce smaller and smaller cubes, expanding the area exposed, while maintaining the original volume—assuming no clay is left on the slicing instrument.
Of course, water is not sliced. In the process of atomizing the water, very small spheres of water are made, each sphere with a large area, compared to its volume. The area of a sphere is four times the area of a circle of the same radius.
Solar cells that can generate electricity from infrared wavelengths as well as visible light have been developed by researchers at Stanford University16. The efficiency of current solar cells diminishes as temperature rises, but those developed at Stanford excel at higher temperatures. The Stanford process, called “photon enhanced thermionic emission”, hits its peak efficiency of 55-60% at well over 200 degrees C. This is double the efficiency of current solar cells. Integrated into the roof of motor vehicles, and mounted in the engine compartment, they can harvest the heat and light of the sun, and the heat of the engine, to supply electricity for heating elements, or charging batteries, or for any other purpose.
The efficiency of ordinary solar cells has been doubled by quantum dots, which are nanoscale crystals17. This discovery was pioneered by researchers at the University of Chicago, and now is being researched by others.
For example, on December 20, 2011, researchers at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory [NREL] announced18 that using quantum dot nanocrystals in the 1-20 nanometer [nm] range “have cracked an important physical barrier and achieved levels of performance long considered impossible for a solar cell.” These solar cells had peak external quantum efficiencies of 114%, and a peak internal quantum efficiencies of 130%.
A quantum efficiency [QE] compares how many electrons are ejected from a solar cell for every photon that goes into the cell. A QE is different than energy conversion efficiency, which will never exceed 100%. Multiple exciton generation [MEG] is a quantum effect that occurs when a single photon causes multiple electrons to flow, rather than just one electron. The quantity of the quantum dots determines the MEG efficiency.
A suction pump is to be built into the system to provide constant negative air pressure for steam blow-by recovery unit 90. The pump may be run by an electric motor, or it may be connected to a Stirling engine that utilizes waste heat from the engine.
Crankcase vents admit atmospheric air to replace air removed from the crankcase by the constant action of the suction pump.
STEAM BLOW-BY RECOVERY UNIT 90:
Steam blow-by past the piston rings presents the problem of crankcase oil dilution and contamination for any steam engine. To counter the problem of steam blow-by, blow-by recovery unit 90 is to be attached at the bottom of each steam cylinder—see Figures 11 and 12. A generic vacuum pump aids in steam and condensate recovery. Also,
since the steam power cylinders are located between air compression cylinders, the steam cylinders’ oil pans are separated and compartmentalized from the compression cylinders. Oil dilution potential, therefore, is confined only to steam cylinders, and is eliminated or nearly so by the steam blow-by recovery unit and generic vacuum pump.
FIGURE 11— Steam cylinders 52 and 53 in Figure 4 are represented in Figure 11 by the number 86.
Blow-by recovery unit 90 consists of frustum 92, which is integral with flat flange 91, plus drain holes 94, machine bolt holes 99 (Figure 12), ridge 101, and sloped, V-shaped drain channels 95. Geometrically, frustum 92 is a right circular cone truncated by a plane parallel to its base. Note that the outside diameter of flat flange 91 is the same as the outside diameter of steam cylinder 86. The diameter of frustum 92 is less than the inside diameter of piston 88. The diameter of flat flange 91 permits its attachment to the block at the bottom of steam cylinder 86, and the conical slant of frustum 92 allows clearance for the wall thickness of piston 88. It is required that the bottom of piston skirt 89 does not extend past the bottom of steam cylinder 86, and that clearance will be provided to prevent contact between piston 88 and flat flange 91 when piston 88 is at bottom-dead-center. The slant height of frustum 92 extends within the piston as far as possible, while simultaneously allowing clearance for the connecting rod as it swings from side to side of the piston to accommodate the connecting rod when the crankshaft is midway between top-dead-center and bottom-dead center, and its angles between the crankshaft and the piston are at the maximum. Provision is made by gasket 97 and machine bolts 98 to provide a water-tight seal between the round bottom of steam cylinder 86 and the plane of flat flange 91.
The suction pump noted above, connected to drain tubing 96, maintains a constant negative air pressure, thus assuring continuous removal of blow-by steam and condensed steam. Any steam or oily condensate that escapes downward between piston rings 93 and cylinder wall 87 is collected by sloped, V-shaped drain channel 95, and is carried away by drain tubing 96, where it is routed to a condenser/separation system. Sloped, V-shaped drain channel 95, of course, drains condensate from ridge 101 downward to drain holes 94 when the engine has been shut down and cooled to ambient temperatures.
Crankcase vents admit atmospheric air to replace air removed from the crankcase by the constant action of the suction pump. The air suction system should remain in operation for a few minutes after the engine is shut down, to purge any blow-by steam that may be present. A temperature sensor may be programmed to turn on the suction
system after the engine has cooled to equilibrium temperature, to remove any remaining condensed steam from the drainage system via sloped, V-shaped drain channels 95.
Since blow-by recovery unit 90 is removable, it can be partially removed for cleaning, if necessary, without removing connecting rods.
FIGURE 12—Displays a top view of blow-by recovery unit 90. Identified are: flat flange 91, truncated cone 92, drain holes 94, V-shaped drain channels 95, machine bolt holes 99, cone opening 100, and ridges 101.
GLOW PLUGS: Steam cylinders in all configurations are fitted with heavy-duty electric diesel glow plugs to aid in starting. Before starting the engines, the glow plugs are energized with electricity for a period of time, during which time the glow plugs heat the air in the cylinders, as well as the pistons, cylinder walls, valves, and cylinder head. A light on the dashboard of a vehicle informs the vehicle operator when steam cylinders are hot enough and the engine can be started.
All of the requirements below are available currently for steam and diesel engines, and must be applied in the present engine concept to include, but not be limited to:
1. Water-metering must be uniform for all appropriate cylinders.
2. The water-atomizing injection system must be able to adjust its timing.
3. Atomized water injection must start and end very quickly—1/2000th of a second is normal.
4. The injection system must be made for water, which, unlike Diesel fuel, is not compressible. It may be possible in some applications to use water as a lubricant.
5. The injection system must inject atomized water at a rate and quantity necessary to control flashing into steam, and to control the rate of pressure rise during the power stroke. Power developed during the power stroke is contingent upon the degree of water atomization, and the uniformity of water distribution.
6. If moving engine parts are not made of, or coated with, Syalon™ or zirconium ceramics, then synthetic lubricants may be required.
7. A governor may be required to regulate the injected water to prevent the engine from stalling at low engine speeds, and to prevent excess engine speed at high rpms. Speed droop measures the change in engine rpms. Normal no-load speed (NNL) minus normal full-load speed (NFL) is divided by NFL times 100 = speed droop.
8. Multiple water-atomizing fuel injectors.
9. Use of current steam engine technology to prevent emulsification of lubricating oil in the crankcase and throughout the engine by steam, where oil is used for lubrication.
10. Provide for an oil/water separator to insure that lubricating oil does not become emulsified with water, where oil is used for lubrication.
11. A minimum of two filters are to be provided to filter water prior to entering the
condenser and the water injection system.
The Importance of Eliminating the Burning of Carbon-Based Fuels
Economically, water is practically free, and since it is recyclable, you pay for it only once. There is no other non-carbon fuel available. People debate the question of global warming, but they cannot deny that our atmosphere and waters are polluted, especially with carbon dioxide. Drilling for natural gas [methane] by the fracking method can be potentially harmful whenever methane escapes into the atmosphere—and it does escape. Methane is 25 to 30 times more effective as a global warming gas than is carbon dioxide. Moreover, there is little or no national regulation for capping methane wells to insure that no methane escapes. Capping gas wells can run over half a million dollars per well. If no regulations compel proper capping of gas wells, it will not be done. Witness what the coal companies fail to do when they abandon coal mines.
Editing of September 26 stopped here
Today, atmospheric CO2 is at 387 parts per million, and is rising, which is above the 350 parts per million considered a safe maximum for the planet. Due to CO2, our oceans are becoming more acidic, which kills oxygen-producing algae. If the Earth’s
oxygen falls below 17%, [normally it’s about 20%], we would all be gasping for breath, as was proven in the 1990s Biosphere project in Arizona.
Algae supplies the Earth with more oxygen than all earth-growing plants combined. Diatoms are single-celled algae, and form the basis of the oceans’ food chain. If diatoms are wiped out by CO2, fish in the oceans quickly will be wiped out, followed by humans. That’s not economic evidence—it’s scientific evidence.
The superior technology of water fuel technology cannot be emphasized too greatly. That is the future of renewable energy.
1 The six-stroke concept of Dyer, patent number 1,339,176 has been proven successful and is cited in old, recently expired, and current patents. Review not only the following patents, but also the prior art patents cited in them: 2,671,311 (1954); 3,964,263 (1976); 4,143,518 (1979); 4,408,573 (1983); 4,976,226 (1990); 5,191,766 (1993); 5,507,142 (1996); 6,095,100 (2000); 6,112,705 (2000); 6,311,651 (2001; 6,442,455 (2002); and 7,021,272 (2006)—this last one and others named above also cite Dyer, from 1920.
2. Automotive and Small Truck Fuel Injection Systems: Gas and Diesel”, by Robert N. Brady. Simon & Shuster, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, new Jersey 07632. © 1986, page 19.
3 “Automotive and Small Truck Fuel Injection Systems: Gas and Diesel”, by Robert N. Brady. A Reston Book, published by Prentice-Hall Inc., a division of Simon & Shuster, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, new Jersey 07632. © 1986, page 19.
4 “Physics in an Automotive Engine”, by C. Johnson, University of Chicago.
Updated 04/14/ 2010, available online at: http://mb-soft.com/public2/engine.html
5. “The Heat Pipe”, Scientific American magazine, May, 1968, pages 38-46.
6. “Syalon”-article in Popular Science magazine, April, 1989, page 89.
7. “Physical and Mechanical Properties of Syalon 050 and its Applications”,
by International Syalons. http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=3986
8 U.S. patent number 5,030,600, dated 7/9/1991. Novel Syalon composition.
9 “Nature’s Building Blocks, An A-Z Guide to the Elements”, by Dr. John Emsley
Oxford University Press, © 2002, page 421. tantalum carbide.
10 “Nature’s Building Blocks, An A-Z Guide to the Elements”, page 508, zirconium.
11 “Nature’s Building Blocks, An A-Z Guide to the Elements”, page 510, tank engines.
12. U.S. patent number 6,054,402, dated 4/25/2000. Mullite-zirconia engine part.
13 U.S. patent number 4,408,573, dated 10/11/1983. System and method for superheated
water injection system.
14 “What is a Heat Pipe?” http://www.cheresources.com/htpipes.shtml
15. “Heat Pipe” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe
16. Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine’s daily email newsletter dated 8/3/2010.
Stanford solar cells absorb infrared as well as visible light.
17. CleanTechnica daily email newsletter dated 7/23/2010. “Quantum Dots Could Boost
Solar Efficiency by 100%”.
19. “Nature’s Building Blocks, An A-Z Guide to the Elements”, by Dr. John Emsley
Oxford University Press, © 2002, page 160. Attached files:engine drawings.docengine drawings.doc