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A Catechism of the Steam Engine by Bourne

And the momentum of the piston and its attachments


_Q._--Is the trunk engine inferior to the oscillating?

_A._--A very elegant and efficient arrangement of trunk engine suitable for paddle vessels has latterly been employed by Messrs. Rennie, of which all the parts resemble those of Penn's oscillating engine except that the cylinders are stationary instead of being movable; and a round trunk or pipe set upon the piston, and moving steam tight through the cylinder cover, enables the connecting rod which is fixed to the piston to vibrate within it to the requisite extent. But the vice of all trunk engines is that they are necessarily more wasteful of steam, as the large mass of metal entering into the composition of the trunk, moving as it does alternately into the atmosphere and the steam, must cool and condense a part of the steam. The radiation of heat from the interior of the trunk will have the same operation, though in vertical trunk engines the loss from this cause might probably be reduced by filling the trunk with oil, so far as this could be done without the oil being spilt over the edge.

441. _Q._--What species of screw engine do you consider the best?

_A._--I am inclined to give the preference to a variety of the horizontal steeple engine, such as was first used in H.M.S. Amphion. In this engine the cylinders lie on their sides, and they are placed near the side of the vessel with their mouths pointing to the keel.

From each cylinder two long piston rods proceed across the vessel to a cross head working in guides; and from this cross head a connecting rod returns back to the centre of the vessel and gives motion to the crank. The piston rods are so placed in the piston that one of them passes above the crank shaft, and the other below the crank shaft. The cross head lies in the same horizontal plane as the centre of the cylinder, and a lug projects upwards from the cross head to engage one piston rod, and downwards from the cross head to engage the other piston rod. The air pump is double acting, and its piston or bucket has the same stroke as the piston of the engine. The air pump bucket derives its motion from an arm on the cross head, and a similar arm is usually employed in engines of this class to work the feed and bilge pumps.

442. _Q._--Is not inconvenience experienced in direct acting screw engines from the great velocity of their motion?

_A._--Not if they are properly constructed; but they require to be much stronger, to be fitted with more care, and to have the bearing surfaces much larger than is necessary in engines moving slowly. The momentum of the reciprocating parts should also be balanced by a weight applied to the crank or crank shaft, as is done in locomotives. A very convenient arrangement for obtaining surface is to form the crank of each engine of two cast iron discs cast with heavy sides, the excess of weight upon the heavy sides being nearly equal to that of the piston and its connections. When the piston is travelling in one direction the weights are travelling in the opposite; and the momentum of the piston and its attachments, which is arrested at each reciprocation, is just balanced by the equal and opposite momentum of the weights. One advantage of the horizontal engine is, that a single engine may be employed, whereby greater simplicity of the machinery and greater economy of fuel will be obtained, since there will be less radiating surface in one cylinder than in two.


443. _Q._--Is it a beneficial practice to make cylinders with steam jackets?

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