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Hydraulic self-powered semi-automatic canal locks

Sort-of steampunk
  [vote for,

Travelling by canal is ipso-facto relaxing, as the maximum speed of narrowboats is four knots or so.

However, some stretches of canal are afflicted with large numbers of locks, which require actual physical exertion to operate. This gets a bit tedious after a while (i.e. half way through the first one).

Yet all the time, lots of free energy is being thrown away ...

Most locks are at least a couple of metres deep. The idea is to divert the water from the spillway and the sluices to turn small turbines, wnich pump water from the upper canal level to a header tank.

This water can then be released through a system of valves to operate the paddles and swing the gates, through simple tipping-bucket levers, bellcranks and pushrods.

Everything is made of oak, stone and cast iron, so as not to look out of place.

8th of 7, Jul 26 2013

Hydraulic Ram http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Hydraulic_ram
Simple yet effective. [8th of 7, Jul 29 2013]

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       Wouldn't this be "archimedes-punk" or "pre-steampunk"   

       [+] but when I went through the Ballard Locks, I think I remember the tour guide saying that the mechanism opening and closing the gates was entirely water powered. Of course the locks you are referring too must be quite a bit smaller since moving the gates in the Ballard locks by hand would be a bit difficult.
scad mientist, Jul 26 2013

       Not surprising - locks on the British narrow canals are predominatly only big enough to take a 7' beam by 70' lenght narrowboat, and aare almost always hand-operated.
8th of 7, Jul 26 2013

       Lock and load.
AusCan531, Jul 26 2013

       I was just reading wikipedia on the british canals, after encountering the remains of the Washington DC canal on tour there. Most big US cities had canals 200 years ago but it would seem that Britain is absolutely riddled with them
bungston, Jul 27 2013

       You know, I'm having to significantly revise my image of the Borg. Being assimilated by a hegemonising smarm whilst cruising through the Norfolk Broads doesn't really sound all that intimidating. Do you do a long-weekend trial assimilation for first timers? And do you provide scones?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2013

       //divert the water from the spillway and the sluices to turn small turbines, wnich pump water from the upper canal level to a header tank//   

       Sounds like a perfect application for a hydraulic ram.
Wrongfellow, Jul 28 2013

       // doesn't really sound all that intimidating. //   

       We are giving the softly-softly approacha try.   

       // Do you do a long-weekend trial assimilation for first timers? //   

       Sorry, but no.   

       // And do you provide scones? //   

       Yes. Plain or fruit ? Clotted cream ? Jam ?   

       // Sounds like a perfect application for a hydraulic ram //   

       Not a standard one ...   

       Hydraulic rams usually pump water from the level of the ram unit itself to the higher level, making use of a long inlet pipe with a modest gradient.   

       What's wanted is to use the difference in level from the upper to the lower water level, but then pump water from the upper level to an even higher holding tank. The potential energy needs to be stored at a level well above the upper water level in the canal.   

       Possibly some sort of intermediate shuttle-valve assembly could be used; the impulse of the water from the ram pushes up a piston, coupled by a vertical rod to a second pump at the upper level. If that's a force pump, and given the right piston ratio, water at the top could be pumped up fairly high. The mechanical losses shouldn't be too great if it's kept well oiled.
8th of 7, Jul 29 2013

       From Wikipedia:   

       //The device uses the water hammer effect to develop pressure that allows a portion of the input water that powers the pump to be lifted to a point _higher than where the water originally started_. The hydraulic ram is sometimes used in remote areas, where there is both a source of low-head hydropower and a need for pumping water to a _destination higher in elevation than the source_.//   

       Which is what you want, no?
Wrongfellow, Jul 29 2013

       //We are giving the softly-softly approach a try. //   

       Actually, have the Borg considered partnering with SAGA or Help the Aged? There are vast numbers of elderly individuals who would probably be really glad of the chance to join a hive-mind, if only to have a good natter and get some help in remembering where they left their dentures.   

       A hive-mind consisting mostly of over-70s would have a lot of power. For example, massively parallel knitting would be enabled. It would also do something to improve the Borg's image. After all, it worked for Werther's Originals and for Shreddies.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 29 2013

       // considered partnering with SAGA or Help the Aged? //   

       Actually, we were considering approaching a more select and exclusive brand, like perhaps Rentisham's ...
8th of 7, Jul 29 2013

       Well, you're welcome to have Sir Bernard Ffoulkes- Gentley and Arthur Dense-Thickket. Their defection from Rentisham's to the Borg would raise the average IQ of both organisations.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 29 2013


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