Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Water piston steam engine

Magnet attached to float on pipe would transfer the movement
  [vote for,

Instead of a piston, use two vertical thin long pipes filled with water, with a float on them. the pipes are cooled.

The steam first pushes the water up the pipes, but then condenses, never reaching the top, and the weight of the water along with the atmospheric pressure pushing the "piston" back.

As long as the steam doesn't leave the system, you have something between a Stirling and Rankine.

Of course this is no LTD (Low Temperature Diff) engine. You need heat over 100C.

pashute, Feb 27 2011

Something like this http://scitoys.com/.../thermo/thermo.html
But using the power drive as piston and not as "jet" [pashute, Feb 27 2011]

Magnetic clutch http://www.youtube....watch?v=xFb0H3FZyWk
In the water piston it would be a linear clutch... [pashute, Feb 27 2011]

Liquid Piston Stirling Engine http://www.engin.sw...rts/FK_AO_Final.pdf
skip all the pesky maths and look at the pictures [afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 02 2011]


       Hmm, wouldn't the steam just bubble up past the water?   

       alternatively, keep the pistons, run it closed cycle at about 0.1 bar...   

       I'm not giving you any more fishbones, I'm sure it's making you richer in some obscure way...so I have to bun everything from now on.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 27 2011

       Hmm, your right. So the pipes have to face downwards and then siphon upwards. But that's still very simple to do.   

       Benefits: Low cost, extremely simple to make.   

       A mixture of hydraulics and pneumatics understanding would be needed to give the pipes the best shape for the best efficiency.
pashute, Feb 27 2011

       Would the energy be extracted mechanically or electrically ?
8th of 7, Feb 27 2011

       I don't get why a float system would be deemed more viable than a piston.
FlyingToaster, Feb 27 2011

       Just because its so much easier and less costly to make. And replacement of parts is simply refilling the pipe.   

       I suppose mechanic extraction would be a better way - otherwise you would have to build a special generator from linear magnetic movement.
pashute, Feb 27 2011

       Isn't this the same as Hero's steam engine for opening and closing temple doors? I've seen Hero's engine described either with floats as you suggest, or using the mass of water in the cylinder to pull on the cylinder itself.
Twizz, Feb 28 2011

       Instead of water filled pipes, fill them with oil. Steam bubbles in the comlum would also displace the top upwards. As the steam condensed on the way up the lioquid water would descend back to the bottom of the oil column.   

       Other benefit: no moving parts, no friction.
bungston, Feb 28 2011

       The last time I had any lioquid in my comlum an urgent trip to the looloo was needed.
RayfordSteele, Feb 28 2011

       //Hmm, your right. // What? Damn! Shattered my unbroken record of 100% inaccuracy for this decade already...   

       //The last time I had any lioquid in my comlum// That's just crossover from a HB site in a parallel universe where it's a very common complaint.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2011

       Reminds me of a liquid-piston stirling engine (link). I like it.
afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 02 2011


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