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  #1  
Old 11-13-2007, 11:44 PM
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Hybrid steam engine: I swear I had this idea independently

My former client, the surgeon inventor I liked so much, once told me that when the time is ripe for an invention, it's a good bet more than one person is thinking of it at the same time.

I read about this fellow Bruce Crower in Time magazine the other day. His idea was to squirt a bit of water into the chamber of a conventional internal combustion 4 stroke motor just after the fourth stroke, giving it an extra two strokes.

The piston will be way hot, 1500 degrees apparently, and that waste heat would turn the water to steam, giving more bang for the unit of fuel.

When the idea hit me, about 10 years ago, it occurred to me that one drawback would be the need to go with 6 strokes. It might take the engine a while to warm up enough to utilize that steam power stroke I thought. How would one go from 4 stroke to 6 stroke w/o electrical/solenoid activated valves?

Now I'm thinking that though the coolant may still be cool, the chamber is going to be fairly hot shortly after starting the car.

Another concern I had was whether or not the steam power stroke would have enough power to be compatible with the other power strokes going on from other pistons. For the sake of discussion, imagine that each gas fired power stroke produces one hp-second of power, similar to an amp-hour, a measure of work over a period of time. If the steam powered stroke produced only 1/2 hp-second, would it be compatible with the gas strokes or would it just be in the way?

Apparently this fellow thinks he has a model that works, calling it a hybrid steam engine, claiming it can add 40% greater mileage. I fully recognize that a good idea is near worthless w/o the ability to get a working prototype up and running. All I have to do now is get going on a couple of other nifty ideas before I read that someone else has scooped me on that one.

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Old 11-14-2007, 12:28 AM
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Water injection has been used for a long time on high compression motors to help with low octane fuel. It tears up the motor pretty good in terms of corrosion in all the wrong places.

Explain exactly how you can do a 6 stroke motor without cam mods. What are the valves doing during the extra 2 strokes? They are compressing which is using energy. 6 stroke = bad idea. If you wanted something like that you should look at a rotary engine......
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:30 AM
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http://www.sixstroke.com/
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:52 AM
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Don't forget you will want to stop and fill the water tank every 100 miles or so too.
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:34 AM
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You could probably have a condenser in the exhaust to recover most, if not all of the water...
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2007, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ForcedInduction View Post
I'm still reading this but the first pass showed a ton of fundamental BS about how engines work. Does a real example exist?
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
Water injection has been used for a long time on high compression motors to help with low octane fuel. It tears up the motor pretty good in terms of corrosion in all the wrong places.

Explain exactly how you can do a 6 stroke motor without cam mods. What are the valves doing during the extra 2 strokes? They are compressing which is using energy. 6 stroke = bad idea. If you wanted something like that you should look at a rotary engine......
At the end of stroke 4, the piston is quite hot, the exhaust gas has just been expelled. Both valves remain closed for stroke 5, no air is added, only an injection of water. It turns to steam and powers the piston down. Stroke 6 is just like stroke 4, the exhaust, this time only water vapor is expelled. There would have to be a double lobe on the cam for the exhaust valve(s). In fact, strokes 5 & 6 would be just like strokes 3 & 4. The cam would move once for every 3 rotations of the crank.
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by engatwork View Post
Don't forget you will want to stop and fill the water tank every 100 miles or so too.
Yep, I wondered about that. I'm thinking water consumption total might be about the same as gas consumption, as each is injected once per revolution.

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Originally Posted by KarTek View Post
You could probably have a condenser in the exhaust to recover most, if not all of the water...
THAT would be the ticket. Lord knows we wouldn't want an invention like this to put new pressure on water supplies.
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:37 PM
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C- you can always burn rubber down to the patent office...
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Old 11-14-2007, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
I'm still reading this but the first pass showed a ton of fundamental BS about how engines work. Does a real example exist?
Click on the link in the OP. It's a bit hard to read -- magnify it up to 150% but then you have to scroll a lot. The prototype screams supposedly. This fellow Crower is not green where engines are concerned. Check out:

http://www.crower.com/

That's his home site. He builds custom cams and crankshafts. He's the kind of guy who can get a prototype of this thing actually running whereas all I can do is dream about it.

Primary mission now is to figure out how to overcome that obstacle. My neighbor at my warehouse is a good metal worker. He got me a job at one of his main clients, DOW chemical -- they have a big plant in Fremont, building two 4' x 10' bulletin boards for their safety room and work floor cause they had to improve their safety record and they needed prominent display.

My buddy builds any and every jig they need. Guys like that are not immune to making serious coin on some good idea.
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Last edited by cmac2012; 11-14-2007 at 05:54 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-14-2007, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mistress View Post
C- you can always burn rubber down to the patent office...
Naw, the other guy has a patent claim submitted. Besides, I didn't have the skill or the money to put a prototype together. I'm having some serious mental storms right now, such as: 'don't people sometimes scare up financing in order to get a prototype working?' DOH!!

Oh well, I like to think about these things and I have a couple of other schemes that might be as good. Who knows. Some serious fortunes have been made in the inventing of auto - tech. Charles F. Kettering, of Sloan-Kettering clinic fame, invented the coil and auto starter, among other things. Did pretty well. I don't presume to be in his league, but who knows, surely better designs await implementation.
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:18 PM
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The engine will reach thermal equilibrium so the parts will stay about the same temp (assuming no serious RPM's). You would get superheated steam expansion on stroke 5. The combination of heat, and water would induce corrosion like you wouldn't believe. The water would have to be totally clean of any impurities or else it would not work, you would have massive deposits from the water building up. The engine itself would probably not be able to handle the higher pressures unless it was built from scratch to do that ($$$$).

And the metallurgy required to handle the thermal shock of injecting water into a hot engine would probably be cost prohibitive if it could be done.




Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
At the end of stroke 4, the piston is quite hot, the exhaust gas has just been expelled. Both valves remain closed for stroke 5, no air is added, only an injection of water. It turns to steam and powers the piston down. Stroke 6 is just like stroke 4, the exhaust, this time only water vapor is expelled. There would have to be a double lobe on the cam for the exhaust valve(s). In fact, strokes 5 & 6 would be just like strokes 3 & 4. The cam would move once for every 3 rotations of the crank.
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:31 PM
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I was a bit amazed to see that someone was claiming to have a prototype up and running. The idea came to me in an auto-tech class I took in '96, when the instructor mentioned water injection. I was thinking WTF? He didn't elaborate on it, I forget why he even mentioned it but I started thinking about what it might mean. I was pretty sure I'd have heard about a 6 stroke hybrid system if one existed and then I found out it was as you mentioned, to help with low octane fuel and I believe I recall there was some emissions benefit.

It seemed like an intriguing possibility, I mean it's well known that waste heat is big in the IC engine. But I kept thinking of reasons why it couldn't possibly work, one being the fact that the water in the pipe waiting to be injected would be pretty hot just from being in close proximity to the block. It would stay liquid under pressure of course but by the time it was injected, it would be near steam already.

As for corrosion, I can imagine there would be problems there but then again, water vapor is already present after combustion so who knows. Maybe some sort of stainless steel surface on the piston. The water would have to be aggressively filtered, some sort of carbon filter no doubt.

I dunno, it's out of my hands in a big way at this point anyway.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
The engine will reach thermal equilibrium so the parts will stay about the same temp (assuming no serious RPM's). You would get superheated steam expansion on stroke 5. The combination of heat, and water would induce corrosion like you wouldn't believe. The water would have to be totally clean of any impurities or else it would not work, you would have massive deposits from the water building up. The engine itself would probably not be able to handle the higher pressures unless it was built from scratch to do that ($$$$).

And the metallurgy required to handle the thermal shock of injecting water into a hot engine would probably be cost prohibitive if it could be done.
Damned thermodynamics is a PITA.
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:39 AM
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Well, who knows? The IC engine as is has to deal with some pretty serious issues around heat and metals.

The guy who came up with this, Crower, has been in racing for decades -- he makes custom cams for Ferraris among other things. The report I read said that engine really rocked. He's the kind of guy who can bench test for power, etc.

If this thing can actually increase mileage by 40%, and it clearly is designed to utilize waste heat, might be seeing this thing on the road one day. Since exhaust gases contain water vapor, condensers for recovery would have an even chance of recovering enough water to keep going with minimal H2O input.

This thread has reaffirmed what I already knew: don't float my breakthrough ideas until I get a prototype and patent in hand -- that and major $$. People love to tell you that this or that can't be done.

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