ENTRY # 14 The Reciprocker - an improvable contrivance for turning solar heat into electricity
gerald hantusch posted on March 29, 2010 | 6435 views
ENTRY # 14 THE “DADYRECIPROCKER” - an improvable contrivance to convert “solar heat” into electricity.

Years ago, when I was an R&D engineer, I had an experimental budget and access to a model shop that built contrivances at my instigation, from my sketches, plans and instructions . . . happy days, but now I have no budget, and have to build my own models – when I can. I will soon have a working “solar concentrator” to boil water and raise steam, so it is time to consider the next step.

I have already floated, here on “IDEAS II”, the idea of building a kind of steam-driven direct impulse “Pelton Wheel”, which would simply vent the jets of hot air or steam onto Pelton-blades, and into the atmosphere. Messy, noisy, and inefficient – I might as well try use one of those ANCIENT-GREEK HERO OF ALEXANDRIA TWO-JET SPINNING SPHERES, for all the power THAT could generate . . . So – to meet ALL the constraints, engineering, economical and otherwise, I did some serious head-scratching, and came-up with a conceptual contrivance that will do a bit more.

The technical name for this “innovation concept” would be :

Double-acting double-yoked reciprocator

Double-Acting Double- Yoked RECIPROCator


I have posted three diagram-files among the “IDEAS II” Group Files, available for “public access”. These divulge all necessary technical details – and anyone interested can “take it from there”.

When “Steam Engine Time” began, sometime in the 17-hundreds, a man called Newcomen rigged up a steam-pump, to draw water from mines. This used the power of “enclosed steam” to move a piston in a cylinder filled with steam, a piston which was cleverly coupled to the piston and chamber of a water-pump. Such water-pumps were well-known, but would otherwise have to be powered by a team of horses or brawny men. After each stroke, the steam was collapsed back into a vacuum, using cold water directly injected into the steam-piston cylinder. An employed hired-help person, “a boy”, had to stay on hand to activate the valves and other bits&bobs. Later, “a sage arose” who invented a simple valve mechanism, and, presumably, allowed “the Boss” to save on the hired-help payroll.

When the steam-idea was later taken up and improved by James Watt et al. , they used reciprocating steam-pistons coupled to cranks or epicyclic gears to turn wheels – and from then on, steam-engines produced ROTARY rather than RECIPROCATORY work. Direct harnessing of a reciprocator had become discredited.

In my proposed conceptual “dadyreciprocker” I return to this unfashionable idea, for good and sufficient reason. The operative word in this “technical disclosure” is : IMPROVABLE !

To turn this concept into a working embodiment, we need to construct a pressure-sustaining double cylinder, pierced to take the shaft of a double-acting piston-set, i.e. of two discs set in-line upon the single long shaft, which necessarily protrudes from both ends of the cylinder, but also slides backwards and forwards through the “middle”, - which separates the steam and the working fluid being pumped. Further, we need to decide: do we use an incompressible hydraulic fluid to drive our output turbine, or do we rather use “compressed air”? . . . we would have to circulate hydraulic fluid, but we could probably draw-in AIR through filters, and dump it after passing through the turbine. Air is cheaper than hydraulic fluid. Air is available wherever humans live and breathe !

In my diagrams, I show EIGHT identical “on-off”-valves, suitably emplaced. Obviously, the same necessary valvulation-function could be done more cheaply using only FOUR binary either/or valves. The on-off valves have only one advantage – they could be set-up as part of a more sophisticated control system, allowing steam to enter in a short pulse, therafter to EXPAND in a closed volume fraction. In a simple/unsophisticated experimental rig, we would have to decide the cross-sections of the two halves of the double cylinder. They simply have to be yoked to the same langth of stroke – but if we decide to use compressed air, it may make sense to make the “air-chamber volume” much greater than the steam-cylinder volume. Questions, questions, questions – and only experiment and monitoring can produce workable answers.

In an ideal world, some SPONSOR would allocate me the necessary funds to do/supervise a set of development experiments. In the real world, I shall carry on as I have been doing, and I seriously hope to end up with a simple, cost-effective, “work-first-time” contrivance, elaborated in my garage, using my own hands, time and funds. After all, I came up with a rather nifty way to build solar concentrators more cheaply . . . Dream on, “”Old Man”, you well may say !

Recommended For You