HOW TO MAKE A MODEL HOT-AIR ENGINE
"closed" cycle and the "open" cycle. Theformer deals with a given quantity of air whichis locked up in the apparatus, and which isheated and cooled down alternately. Thissystem is the one which the writer lias adoptedfor the model illustrated herewith. As will beseen by the explanatory diagram, Fig. 2, twocylinders are employed, the larger one (thedisplacer cylinder) being closed at both ends,and the smaller (power) cylinder open at oneend. The closed end of the power cylinder isconnected by a pipe to the displacer cylinder.Inside the displacer cylinder is a large drumor piston which does not quite fit the cylinder.The function of this piston is to force the airfrom one end of the displacer cylinder to theother, the upper end being cooled by a water jacket, the lower end being placed in thefurnace and subjected to the heat of the fireor lamp. This action, of course, causes the airto expand and contract, and therefore toforce out or relieve the pressure from thepiston in the power cylinder. In Fig. 2 thedisplacer piston is at the top of its stroke, and
FIG. 3.—HOW a hot-air engine works—the power stroke.
the air is in contact with the walls of thecylinder which are being heated by the lamp.The air expands and forces down the powerpiston. At the end of the power stroke thedisplacer piston moves downward, the crank of this pistonjbeing placed at right angles to thepower crank. The air passes to the upper endof the displacer cylinder through the spacebetween piston and cylinder |walls and iscooled. Fig. 3 shows this action at the mostfavourable point of the stroke, the air con-tracting and relieving the pressure on thepower piston. The process is repeated withevery revolution of the engine. The fireprovides for the heating and expansion, andthe cold water for the extraction of the heatand contraction of the working medium, viz.,the given amount of air trapped in the apparatus.Both require constant replenishing, and whatis just as important, the air in the cylindersmust have no chance of getting out. The dis-placer cylinder and piston must be quite air-FIG. 3.—How a hot-air engine works—the suction stroke.tight, the gland and the power piston mustbe in the same condition, and at the same timework quite freely. The variation in pressurein a hot-air engine is very small—one or twopounds per square inch—and therefore frictionmust be reduced to the minimum.But to come to the construction of a workingmodel hot-air engine, which is the
of this article. No expensive materialsare required, and no castings, except one forthe flywheel. A collection of tinned iron cans,some strip and flat brass, steel wire for shaftsand piston-rods, a short length of 3/16" copperpipe, and some drawn tube for the powerpiston and cylinder, should be made beforecommencing the work. With regard to thetins the sizes of the displacer, cylinder, and itsfurnace and water-jacket may have to bemodified to suit the supplies, but a Lyle's2lb. syrup tin would work well for furnace
and a stout air-tight canister 2-1/2" dia. by
FIG. 4.—A suggested implement for cutting round holesin end of tin canister.
4-1/4" high for the displacer cylinder. The dis-placer piston should not be more than 2-1/4"diameter by 2-1/16" high. The joints of thecylinder should all be rolled joints. The