--Remember the time they tried to make an I.C. engine run on
gunpowder? A bunch of us were talking about this the other day and we seemed
to have vague memories of this actually working once, maybe in the 1800s.
Anyone got a reference? Also looking for anything on engines running on
acetylene. Fear not! Not going to put one in my car; just thinking of the
pyrotechnic spinoff for a *very* remote location, heh.
My dad tells of his remembrance of his grandfather trying to get Model T
engines to run on nitroglycerin. This was on a very large ranch back in
the 30's, when and where having explosives around was not considered a
big deal. He was just a pup and doesn't recall much more than his
grandfather got an engine to idle, but any attempt to run above idle
would blow the engines. He said there was a pile of engines outside the
barn with a variety of failures you would not expect to see in an
engine. Would give about anything to have a good picture of that pile...
> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 --Remember the time they tried to make an I.C. engine run= on
> gunpowder? A bunch of us were talking about this the other day and we see= med
> to have vague memories of this actually working once, maybe in the 1800s.
> Anyone got a reference? Also looking for anything on engines running on
> acetylene. Fear not! Not going to put one in my car; just thinking of the
> pyrotechnic spinoff for a *very* remote location, heh.
> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 "Steamboat Ed" Haas =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 : =A0Never thought I'= d live to see
> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 Hacking the Trailing Edge! =A0: =A0our "iron curtain" cru= mble...
> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0www.nmpproducts.com
> =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0---Decks a-wash in a sea of words-=
That's a Kauffmann starter, also used in a lot of aircraft up to the
F-4, at least. it was a pretty big shell (at least for an F-4) with a
SLOW-burning powder. it would give about 15 seconds of continuous gas
"Jon Anderson" wrote: (clip) his
What his grandfather didn't understand is that you don't want the charge in
the cylinder to *explode*. You want it to burn as evenly as possible on the
power stroke. That is what anti-knock is all about.
He was injured in the explosion (for the second time in his life; the first
time was when a steam engine of his design, which used ammonia for a working
medium, blew up on him), but it didn't kill him. He was lost overboard on a
steamship -- possibly a suicide.
And how do you -know- he didn't understand that?
He got the engines to run, which meant the nitro was burning. He just
couldn't control things well enough to do much beyond that. Admittedly,
it was shade tree engineering. But I'd bet money if Great-Grandpa were
around to be questioned, he would certainly know the difference between
burning and exploding with respect to internal combustion engines.
Yep, The common one many people see is the Field Marshall Diesel with
the shotgun start option. It was a brass 12 gauge shell. Primer, powder
and a wax seal disc. You opened the starting port, remove the old shell,
then install the new one. Screw the top back on the port. Hit the
striker with a hammer to fire the shell. Then stand back and watch the
engine jump (single BIG piston diesel) the nose of the tractor.
Wafting a oxy-act torch (with the act. valve open) in front of a
reluctant engine is an old trick however, my experience is that it can
result in broken rings as acetylene does not apparently have a very
high octane rating.
I have read a reference to R. Diesel's original engine, that ran on
coal dust, saying something like "the second model was redesigned to
run on coal oil in an effort to produce an engine that did not self
destruct". Words to that effect, anyway.
I think it's a fair assumption, since the fuel he chose is highly explosive.
Even gasoline can suffer pre-ignition (sometimes incorrectly called
"detonation") which will damage the engine if allowed to continue. This is
the reason for anti-knock additives, and in modern cars, automatic ignition
Don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing what he did. He was doing this at
a time when a lot of people didn't know a lot of the things that we know
Admittedly, it was shade tree engineering. But I'd bet money if
It's pointless to argue over a question that can't be settled. It still
leaves me pondering about what he hoped to accomplish, since Model T's were
running pretty well on gasoline.
There was also a "shotgun" starter that used a blank shell of some
sort. I never saw one but I remember in tech school a reference to one
being used by the Navy in some of their early recip engines.
Apparenttly it went off with a bang as opposed to the Kaufman.
That's one thing Dad never learned. I suspect it was just one of those
"I wonder if this might work" things. Would never have been practical
for general use. Imagine a collision resulting in both vehicles blown to
bits or someone running into a 'nitro pump' and leveling the whole block....
What's funny about it to me is that Great Grandpa never transitioned
well into automobiles. His first move in trying to get a car to stop was
to yell "Whoa..."