Turbo charger based gas turbine? Currently standing on its end at the bottom
of the workshop, its nose pushed out of joint by other projects that have
taken my attention. I was stumped by not being able to spool it up to
ignition speed and am still looking for a smallish high speed electric
motor. A leaf blower just don't hack it and although it is rigged for an air
line, I don't have one rigged up and it wouldn't be a lot of use on a rally
J. Kim Siddorn,
Even earlier in fact.
See "The Gas Turbine", Hanz Holzwarth, published 1912 translated by A P
Chalkley, Charles Griffin.
Also by the same publisher in the same period (advertised inside the front
cover) "The Gas Turbine" Henry Harrison Suplee.
Sir Frank was making jets rather than shaft driven stuff that these
books refer to, and a lot of them were pretty crude (and dammed
Peter A Forbes
Prepair Ltd, Luton, UK
Yes - the first English patent for a gas turbine was in 1791 ! This
used a reciprocating compressor and probably wouldn't have worked.
Another early attempt (the first with a turbo-compressor) was in 1872.
It was built and ran, but didn't generate a useful output. Around
1895 - 1905 several steam turbine makers (Curtis in the USA, Rateau /
SCA Turbomoteurs in Frnace) tried to build large static turbines with
axial compressors and oil burners.
If you can, try and find "The Modern Gas Turbine", by Tom Sawyer, 1945
This isn't the best book on gas turbines in general, but it has the
best coverage I've seen on the pre-war ones. It's interesting how it
makes almost no distinction between turbo-supercharged diesels and
"pure" gas turbines as we know them today.
Early industrial gas turbines were used to power blower fans in blast
furnaces and oil plants. Process gas could be used as either a
pre-heated air inlet, or even a fuel source. Betweeen 1909 and the
1920's various experimental plants were used in the Thyssen company's
blast furnaces, including some powered by pulverised coal dust. The
first in America appeared in 1936, an electrical generator of 4MW,
using waste gas from a Pennsylvania oil refinery.
In the 1930's, the gas turbine was an obvious idea for theoretical
thermodynamics, and the rest was just engineering. The steam turbine
was already well established and the turbo-supercharger was becoming
viable as its metallurgy problems were solved. Leaders at the time
were Brown Boveri of Switzerland, and also Sulzer. They'd built the
Rateau turbine of 1905, the Thyssen turbine of 1928 and in 1939 built
a bomb-proof gas turbine electricity powerstation of 4MW at Neuchatel.
In 1941, during the war itself, they also built their famous 2000hp
gas turbine railway locomotive.
All these gas turbine plants were crude though. They were big, heavy
and had low outputs, let alone power to weight ratios. Their huge
rotating mass made control simpler, as they were effectively
self-governing by mere windage losses. Whittle didn't invent the gas
turbine, he was the guy who saw that they could also be made
lightweight and suitable for aircraft. he had no problem at all in
making one, and making it work - his problems started when he needed
to stop it either running away, or overheating.
Another interesting little book on early gast turbines is C. Geoffrey
Smith's "Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion for Aircraft". Mine is the
3rd edition, of 1945. Earlier editions were wartime production and
didn't discuss Whittle in quite such detail! It's a good book on
aircraft like the Italian Campini, an early "jet" that used a piston
engine to drive the compressor.