Water injection

This is a pretty broad Church & I thought you might be interested in the following.
Water injection
It was pretty well known in the 20-30's. My dad was a mechanic and then a
service engineer & drove throughout the war - very unusual in war torn Britain! Fuel was poor, getting worse and ever harder to get hold of. He experimented with a cobbled-together water injection system, a very simple device that dripped water through a fine bore copper pipe first into the carb post airfilter and then through a union in the manifold post carb. The small tank of water was screwed to the bulkhead in the engine compartment and a loop of the supply pipe came inside the car so he could adjust the tap as he drove.
He told me that it definitely made a difference and improved running on Pool Petrol (about 70 Octane) considerably. Pinking vanished, the engine produced more power and ran more smoothly.
He thought - and so do I - that the results were down to a number of quite simple factors.
Upon combustion, the water flashes to steam, causing an abrupt rise in combustion pressure, effectively raising the compression ratio whilst at the same time causing the temperature of the exploding mixture to drop equally sharply. As the flame front reaches the edge of the combustion space, the relatively cold metal around the hot gas cloud starts to condense out the water again.
All his experiments were empirical and he kept no notes. Finally, I recall that he said that he'd always turn it off a mile or so from home to allow the cylinder walls to stay oily overnight.
Max Lambky added the following.
During the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time moving my mother-in-law from San Diego, California to Wichita, Kansas, and getting her situated. In the course of moving her mom's things back here, Patti ran across this letter written by her grandfather to the Lear-Siegler Corporation. For those who don't know, that corporation was formed by Mr. Lear here in Wichita for the purpose of building a small corporate commuter jet. I found it interesting, maybe you will too.
January 16, 1970
Lear-Siegler Corporation Bogen Communications Division Rt. 4 and Forest Avenue P.O. Box 500 Paramus, New Jersey 07652
Attention: Mr. Lear
Gentlemen:
In the year 1920, I was hired to sell a "gadget" that was supposed to duplicate the condition of a motor operating in a fog. This was a condition which caused the internal combustion motor to run as smoothly as a steam engine.
This "gadget" was purported to eliminate carbon deposits. I covered a territory "up hill and down dale" on country roads, before the days of paving. I drove two hundred and forty five miles from San Antonio to Kerrville, Texas and return. In this two hundred and forty five mile drive the engine consumed only about five gallons of gasoline. At that time only white gasoline was in use, with no additives. This engine did not have a water pump, I removed the fan belt and manually injected water, cooling the engine internally.
On returning to San Antonio, I took off the cylinder head to inspect the inside of the engine and dropped the crank case pan and removed one of the pistons to inspect the bottom of the piston head. There was not one particle of carbon either inside the engine or under the piston head. On the contrary, the interior was light reddish brown color, indicating that the engine had been hot enough to get thorough combustion without excessive heat. This gadget was constructed to inject water from the radiator into the intake manifold by a thumb screw on a needle valve to regulate the flow of water. I conceived the idea of automatic regulation of the water flow through thermal control regulated by the heat of the engine, subject to increase and decrease of the throttle control.
In order to get a smooth running engine, I cut the gasoline down to where I had a lean mixture which caused excessive premature ignition, then using the water injection to counteract this premature ignition as is accomplished in using Ethyl gasoline in a modern engine used today. In accomplishing this I was not spewing lead into the air aiding pollution. On the contrary the exhaust from the engine was pure carbon dioxide without carbon monoxide.
The motor I used was a 1918 Model T. This model did not have a generator, but was run off of a fly wheel magneto. This engine would ordinarily get only eighteen or twenty miles to a gallon of gas.
To further find out what I had discovered, I ran out all of the gasoline in the tank and put in a measured gallon of gasoline, and on a straight paved road I traveled seventy miles before I ran out of fuel, going at a speed of forty miles per hour.
I conducted other experiments which convinced me the possibilities of constructing a compound internal combustion engine, as the poppet valve exhausting the gases from the first expansion to the second expansion cylinder would not be burned, because of the control of the heat of the combustion inside the engine.
I have a set of tracings I made at that time which indicate a possible design for this engine. The value of these tracings is to indicate the theoretical possibility of this engine and not the practical design.
I had a search made of the patent office records to learn the possibility of securing a patent. I received from the patent office a copy of letters patent issued to a German inventor about the year 1875, who had the same idea only he had shown it used in a single cylinder stationary gas engine. However you might investigate the possibility of a patent on a compound engine which would eliminate the pollution of the atmosphere.
If you are interested I will send you a copy of the tracings I have picturing this internal combustion compound expansion steam engine.
Now, this may surprise you. I am not asking any remuneration for this. If you can remove pollution from our atmosphere you are welcome to what I have discovered. You may find yourself opposed by oil companies because of the enormous increase of utilization of 57% of the BTU content in the fuel in contrast to the 17 % BTU being utilized now. The chemical companies will not like elimination of their additives to fuel used.
Respectfully Yours,
Charles E. Patrick, Sr.138 North Poplar, Wichita, Kansas 7214
I asked for permission to run it in our newsletter & Max said ...
Sure go ahead. Patti's grandpa, Charles Edward Patrick (b. 1892) was a colorful sort. Of Irish heritage with a sprinkling of American Cherokee Indian. In his early years tried prospecting for gold. Spoke fluent Spanish, no accent, as he learned it from a Mexican woman who mothered him after his natural mother died in childbirth. Limited education, (sixth grade). Put all of his sons through college. All three sons served in the military during WWII. Through on the job experience he learned the trade of Tool and Die. Worked at Cessna Aircraft here in Wichita as a tool designer for many years.
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Regards,



Kim Siddorn
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combustion pressure, effectively raising the compression ratio
I would have thought that raising the compression ratio when using 'pool petrol' would have the wrong effect!! Water injection (or better described as crudely dripping into the manifold) seemed to have worked on early International engines. IIRC the handbook suggested introducing water when the engine was under heavy load, hot and starting to knock.
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Kim,
My lister M has factory fitted water injection to be used when running on paraffin.
Martin P

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Probably on similar lines as this Vix gadget.
http://good-times.webshots.com/album/569486252yViISB
............and from Oct. 1927
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=itgDAAAAMBAJ&pg=RA1-PA173&lpg=RA1-PA173&dq=vix+water+vapouriser+fuel&source=bl&ots=0DXhc9ZK12&sig=CCQt6AKSCAownl_CFDVoX80Dwbw&hl=en&ei=24NITY_tM42JhQeGtan0BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&sqi=2&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false (Sorry for the long address).
I was given it sometime ago but never got round to doing anything with it. I presume it is complete, or very nearly. If you are in curious or experimental mode, Kim, you are welcome to it. F.O.C. naturally!
Regards,DJC.
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I just love that American advert!
Clearly Walter Critchlow had no idea why 'his' invention worked by making Ford engines run smoother or at least, is not prepared to give an explanation in his advertisement.
Hats off to him for trying to make a fast buck though!
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Snipped.
Was there not someone selling something to do this in the early middle sixties? ISTR adverts in the motor magazines of the time.
Mark.
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
something like:
<cf water injection kits>

There certainly was, I recall them well. Turns out it's not snake oil at all, as I thought it might have been at the time. On looking it up, back then, I discovered the idea had been around for ages (as mentioned in Kim's post) and did actually work. I'd be very doubtful of the claim from an improvement from 28 to 70mpg, though. With the best will in the world, an improvement gadgeteer often unconsciously drives like a granny to 'prove' their claim. Since the advent of the supercharger, water injection was found to be useful to control detonation and cylinder temperatures; I'm reminded of the work done by RR on the Merlin, etc, to provide full emergency power without blowing the thing up.
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