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Silence With Steam

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savarin

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This may be considered a frivolous and naive question (I have zero experience to go on) but is it possible to make an almost silent steam engine?
Every one I've heard has clanks, clicks and bongs and what have you from all the moving parts ringing against each other as well as the exhaust steam hissing and leaking.
Some thoughts I have had are:-
keep revs low - would cut out a lot of friction noise from slides etc
Large heavy flywheels -
No gears - gear whine is very annoying
Bearings either ball race or delrin or similar - to cut end play to the absolute minimum and remove tapping noises
Exhaust steam into a condenser - so there is no chuff chuff
No steam leaks
Is this a pointless quest?
 

Tony Wells

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I think that for most steam aficionados, all that is part of the draw, they yearn for the time before there was a "better" way, so they sit and listen and dream of times gone by, plus enjoy the fact that they built it, too.
 

Bob Korves

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A steam turbine would be quiet. Much of the noise of piston steam engines is in the inlet and exhaust valves. Or, use the heat directly by using a Sterling engine, they are quiet.
 

savarin

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I know what you mean Tony, I love steam, we used to live down the road from the Thursford steam museum where they often held traction engine rallies in those days. The smell, the noise, it very nostalgic.
One of my favourite places was the Steam museum at Kew
to see the 90 and 100 inch beam engines in steam was awesome.
 

silence dogood

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You got to keep this in perspective. I live in a small town (15,000) and about 2 dozen trains go through a day. A number of years ago UP ran their 4-6-6-4 challenger though the town. It stopped and stayed overnight much to everyones delight. The diesels, you could hear them coming before you saw them at the distance. The challenger, you saw it before you could hear it.
 

savarin

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I'm not looking at full sized engines but the sort of thing us hobby machinists could produce.
Not a miniature engine but something large enough to possibly power another small piece of equipment.
 

MonkMan

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Thanks guys, great stuff....
 
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f350ca

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As said a lot of the noise you hear is the valve train but I think most of the noise is the exhaust steam condensing. Put a steam line in a bucket of water and listen to the racket as the steam colapses. Was just talking to Bill who once owned a Stanley Steamer, they had a condenser to reclaim the boiler water. He said it was almost silent running.

Greg
 

gr8legs

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Southern pacific locomotive 4449 is housed in Portland and occasionally makes excursion runs. I got to see it as it arrived and left Salem Oregon several years ago.

It's an incredible sight - and as it pulled out of the station there was absolute silence. I was really expecting something different but the engineering that had to go into that display of massive, quiet power was very impressive.

In contrast, the annual Steamup in Brooks Oregon (aka "The Great Oregon Steam-Up", see the event page at http://antiquepowerland.com/html/steam-up.html ) has the most amazing assortment of clinking, clanking, wheezing, tooting, huffing, chuffing, snorting, sneezing, dinging and whooshing steam- and other-powered apparatus, mostly up and running and available for close inspection. Plus there's a flea market for all sorts of related and un-related stuff.

Enjoy!

Stu
 
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silence dogood

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Stu, thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories. I had grown up in the Portland area and I remember seeing the 4999 at the Oaks amusement park. In the 1950s, I wait with my father for the steam passenger train come into Union Station to pick up my grandpa ,whom was a Pullman conductor. That was a double thrill for a little boy like me. Mark
 

savarin

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these steam engines are pretty noisy, and fast
 

sgisler

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Good lord, get out of the way of that thing!
Never seen such a thing. Have any close up pix of one?


Stan,
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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I had an RC hydroplane years ago, it was crazy fast, but I don't think it was as fast as that one. Savarin, the one in the video was methanol powered, much like mine was, but mine had a small motor for the size of the boat. This was done for a reason.... to keep it from going to fast! Even so, I only ran it a few times before I got too big for my britches and tried to run it when the water was not quite smooth enough, and it ended in disaster.
 

savarin

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I dont know about the second one Terry but the first one is definitely steam.
 
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