Crash Course in Steam

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Main > Energy > Steam Engine


See Spirax Scarco Steam Engineering Tutorial. [1]


Pressure = force per area.

Work = force times distance.

Power = work per time.

These three get you the power output of a steam engine. The distance in a steam engine is the length of the stroke. The force is the pressure times cylinder area.

Work is energy.

Solar power is 1 kW per meter squared.

Study the enthalpy of water, heat of fusion of water, and enthalpy of steam. Then tell me how much energy is required to convert water to steam at a certain temperature and pressure.

Then note that the RATE is what matters. Rate is power, or energy over time.

Choose your units, and then you can tell me:

  1. How much steam can be generated from a given energy.
  2. How much time it will take to do #1 if you know the rate of energy input (power input)
  3. How much solar steam you should generate from a certain rate of solar power input
  4. How much power is obtained from the steam you generate when running through the engine.

Ie, you're now able to tell me how much power you will get from a given heat input. There's the ideal value - and the real value.

If you can do all of the above, then you know more than 99% of people who call themselves steam experts.

Spend a few hours on the above, and you will have steam literacy, and you will get excited about your ability to make theoretical calculations plus the encouraging results that these calculations enable you to make.

This concludes a crash course in steam. Let me know if this is at your level, or what else you need to know to perfect your ability to make steam calculations.