Turbine Development Log
Fabrication Response from Multimachine Yahoo Group
Re: [multimachine] open product development
I saw the pictures, and immediately recognize this as a tesla turbine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_turbine , which was patented in 1913.
The main issue with the viability of the tesla turbine is (quoting the above link): "An efficient Tesla turbine requires close spacing of the disks. For example, a steam-powered type must maintain 0.4 millimeter inter-disk spacing. Disks must also be maximally thin to prevent drag and turbulence at disk edges. Unfortunately, preventing disks from warping and distorting was a major challenge in Tesla's time. It is thought that this inability to prevent the disks distorting contributed to the commercial failure of the turbines, because metallurgical technology at the time was not able to produce disks of sufficient quality and rigidity."
Another fundmental design issue is: [edited quote from the above link]: "the efficiency of the Tesla turbine goes down with increased load, because under load, the number of rotations drops and the spiral becomes progressively shorter. This increases the shear losses and reduces the efficiency."
However, it does seem you can buy kits for these beasts eg: http://www.teslaengine.org/main.html