Steam Engine

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Project Steam Engine[edit]

Build a working model of a steam engine from commonly available parts. The task was originally to make a steam engine, but that was soon modified into making a air pressure engine. Making a steam engine had several complication that made it to dangerous to make. It was decided that air pressure would be safer and easier to control.


The group found several diagrams that the design was pulled from.

Design 1
Design 2
Design 3


For the design of the design of this engine we decided to going with a double acting piston design. A double acting piston is a engine that is designed to have the piston under constant pressure. This is done by having the air-lets switch every time the piston reacts the end of its travel. This then creates a piston that can act on its on without it having to use a flywheel to bring it back to its starting position.

As far as the design in this project we had to design was the piston cylinder, some type of air pressure switching device, a flywheel, and something that would turn the reciprocating motion of the piston arm into the circularly motion that is needed to make the flywheel move.

The design for the piston cylinder was easy to make. After studying a couple designs it was determined that we would make a double acting piston add which needs two airport and a some type of switching valve connected to that and after know that we made one using PVC.

Piston Cylinder

Next step was to create a piston to power the system.

Piston head design 1.

This piston head was created using a 1-1/4" PVC cape, a 1-1/4"x 1/2" bushing and electrical tape. This piston failed because it was to heavy and the wide piece o electrical tape created too much friction.

Piston Head design 2.

This piston head was designed to reduce weight and friction compared to #1. This was done by using two 2" washers as the piston head. However, the washers diameter to small compared to the piston cylinder so like on #1 electrical tape was added to compensate. This worked better then before because this time tape was folded over the washers so only a small part made contract. However this head soon failed because the grease that was add to reduce friction, degraded the adhesive of the tape.

Piston Head Design 3.

This is basically the same as piston head #2 but this head uses duck tape instead of electrical tape. However this head failed for the same reasons as #2

Piston head design 4.

Same as #2-3 but this time we used Tyvek tape because it is the thinnest. However, this piston head failed as well, It failed because the tape was to rigid and ended up making the Piston head get stuck.

Piston head design 5.

After 3 failed attempts using tape to decrease the difference in circumference from the piston head and the piston cylinder we decided to do something differently. This time we decided to sandwich a piece of felt; the was cut to be a same circumference a the piston cylinder; between the two 2" washers. This works the best of all of the piston heads because the felt is more malleable it is able of compensate for the imperfections in the piston cylinder but at the same time withstand high pressure without failing.

Once the piston head was completed the next step was to make a pressure switching valve. The basic idea behind the pressure switch valve is the there is one air inlet and one exhausted, once the piston has reacted the end of its travel the pressure switch valve is meant to switch the inlet to the exhaust and the exhaust to the inlet. it was originally planned to make this on a 3D printer but because we had already started to make the engine out of PVC it was decided that we would make the pressure switching valve out of PVC components as well. First we

Over the course of the project span we have been looking for way to implement our project to impact the daily life of the Planet. Our research has focused on the low cost and limited amount of change that has to be performed to make a huge improvement on the Earth’s environmental status. At the end of our team’s time together we focused solely on the #1 environmental pollution machines in use worldwide today. That machine is the combustion engine.


Research performed shows that the combustion engine uses a petroleum product, gasoline, coupled with an electrical spark to create the force (Pascal) required to force the piston downward turning the crank shaft through the connection rods . The rotary motion of the crank shaft is transferred to the fly wheel from the crank shaft output shaft. This is the primary basic energy transference that all combustion engines use to perform work. The byproduct of the combustion engine is carbon dioxide.

With the amount of combustion engines in use right now and the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere being recorded at higher and high levels. The replacement of the combustion aspect of the engine may be the only realistic approach to maintain the earth’s inhabitability. Our team looked at the possibility of replacing the combustion portion of the engine with compressed air as the force (psi) that will propel the work that will be created from the engine.

Research has taught us that the amount of force derived from a combustion inside of an engine can be measured by the formula A=3.1467*(diameter squared/4). The diameter is from the diameter of the piston in use for that particular combustion engine. This formula as we understand it can then be converted into force F=100,000(A). This will give you the amount of Pascal being provided by that particular combustion reaction. A Pascal is equivalent to .000145037738 psi (pounds per square inch). So if you multiply the force generated by the combustion by 0 .000145037738 you will know the actual PSI of compressed air needed to replace the combustion reaction. This will intern allow you to figure out the exact amount of compressed air to be pumped into each cylinder chamber.

We figure this is the solution to an environmental answer to the combustion engine.