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Watt´s steam engine (18th century)

Watt´s steam engine (18th century)

The steam engine, perfected by the Scottish engineer James Watt, revolutionised technology.

History

Keywords

James Watt, steam engine, invention, boiler, piston, valve, steam, pump, engineer, technology, energy, water

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Questions

  • Is it true that the Industrial Revolution started in the US?
  • Is it true that the Industrial Revolution started in the 1760s in England?
  • Is it true that James Watt perfected the universal steam engine?
  • Is it true that James Watt invented the steam engine?
  • Where were steam engines not used in large numbers?
  • Which one of these was not a precondition of the Industrial Revolution?
  • Which of these was not a result of the Industrial Revolution?
  • Which one was not a part of the Watt universal steam engine?
  • Which one was not a part of the Watt universal steam engine?
  • Which inventor did not experiment with steam power?
  • Who was one of Watt´s contemporaries?
  • Who was not one of Watt´s contemporaries?
  • Which of these was not powered by a steam engine?
  • In which industry in England were modern machines used first?
  • What was the most important power source of steam engines?
  • Who was the scientist of ancient times who invented a primitive steam engine called the ‘aeolipile’?
  • When was steam power discovered and utilised first?
  • Where was Watt´s workshop situated?
  • Where was James Watt born?

Scenes

Steam engine

Cutaway

  • boiler - The water boils and evaporates in it, and the resulting steam is used for work. Thus, the steam engine converts heat energy into mechanical work.
  • double acting piston - It is moved by steam. It was one of Watt's innovations (in addition to the external condenser): the vapour was conducted both into the space above and under this part. This is more efficient than conducting the vapour only in the space below the part and to allow the raised part to slide back by its own weight when the pressure drops (as was the case in earlier steam engines).
  • condenser - One of Watt's innovations; in addition to the double acting piston. Its purpose is that the steam is conveyed out of the cylinder in which the piston moves and condensed here, that is, it liquefies. Previously, this took place within the cylinder, which was cooled down there. Part of the heat energy of the steam was used to heat the cylinder again. Watt's improvement helped to save this energy.
  • driven wheel - Steam engines were used to drive numerous devices.

Piston

  • valves - The movement of the steam engine drives them.
  • inflowing steam

James Watt

Animation

  • boiler - The water boils and evaporates in it, and the resulting steam is used for work. Thus, the steam engine converts heat energy into mechanical work.
  • double acting piston - It is moved by steam. It was one of Watt's innovations (in addition to the external condenser): the vapour was conducted both into the space above and under this part. This is more efficient than conducting the vapour only in the space below the part and to allow the raised part to slide back by its own weight when the pressure drops (as was the case in earlier steam engines).
  • condenser - One of Watt's innovations; in addition to the double acting piston. Its purpose is that the steam is conveyed out of the cylinder in which the piston moves and condensed here, that is, it liquefies. Previously, this took place within the cylinder, which was cooled down there. Part of the heat energy of the steam was used to heat the cylinder again. Watt's improvement helped to save this energy.
  • driven wheel - Steam engines were used to drive numerous devices.

Condenser

  • pump - The coordinated movement of the piston and valves returns the water from the condenser into the boiler.
  • water
  • condensing steam - It flows from the cylinder into the condenser, then the water is pumped back into the boiler.

Narration

A steam engine is a heat engine that transforms the energy of steam into mechanical work.
The first recorded steam engine was the ‘aeolipile’, invented by Hero of Alexandria. However, the heyday of the steam engine was in the modern age.
At the end of the 17th century, Denis Papin constructed the first steam machine that contained a safety valve. His contemporaries, Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen, built the first steam machines for industrial use in England. The steam engine was then improved and its field of application widened by the Scottish engineer and inventor James Watt.

The base of his structure was a boiler. The fire in the boiler heated the water and produced steam, which was then conveyed to the piston rod by a steam pipe. It was here that steam energy was transformed into vertical motion with valves. This motion could easily be transformed into rotating motion; thus the steam engine that was initially only used for powering mine pumps could be used for other mechanical work.

Watt conducted his first experiments in his small workshop at Glasgow University.
Later, with investors supporting his work, he established a flourishing company, registered several successful patents and built thousands of operating steam machines. Over the years, Watt continuously improved the design, making it more effective and economical. The most important of his improvements was the use of an outer condenser, a device to convert steam to water for reuse. James Watt's invention introduced new possibilities for the application of steam machines. Historians consider the registering of his first patent in 1769 to be the beginning of the industrial revolution.

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