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Water Motors

WATER MOTORS. The subject of hydraulic transmission of power is treated generally under POWER TRANSMISSION (Hydraulic), and the present article is confined to water motors.

Hydraulic Lifts. The direct-acting lift is perhaps the simplest of all machines using pressure-water, but as the height of the lift increases, certain problems in construction become exceedingly difficult to cope with, notably those due to the great increase in the weight and displacement of the ram. In fact, with a simple ram it is not possible to lift beyond a certain height with a given pressure and load. It becomes, therefore, necessary to balance in some way the varying displacement of the ram if economy is to be secured in the working: this is often done by the use of counter-weights attached to chains travelling over head sheaves, but this largely destroys the simplicity and safety of the direct-acting lift, and hence some form of hydraulic balancing is more satisfactory and more certain.

In one form, shown in fig. I, the lift cylinder is in hydraulic connexion with a pair of short cylinders placed one above the other, the pistons working in them being connected together by a common rod. Below the piston of the upper cylinder is an annular space E (surrounding the common piston rod) with a capacity equal to the maximum displacement of the liftram, while the corresponding annular area C of the piston of the lower cylinder is just large enough when subjected to the working water pressure to enable the work of lifting the net load to be done and any friction to be overcome. The area B of the top side of the upper piston is proportioned in suet a way that when under the ful water pressure the dead weight ol the ram and cage is just balancec when the former is at the bottom of its stroke. With this arrangement the lift - ram and the two balance pistons are always in equilibrium, or, in other words, the ever-changing displacement of the lift-ram is automatically in balance To work the lift, pressure- water is admitted to the annular space C above the lower of the two balance pistons (the space B above the upper one is always in communication with the pressure- water), and tht combined pressure on the two pis tons is sufficient to lift the cage ram and load. As the ram ascend' it apparently increases in weight but this is balanced by the greate pressure on the two balance piston as they descend, owing to the in crease of the head of water acting on them. To allow the lift-ram to descend, the pressure-water in ( above the lower balance piston i discharged through the exhaust inti the drain, while that above th upper piston is simply pushed bad into the pressure main. As ar illustration of the economy of thi system, it may be mentioned tha in one lift having a 6-in. ram with i lift of 90 ft., the working load bein I ton and the maximum workin; speed 1 80 ft. a minute, the quantit of pressure-water used per journey o 90 ft. was reduced from 109 to 24 gallons by the use of this method of balancing.

In another system of hydraulic balance (fig. 2) the ram A has a annular area so proportioned that when it is connected with th water in an elevated tank (usually placed somewhere in the roof o the building), the hydraulic pressure upon it just balances the weigh of the ram and cage. Here again, since the intensity of the pressur on A becomes greater as it descends owing to the increased head, th apparent increase of weight of the lift-ram as it rises is automatical!' balanced ; water from the high-pressure system is admitted dow the hollow ram B and does the work of lifting the live load.

Since the introduction of deep-level electric railways in Londo nd elsewhere, hydraulic passenger lifts on a large scale have been irought into use for conveying passengers up and down from the treet level to the underground stations.

Direct-acting Water Motors. Owing to the difficulty of securing a durable motor with a simple and trustworthy means of automatically regulating the quantity of water used o the power needed at various times from he motor, not much advance has been ecently made in the use of water motors with reciprocating rams or pistons. Probably the most successful one has been a otary engine invented by Mr Arthur Rigg. 1 In this engine the stroke, and therefore the amount of water used, can be varied either by land or by a governor while it is running; the speed can also be varied, very high rates, as much as 600 revolutions a minute, being attainable without the question of shock or vibration jecoming troublesome. The cylinders are cast n one piece with a circular valve, and rotate about a main stud S (fig. 3), while their alungers are connected to a disk crank which rotates above the point O, which is the centre of the main crank; O S being the crank length or half stroke of the engine, any variation in its length will vary the power of Che engine and at the same time the quantity of water used.

The movement of S is obtained by means of a relay engine, in which there are two rams of different qiameters; a constant pressure is always acting on the smaller of these when the motor is at work, while the governor (or handpower if desired) admits or exhausts pressurewater from the face of the other, and the movements to and fro thus given to the two rams alter the position of the stud S, and thus change the stroke of the plungers of the main engine. Fig. 4 gives an outside view of a 3O-H.P. engine capable of using water at a pressure of 700 ft per sq.

in.; the governor is carried within the driving pulley shown at the right-hand end, while the working revolving cylinders are carried insic'e the boxed-in flywheel at the left-hand end, the relay cylinder and its attachments being fixed to the bed-plate in front of the flywheel. On a test one of these engines gave an efficiency or duty of 80%.

Water Wheels. The Pelton water wheel (fig. 5) has proved a most successful motor when very high heads are available, heads of 2000 feet having been used occasionally. Such machines have been extensively employed in America, and have also lately been used in Great Britain, worked by the high-pressure water supplied in large towns.

The wheel carries a series of cups placed at egual distances around the circumference. A jet or jets of water impinge on the cups, the interiors of which are shaped in such a way that the jet is discharged parallel to its original direction. If the linear velocity of the cups in feet a second is Vi, and the linear velocity of the jet is \t, then the velocity of the jet relative to the cup is V z Vi feet a second, and if the whole energy of the water is to be given up to the cups, the water must leave the cup with zero absolute velocity. But its velocity relative to the cup, as it passes backwards, is (V 2 Vi), and since the forward velocity of the cup is Vi, the absolute velocity of the water is -(V 2 -y,)+V,or2V I -V ? . This will become zero if Vi is |V 2 , that is, if the linear velocity of the cupcentres is one-half that of the jet of water impinging upon them. The theoretical efficiency of the wheel would then be 1 00%. The actual efficiency of these wheels when used with high FIG. 3. Section of Rigg's WaterEngine.

falls is from 80 to 86%; when WI1CC13 W1ICTII UO^VJ *ci *&" - used in connexion with high-pressure water in London an el 1 This engine was fully described in Engineering, vol. xlv p. 61.

of 70% has been obtained, and when a dynamo is driven directly by them about 66 % of the hydraulic energy has been converted into electric energy.

Pelton wheels are very sensitive to variation of load, and considerable trouble was experienced at first in securing adequate FIG. 4. External View of Rigg's Water-Engine. l governing when they were used to generate electric energy; but this difficulty has been overcome, and they have been rendered most efficient machines for use with high falls, where ordinary turbines would be difficult to manage owing to the excessive speed at which they would run. In a small installation in the United States water is brought in a 36-in. pipe a distance of 1800 ft., and supplies six Pelton wheels each 28 in. in diameter, running at 135 revolutions a minute under a head of 130 ft. The total power developed is 600 H.P., and though the load factor varies very greatly in this case, the differential type of governor used secures perfect control of the running of the wheels.

Turbines. The turbine has now become one of the most efficient of the prime movers employed by man, and in the United States of America and on the continent of Europe 2 its use has enormously increased of recent years. Though no radical changes have been made in the design of turbines for some years, an immense amount of skill and ingenuity has been shown in perfecting and improving details, and such machines of great size and power are now constantly being made, and give every satisfaction when in use.

In the " Hercules " turbine, shown in fig. 6, the flow is what is called mixed, that is, it is partly a radial inward and partly an axial flow machine. On entering, the water flows at first in a radial direction, and then gradually, as it passes through the wheel, it receives a downward component which becomes more and more important. Professor Thurston has published the results of a test 1 This and some of the other drawings have been taken from Blaine's Hydraulic Machinery.

* The following statistics of turbine construction in Switzerland arc taken from Schweizerische Bauzeitung (IQOI), p. 128, which, in the same volume at p. 53, contains a valuable article on the most important improvements in turbines and their regulation shown in the Paris Exhibition of 1901 :

FIG. 5. Pelton Wheel.


Number of Turbines.

Total H.P.

Averaee H.P 1844-1869 1869-1879 1879-1889 1889-1899 Totals 767 1006 1840 2231 36,894 66,688 133.579 400,474 48 661 72* I79J 5844 637.635 of one of these, which gave an efficiency of 87 % at full load and 70% at about three-fifths full load.

Another turbine of the mixed flow type is the " Victor," which consists of three parts the outer guide case, and, inside this, the register gate, and the wheel. The gate regulates the speed of the wheel by varying the quantity of water ; when fully open it merely forms a continuation of the guide passages, and thus offers no obstruction to the flow of the water, but by giving it a movement through a part of a revolution the passages are partly blocked and the flow of the water is checked. This form of regulation is fairly efficient down to three-quarter opening. Turbines of this type may also be used on horizontal shafts, and are very useful in the case of low falls where there is a large amount of water and the head is fairly constant. At Massena, in New York State, 75,000 H.P. is to be developed from fifteen sets of these turbines working under a head of 40 ft. Each generator can develop 5000 H.P. at a potential of 2200 volts, and is driven by three horizontal double turbines on the same shaft; when working under a minimum head of 32 ft, at 150 revolutions, each turbine will have a nominal horsepower of looo.

Probably the most important application of turbines to the generation of power on a great scale is that at Niagara Falls. The water is tapped off from the river Niagara about i m. above the falls and brought by a canal to the powerhouse. The wheel-pit is 180 ft. in depth, and is connected with the river below the falls by a tail-race, consisting of a tunnel 21 ft. high and 18 ft. 10 in. wide at its largest section. The original turbines were of the " Fourneyron " type, and a pai/ were mounted on each vertical shaft, the two being capable of giving out 5000 H.P. with a fall of 136 ft. Each pair of wheels is built in three storeys, and the outflow of the water is controlled by a cylindrical gate or sluice, which is moved up and down by the action of the governor. As the pair of wheels and the big vertical shaft (which is of hollow steel 38 in. in diameter) with the revolving part of the dynamo mounted on the upper end of the shaft weigh about 152,000 ft, a special device, since adopted in other similar power plants, was designed to balance in part this FIG. 6. " Hercules " Turbine.

dead weight. The water passes from the penstock through the guide blades of the upper wheel, and in doing so acts in an upward direction on a cover of the upper wheel, which thus becomes, as it were, a balance-piston. The total upward pressure on this piston is calculated to be equal to 150,000 Ib; hence the shaft-bearings are practically relieved from pressure when the wheels are running. Another turbine which has come into extensive use is the " Francis, ' an exceedingly efficient turbine on a low fall with large quantities of water. At Schaffhausen two of them with a fall of 12 J ft. developed 430 H.P., when the older turbines only gave 260 H.P., the WATER-OPOSSUMWATER POLO efficiency of the Francis turbine being in this case 86 % at full load and 77 % at half load.

A recent form of the Jonval turbine is shown in fig. 7. This turbine was designed to give 1250 H.P. with a fall of 25 ft. and an efficiency of 77 %. It is fitted with a suction pipe and a circular balanced sluice for admitting and cutting off the water-supply. The wheel is 12 ft. 3^ in. in diameter, and has a speed of fifty revolutions per minute, and the power generated is transmitted through bevel-gearing to a horizontal shaft from which the power is taken FIG. 7. Jonval Turbine.

off for various purposes. When complete the turbine weighed about 140 tons. There is a regulating arrangement, by which onehalf of the guide-passages can be shut off in pairs from the water, and at the same time air is freely admitted into these Unused passages by pipes which pass through the hinges of the controlling shutter. Tests of a turbine of this slow-moving type showed an efficiency of 82 % at full gate, and one of 75 % when half of the passages in the guide-blades were closed by the shutters, as described above.

As an illustration of the use of water-power, even at a considerable distance from a town, the case of Lausanne may be described. The town has secured the right of using a waterfall of 113 to 118 ft. high, by impounding the Rh6nenear Saint Maurice. In dry seasons this will supply 6000 H.P., and for quite ten months in an ordinary year 14,000 H.P. The plant in 1902 consisted of five turbines, having horizontal axles, and each developing 1000 H.P. when running at 300 revolutions a minute. They drive electric generators, and the current so produced is taken at a pressure of 22,000 volts on overhead wires a distance of 35 m. to Lausanne, the loss being estimated not to exceed 10% in the long transmission. Near the town is a station for reducing the voltage, and current is distributed at 125 volts for lighting purposes and at 500 volts for use on the tramways and for other power purposes.

AUTHORITIES. For further information concerning the construction and employment of water motors, the reader is referred to the following papers and textbooks : Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. (1882), p.H9 (1889), p. 350; (1895), p. 353. (These papers contain full accounts of recent forms of lifts.) Engineering, vol. Ixvii. pp. 91, 128, 160, " Power Station at Niagara ; vol. Txxii. pp. 391-767, " Governing of Water Wheels." Proc. Inst. Civil Eng., vol. Ixxxvi. p. 60, "Mersey Railway Lifts"; vol. xciii. p. 596, "Experiments on Jonval and Girard Turbines at Alching ''; vol. xcvi. p. 182, " Hydraulic Canal Lifts"; vol. cii. p. 154, " Keswick Water-Power Electric Station " ; vol. cxii. p. 410, " Hydraulic Works at Niagara " ; vol. cxviii. p. 537, " A 12-Mile Transmission of Power Generated by Pelton Wheels "; vol. cxxiii. p. 530, " The Pelton Water Wheel "; vol. cxxiv. p. 223, "The Niagara Power Works"; vol. cxxvi. p. 494, "The Rheinfelden Power Transmission Plant "; vol. cxli. p. 269, " Electric Transmission Plants in Transvaal," p. 307, " Turbines "; vol. cxlii. p. 451, " Electrical Installations at Lausanne "; vol. cxlv. p. 423, Water Power at Massena "; vol. cxlvii. p. 467, "Some Large Turbine Installations." Wood, Theory of Turbines; Bovey, Hydraulics; Bjorling, Hydraulic Motors; Elaine, Hydraulic Machinery; Bodmer, Hydraulic Motors; Unwin, "Water Motors" (Lectures on Hydro-Mechanics, Inst. Civil Eng., 1885). (T. H. B.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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