18 May 2010

Advanced steam technology

Waiting for a Signal, originally uploaded by Wavellite.

This modern locomotive is little bigger than a toy but embodies very advanced technology. It runs on a tourist railway in Ushuaia in Patagonia. The conical funnel is optimised according to the principles established by Argentinian engineer L D Porta. Not visible is the special water treatment system which, by protecting the boiler, completely eliminates the need for frequent and expensive maintenance.

The main principle of the system is to add sufficient alkali to the water that to raise the pH of the contents of the boiler to a very high level, greater than 10. This is combined with anti-foaming agents to prevent carry-over of harmful substances and damaging material into the cylinders. Any water supply is suitable. When the system is working properly, the water has a brown colouration due to the materials in suspension. This can be observed in the gauge glasses. After a while the interior of the boiler becomes coated with a uniform protective layer that prevents corrosion.There is a complete absence of scale build-up; the solid material remains in suspension and can be cleared by draining the boiler from time to time.

How long does it have to take for prejudices to be overcome and good technology adopted?

Read the technical description here.

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