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The Biggest Operating Rotative Beam Steam Engine At Crossness

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Published on May 21, 2011

Crossness Pumping Station at east London ( http://www.crossness.org.uk/ ) near river Thames contains four big sewage pumping engines, one of them -- Prince Consort -- restored to working condition. Besides their pure size -- length overall approximately 68 ft (20.4 mtrs) and height 72 ft (22 mtrs) they show two features of special interests: grasshopper counter beam and Corliss valve gear.
The engines are three-cylinder triple expansion engines - upgraded from single cylinder Watt engines (1865) in 1899. This means, that the steam is now used three times in the cylinders, always with decreasing steam pressure. Therefore the cylinders have different diameters (the low pressure cylinder is the largest in diameter) to compensate this fact and to develop the same force ( force equals steam pressure times piston area).
The Corliss valve gear can be seen in detail in my video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3QvNT... .
The grasshopper counter beam allows parallel motion for the low pressure cylinder's piston rod. For the other two rods (air- and waterpump) exact parallel motion is not more guaranteed by the grasshopper principle and so these devices are fitted with additional crossheads. I have built an engine model with a Märklin metal set for a better understanding of the grasshopper kinematics. My grasshopper animation was done with the well priced German program Cinderella 2 (Math in Motion). Enjoy the video!

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