Steam Engines And How They Work
The steam locomotives were used to run the trains. Now diesel and electric engines are being used for the purpose. But still, the steam locomotives are being used in some parts of the world. Let us know how steam trains work. The locomotive has two parts – a boiler and engine. The boiler generates the steam and the engine drives the wheel with the help of steam.
The Making of Steam
The steam in the engine is produced with the help of fire generated through a firebox. Hot gases rise and enter the boiler with the help of pipes. This boiler is filled with water which starts boiling because of the heat present in the gases and steam is generated. The boiler has safety valves which help the extra steam to escape. This is done because the boiler may burst if it is pressurized with steam. There is a crown sheet at the top of the firebox which is always filled with water in order to prevent the explosion of the boiler.
There is a dome on top of the boiler in which the steam is collected. The throttles present on the dome regulate the flow of steam. The steam is transferred to the super-heater with the help of dry pipes. The steam is heated in the super-heater and then delivered through the delivery pipes.
The Usage of Steam
Now we will see how the steam is used to move the locomotive. The steam is transferred to the valves chest, located on each side, through the delivery pipes. The steam enters the cylinder due to back and forth movement of the valves and the pistons are pushed and then escapes through the valves and enters the blast pipe connected to the smoke-box.
The valves start moving with the help of the valve gear and this lets the wheels to move. The valve gear works in connection with the reverse lever which is used to control the direction of the locomotive. The wheels of the locomotive are balanced with the help of counterweights which are placed at the opposite point of attachment.
There are six pairs of wheels in the locomotive which are driven by a single cylinder. There are two engines having two sets of driving wheels.
Both engines are powered with the help of cylinders. There are small sets of wheels in the locomotives which help them to run safely on the curves. These small wheels are located at the front.
Exhausting The Steam and Smoke
The steam in the cylinders enters the smoke-box with the help of a blast pipe and then blasts upward in the direction of the stack and then leave the locomotive. The sound produced by the engine is produced due to the escaping of the steam through the stack.
Fuel Used In The Engine
Coal or wood are used to ignite a fire which helps to boil the water in the boiler and then produce steam. In the older steam engines, a main was designated to put the coal in the firebox with the help of a shovel. Now mechanical stokers are being used for the purpose.
This is the way in which the steam engine works and the locomotive runs.