[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [Land-speed] British steam car

To: Jon Wennerberg <>
Subject: Re: [Land-speed] British steam car
From: Malcolm Pittwood <>
Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2009 11:42:57 +0100

I am not sure that we are too far apart on defining the fuel - mainly
because the British Steam Car project must be getting it delivered from a US
supplier because of the shipping dangers.  I have no knowledge of what they
specificed to their provider.

To me LPG is a 'family' of liquified hydrocarbon products not just one
product and for most UK producers (and presumably US as well) the range can
be from 100% propane to 100% butane or a mix in between, (say 60/40 Propane
to Butane).  The fuel is a liquid under pressure but at normal tempertaures
until burnt as a gas at atmospheric pressure with air.

My feeling is that your home gas will probably be a mixture too, but the
paperwork should define what it is.  [For those reading this and
contemplating a greener fuel, LPG is heavier than air and leaks can
accumulate in basements and in the bodies of cars if you race in a reclined
position - neither will do the person any good who enters the space or is
strapped into it - take care!].

The flame length of a gas lighter (normally 100% butane filled) is about one
inch.  This is what I believe they are trying to achieve with the flat plate
burners on each of the twelve boilers in the steam car.  Compared with say
the balloon flame at two or three feet or more of length with propane.

So it is not a totally different fuel, but the mixture has to match the
burner and its application.

Malcolm UK.

On Sat, Aug 1, 2009 at 1:03 PM, Jon Wennerberg <> wrote:

> On Aug 1, 2009, at 6:50 AM, Malcolm Pittwood wrote:
> The burner design on the British Steam Car is one where the flame length is
>> very short - I am trying to recall a design talk from Glynne Bowsher some
>> years ago - at perhaps no more than an inch (25mm in Europe).  The
>> 'burner'
>> is more like a tile of intense flames rather than the long single flame of
>> a
>> hot air balloon burner.  Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) gives the
>> opportunity
>> to create these short intense flames because of the velocity of
>> combustion.
>> There are probably other ways to generate the steam needed but another
>> vehicle shape would arise in the design process.  So if the record falls
>> as
>> we expect after Speedweek, perhaps an American team will try to recapture
>> it
>> using Propane as the fuel?
>> Malcolm UK .
> Malcolm. I think we need a definition of Liquid petroleum gas as you
> mention it.  From my experience in heating the house and our food with it --
> the two names (propane and LPG) are interchangeable.  I call the lpg company
> to order a refill for the big tank outdoors and he brings the stuff in a
> tanker truck labelled "propane".  The guy pumps a compressed liquid, but at
> ambient temperature, into the tank, and as it flows through a regulator is
> gassifies into propane. To my knowledge they're the same -- at least on this
> side of the Atlantic.  Would you be so kind as to enlighten me if there's a
> difference where you are?
> Jon Wennerberg
Support Team.Net

Land-speed mailing list

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>