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Author Topic: How Could a Steam Rifle Work?  (Read 17292 times)
Maets
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« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2014, 01:16:59 pm »

What about a steam powered flame thrower? A steam thrower! Same principle as the flame thrower, but with steam. No moving parts, no bullets, just steam.


The first steampunk gun I built was based on this idea.  Basically a steam laser.  Highly focused, super heated steam that shot out the end of the weapon and did its dirty work.
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« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2014, 01:35:33 pm »

What about a steam powered flame thrower? A steam thrower! Same principle as the flame thrower, but with steam. No moving parts, no bullets, just steam.

What?  Just scald the meat off their bones instead?

Well you could use steam to project the burning fuel forwards, or use superheated steam projecting from a series of nozzles onboard a ship as an anti-boarding weapon, or as a boarding weapon to clear the bulwalks of an opposing vessel.


Wouldn't the water-fuel mix work as a disadvantage?  Also I remember seeing this kids book where a scientist called Chambois used Steam in the manner you are describing,  but as a way to create a fog shield around their ship so that they could sneak into a bay in a cloud of fog, sneak up on the pirates, that type of thing.

Depends on if what fuel you were using and it's flash point, the cooling effect of the water vapour from the steam condensing probably would extinguish the flames given enough time, say if it were to be fired over an extended distance, and the increased humidity would inhibit the flames spreading. But flamethrowers are close range weapons anyway, and even if the steam did extinguish the flames that may not necessarily be a bad thing since if you're using an oil based fuel anyone stood beyond the operational range of the weapon still stands a good chance of getting some nasty steam burns, and covered in hot oil.
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« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2014, 02:39:13 pm »

To be practical a steam powered gun would be rather clumbersome as a personal weapon, but a steam powered 'supergun' heavy artillery piece would be viable. The chamber would consist of a furnace and molten iron, drop a shell with a bag of water at it's base down the barrel and the resulting explosion throws the shell out of the barrel.

A smaller version using molten lead and a water injector might work, ask anyone who's done casting about what happens if there is damp in the mold....streams of molten metal and steam are ejected at high speed from it. Basically it becomes a liquid shotgun and being in it's way is not healthy.
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« Reply #53 on: July 03, 2014, 03:02:51 pm »

To be practical a steam powered gun would be rather clumbersome as a personal weapon, but a steam powered 'supergun' heavy artillery piece would be viable. The chamber would consist of a furnace and molten iron, drop a shell with a bag of water at it's base down the barrel and the resulting explosion throws the shell out of the barrel.

A smaller version using molten lead and a water injector might work, ask anyone who's done casting about what happens if there is damp in the mold....streams of molten metal and steam are ejected at high speed from it. Basically it becomes a liquid shotgun and being in it's way is not healthy.

This happens a lot with sand casting, as the molten (in many cases) bronze super heats any pockets of moisture or air, causing an explosion propelling said liquid hot metal at the caster.
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« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2014, 09:24:44 am »

To be practical a steam powered gun would be rather clumbersome as a personal weapon, but a steam powered 'supergun' heavy artillery piece would be viable. The chamber would consist of a furnace and molten iron, drop a shell with a bag of water at it's base down the barrel and the resulting explosion throws the shell out of the barrel.

A smaller version using molten lead and a water injector might work, ask anyone who's done casting about what happens if there is damp in the mold....streams of molten metal and steam are ejected at high speed from it. Basically it becomes a liquid shotgun and being in it's way is not healthy.

That would look awesome! With the muzzle flash solidifying. A huge canon with a blast furnace on top of it. The bigger the better. Back to topic, sadly not able to be scaled down to a personal weapon.
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« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2014, 09:33:00 am »

Back to the steam rifle. The biggest problem is to make the steam in a way that is portable and safe for the gunman. The firing mechanism isn't the issue. A cast iron/metal version of an airsoft gun could do the trick.
What if one connects the surplus steam from a steam engine with a flexible hose to the gun? It could be used to protect a steam engine.
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« Reply #56 on: July 11, 2014, 12:41:03 am »

Another problem would be rust inside the barrel, or possible foul air in the tank.
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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #57 on: July 11, 2014, 08:24:34 am »

Another problem would be rust inside the barrel, or possible foul air in the tank.

You've just discribed my bowel movement.  Tongue Grin

Sollution to both problems, just blast it out.
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« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2014, 03:33:27 pm »

But that would lead to a loss of structural integrity and instead of a rifle you now have a grenade waiting to explode with hot steam.
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« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2014, 03:49:33 pm »

But that would lead to a loss of structural integrity and instead of a rifle you now have a grenade waiting to explode with hot steam.
Depends on the material used for the barrel. Iron would definatly rust under those conditions. Perhaps brass?
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« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2014, 04:09:13 pm »

Brass barrels were mainly used in smaller arms. One could use some strain of rust resistant steel, hammer forged as many barrels today are.
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Zodiac Kingfisher
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« Reply #61 on: August 22, 2014, 01:10:12 am »

Hmm, my idea isn't exactly steam powered, but steam should be given off... I guess.

How about using water and separating it into oxygen and hydrogen - this could be by some form of clockwork device vibrating the water molecules forcing the water to disassociate - and then igniting the oxygen and hydrogen causing an explosion and using this to eject the projectile.  The explosion actually yields water and as the ignition temperature of the reaction is well over 500degC, the water would be instantly turned into steam!

(Zodiac Kingfisher rushes off to patent said invention...)

Good luck!

(I didn't do the chemistry, look here http://cldfacility.rutgers.edu/content/explosive-reaction-hydrogen-and-oxygen-using-balloons)
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« Reply #62 on: August 22, 2014, 05:48:02 am »

Hmm, my idea isn't exactly steam powered, but steam should be given off... I guess.

How about using water and separating it into oxygen and hydrogen - this could be by some form of clockwork device vibrating the water molecules forcing the water to disassociate - and then igniting the oxygen and hydrogen causing an explosion and using this to eject the projectile.  The explosion actually yields water and as the ignition temperature of the reaction is well over 500degC, the water would be instantly turned into steam!

(Zodiac Kingfisher rushes off to patent said invention...)

Good luck!


(I didn't do the chemistry, look here http://cldfacility.rutgers.edu/content/explosive-reaction-hydrogen-and-oxygen-using-balloons)


Do that but in a chamber behind the break-away diagram of a shock tube (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_tube), in the opposite end you will have the projectile.  The chemical reaction builds pressure and breaks the diagram having concentrated the energy of the detonation,  into a single super-fast impact acting on the on the air column on the other side of the diaphragm (otherwise, technically not all of the combustion happens simultaneously so it's not an explosion but a detonation- even of hydrogen oxygen) .  The projectile will be pushed by re-inforcing supersonic shock fronts in the air column.  Nice steam hypervelocity cannon.

Actually Mr. Arvis from this forum (who's been AWOL for a very long time) and myself discussed plans on building such a device for real.  I would prefer to get students of the University of Texas involved to help with the collection of data (ahh the memories of youth) , naturally at a safe distance from the shock tube cannon

*snort*   *pushes glasses up*  (now if I could just get paid for this)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 05:57:06 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

Zodiac Kingfisher
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« Reply #63 on: August 22, 2014, 12:05:37 pm »

Wouldn't that be something to see!
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« Reply #64 on: August 22, 2014, 06:10:03 pm »

OK.. what is the resonant frequency of water? to vibrate it using a version of Tesla's resonant frequency destructor to create the hydrogen and oxygen to make the flame to make the steam? .....technically a zero emissions weapon so the worlds first 'green' weapon?
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Zodiac Kingfisher
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« Reply #65 on: August 22, 2014, 07:49:07 pm »

I recall watching a televisor programme a few years back about how fish extract dissolved oxygen from water to breath and wondered if this could be reproduced mechanically. I'm not a chemist but I don't think water contains dissolved hydrogen (?). That said, here are 3 ways to extract oxygen and hydrogen from water http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2008/01/29/how-to-extract-hydrogen-from-water/ that just might be useable.
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« Reply #66 on: August 24, 2014, 08:56:35 pm »

I'm pondering the steam gun again. I still prefer the method where you just jump a massive amount of energy into a small body of water to flash boil it on-demand. I'm trying to do the math, but I'm pretty rubbish at it.. could someone check these figures? I don't think you'd need all that much power to flash boil a small amount of water. I'm guessing 3cc of water ought to work to propell an object.

To convert 1cc of water from room temperature to boil requires about 2.6Kjoule. x3cc = 7.8Kjoule. Make that 15Kjoule to allow for inefficiencies (any 'extra' that is left will just speed up the boiling). 15Kjoule = 4.17W/h. If we want to fire the device in 1 second, we'd need to pump in (4.17 x 3600) = 15KW/s. Assuming for a moment the spark plug will work at 25,000V, you'd need to supply it with 25kV at 600 milli-amp for a second.. (probably less - again, extra juice would just mean the water would boil quicker)

Now for the prctical side of things..Regular high-voltage power supplies don't cut it, because they typically only deliver a few milliamps.  I have no idea what sort of capacitor you'd need to store that sort of power. What I do know however, is that these power figures are very likely in the INSTANT DEATH category when you touch the terminals.. so yeah, I won't be experimenting with this.. as a thought exercise though, I would like to know if it's feasible.. Smiley



EDIT: Well whaddayaknow.. I just came across this page: http://amasci.com/amateur/capexpt.html - they apparently used a bank of six 3uF, 150,000-volt capacitors. Look at the size of that beast! Either that's ginormous overkill, or my crappy calculations are off by several orders of magnitude, lol!

« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 08:59:23 pm by akumabito » Logged

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« Reply #67 on: August 24, 2014, 09:16:12 pm »

A steam version of the pneumatic mortars of WW1 gets close (and they had a range of 2.5 Km!) so a means of producing a high pressure steam is the vital component....I'm thinking a brass blowtorch melting metal then dropped into water could do it, instant super-heated steam to create the pressure (with a suitable reducer / reverse venturi) to propel the bullet.

Otherwise it would need a high pressure boiler for the steam, with resultant low rate of fire which is OK for hunting but not for military use.

For close combat a horizontally mounted Tesla disc turbine could discharge several thousand balls per minute against a massed enemy (glass balls to shatter and 'mince' the flesh when they hit bone would be most effective). But that would be a steam powered machine gun rather than a steam rifle.
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« Reply #68 on: August 24, 2014, 09:24:08 pm »

OK.. what is the resonant frequency of water? to vibrate it using a version of Tesla's resonant frequency destructor to create the hydrogen and oxygen to make the flame to make the steam? .....technically a zero emissions weapon so the worlds first 'green' weapon?

There is no resonant frequency to water (that depends on the volume of water you're talking about), but there is a resonant frequency to the water molecules themselves. That is how microwave ovens work.  The radio frequency of microwaves matches the natural vibrational frequency of water molecules, about 2,450 MHz (2.45 GHz) in most commercial ovens.  The device that generates the radio waves (microwaves) is called magnetron.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 09:26:55 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Peter Brassbeard
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« Reply #69 on: August 24, 2014, 11:25:01 pm »

There is no resonant frequency to water (that depends on the volume of water you're talking about), but there is a resonant frequency to the water molecules themselves. That is how microwave ovens work. ...
Common myth, but incorrect.  A microwave oven works because common foodstuffs are semiconductors, and will absorb RF energy across a wide range of frequencies.  A microwave oven would work on a whole band of frequencies.  2.45GHz is used as an unlicensed frequency short enough in wavelength relative to common food portions but large enough that the magnetron is affordable and the energy can penetrate into the food.
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« Reply #70 on: August 24, 2014, 11:51:43 pm »

There is no resonant frequency to water (that depends on the volume of water you're talking about), but there is a resonant frequency to the water molecules themselves. That is how microwave ovens work. ...

Common myth, but incorrect.  A microwave oven works because common foodstuffs are semiconductors, and will absorb RF energy across a wide range of frequencies.  A microwave oven would work on a whole band of frequencies.  2.45GHz is used as an unlicensed frequency short enough in wavelength relative to common food portions but large enough that the magnetron is affordable and the energy can penetrate into the food.


Indeed- there is no unique resonance frequency; molecules will react to a range of wavelengths.  I understand 2.45 GHz is a specific FCC approved frequency for commercial use.  You are talking about (mostly) molecular dipole rotation (not vibration) within a range of frequencies above 10 MHz, and for frequencies lower than that you can have a secondary phenomenon known as ion dragging, as a means to heat the fluid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_oven
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dielectric_heating
Quote
Dielectric heating, also known as electronic heating, RF heating, high-frequency heating is the process in which a high-frequency alternating electric field, or radio wave or microwave electromagnetic radiation heats a dielectric material. At higher frequencies, this heating is caused by molecular dipole rotation within the dielectric. At lower frequencies in conductive fluids, other mechanisms such as ion-drag are more important in generating thermal energy.


Quote
Frequencies in the range of 10–100 MHz are necessary to cause efficient dielectric heating, although higher frequencies work equally well or better, and in some materials (especially liquids) lower frequencies also have significant heating effects, often due to more unusual mechanisms. For example, in conductive liquids such as salt water, "ion-drag" causes heating, as charged ions are "dragged" more slowly back and forth in the liquid under influence of the electric field, striking liquid molecules in the process and transferring kinetic energy to them, which is eventually translated into molecular vibrations and thus into thermal energy.[citation needed


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Zodiac Kingfisher
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« Reply #71 on: August 26, 2014, 08:48:57 pm »

How about using a flash steam device, such as http://www.huzarpower.com/en/flash-steam

This could be a 'relatively' small device, back mounted backpack arrangement (a warm backpack though).
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« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2014, 11:23:00 am »

The search is over (well, not really...).

Found this today on that well known online auction site http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/A-prop-steam-powered-rifle-from-the-film-Mutant-Chronicles-Movie-Film-Prop-/111439367041?pt=UK_DVD_Film_TV_Film_Memorabilia_LE&hash=item19f24dcb81
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« Reply #73 on: August 31, 2014, 08:41:25 pm »

The word 'rifle' is the problem...a smoothbore weapon is much easier to make...
Even low pressure steam can drive a turbine in the horizontal plane that runs vanes on the same shaft to fire spherical balls down a smooth barrel towards the target. This could be a 'one man weapon', But to drive a bullet through a rifled barrel you need much higher pressures so it becomes something else.

A steam 'machine gun' that fires at 600 rounds per minute is easier to build than a steam 'rifle' that fires 2 rounds per minute.

The most effective weapon of the first world war was the 'Livens projector' ... a low pressure, large caliber smoothbore mortar that fired cans of petrol to create a 'lake of fire' when used in large numbers. Much more effective than the 'rifled' guns and howitzers.
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« Reply #74 on: September 10, 2014, 03:30:41 am »

Just Call Me Rob wrote:
"But you could use a small steam engine to re-pressurise the gas canister."

*This was my own first thought as well.

As I read on - our good Maets supplied my second thought -

"All of my steam weapons operate on the idea of instantly creating the steam through a chemical reaction of two (sometimes three) special liquids."

** Call me simple, I think both might be achieved were one to harness the power of Menthos and Coca-Cola.
(BicycleBuilder got there before me)

And of course, Dr. Fidelius supplied me with the LOL (and I'd not left first page!)

"Oh, and I believe Maets was insipred by an encounter with "bombadier beetle" which defends itself by igniting its own flatulence with a chemical mix.  Occassionally they blast their own hinderparts off with an unfortunately timed sneeze."

*** Which could well be similar in result were one to confuse the Menthos pocket and the Coca-Cola pocket.

Perhaps to be kept in mind when time to decide the name of said weapon?
And when not under attack - keeps breath fresh and minty clean!

I think I misunderstood the reference to a 'rifle' in that I, too began imagining along the lines of a personal weapon, one fully mobile. The pump/air gun has been around since forever (1600's?) A pump airgun apparatus might even fill cannisters in the field, like a reloaing kit (mental flash image of bandoleros of brass air cannisters) which might get 'clanky' during times of incident.

Also - are we imagining a steam *powered* weapon - one that serves to launch a projectile to yon target? Or was the design to depend more on a blast of steam that would do the job?

Such a thing might well revolutionize squirrel hunting - blast, skin, and cook the animal all in one go.

Enjoying the thread!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 03:40:47 am by barb dwyer » Logged

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