This is the 2” graphite power piston and cylinder.
The cylinder is just brass tube. The graphite piston was bored out using
a Forstner bit;.the cylinder was silver soldered to the base.
This is the displacer piston, also made of graphite.
The metal sleeve is the cylinder in which the piston rides. Ringboms have
two pistons and cylinders, rather than just one.
The ringbom engine, in pieces. The glass displacer
cylinder is in the middle of the picture, with the displacer piston and
the assembled engine top near the top of the picture. The glass cylinder
is a “globe” for a Coleman lantern.
The assembled engine top, including the flywheel,
power piston cylinder, displacer cylinder, and displacer piston (in the
background on the right, behind the top of the engine).Note the scotch
yoke used to connect the power piston to the flywheel. This approach proved
to have more friction than we could afford, and we abandoned this approach
after a while.
The assembled engine. Note the displacer just visible
inside the glass displacer cylinder.
The top of the engine with a new flywheel (on the
far side of the picture). There is a counter-weight attached to the flywheel.
In the foreground you can see an optical sensor (at the bottom) and a wheel
with a pattern of lines on it. We used the sensor and a computer program
to compute the instantaneous angular velocity of the flywheel. We then
moved the counter-weight around until we made the angular velocity as constant
as possible (minimized the variations).
A home-brewed fan which Ralph made. It actually pushes
quite a lot of air, and cools the top of the engine some 20-30 degrees
The ringbom engine with the scotch yoke replaced,
the fan attached, and a spring in place to compensate for the weight of
the displacer. The spring can be seen above the displacer. It looks like
a fishing pole, and is attached to the aluminum blocks on top of the brass
tower on the right side of the engine. Note the two yellow temperature
probes. Further note that we are now using a commercial heater, rather
than the tin can and light bulb. The displacer is made out of aluminum,
and is sealed with aluminum tape. The tape adhesive failed after a while,
as did the fishing rod spring.
The same engine, at work. The fishing rod spring can
be seen at the top of the brass tower, on the right, with a small loop
at its base. The horizontal brass wire is used to center the string which
attaches the spring to the displacer.
A close-up of the spring assembly and guide. The numerous
holes on the flywheel allow us to set the engine up with a variety of different
power piston throws.
Ralph’s latest idea, a fixture to allow infinitely
adjustable power piston throws.
The latest version of this engine, showing the displacer
spring adjustment fixture.Different
springs alter the engine performance, as does adjusting the height of the
spring.Adjusting the rest position
of the displacer effects the temperature at which it starts to operate
and the temperature at which it starts to over-run.