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Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?


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  #1  
Old 10-05-2011, 07:53 PM
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K.O'Connell K.O'Connell is offline
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Default Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Most steam traction engines I see at American steam rallies do not have boiler jackets. In fact they were often sold without one. The Aultman Taylor barn find in Washington has a jacket and old catalogs show that boiler jackets were a feature of many engines. I've never seen a restored traction engine in the UK that does not have lagging and a jacket......

So....... what is the purpose of ordering an engine with a boiler jacket? How does having a boiler jacket enhance an engine's performance? I think I know some of the answer, but I'm not an expert.... Thank you for all your replies.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:28 PM
heins heins is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

You have less heat loss.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Biased opinion:
  • Engine looks pretty
  • Easier to keep clean
  • Reduces heat loss
  • Protects the boiler
See my thread: http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38146

Beth
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Jackets were installed as insulation for the boiler to provide better fuel economy.

When left to sit the jackets may hold moisture and cause wasting/pitting to the outside of the boiler. Can be really nasty if left outside and leaves get in between or birds perch on the dome and crap.

Most boiler inspectors want them removed for inspection and they don't get replaced.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:05 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

here's a picture of a big old Advance that still runs with a jacket. ive ran that engine a few times and it does make a difference. banked the fire one or 2 times with ties and some coal and had about 15 psi in the morning. always wanted to do that once
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:22 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Wink Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Yep, unfortunately with a jacket, you can't ultrasonic thickness test the barrel, so most inspectors don't like 'em. I've still got the original jacket for my 18 HP G/S....laying on the ground, as the previous owner took it off. I know some folks refuse to take off the original jacket, so inspectors won't let 'em run.....me, I'd rather run than anything else, so I can't see their point? To each their own, I guess!

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Old 10-05-2011, 11:31 PM
Pete Deets Pete Deets is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Not to hijack the thread too far there are ways to consider having a jacket & inspections, too. Jeff Knuteson (of 22hp Minneapolis return flue fame) and crew put an expanded metal screen against the boiler shell with the lagging and then jacketing on top. The jacketing and lagging can be opened up from the bottom to allow UTing as well as an air space next to the boiler shell. Details can be seen in the many photos and discussion of the methods starts around post 54 of http://www.wmstrcommunityforum.com/s...p?t=680&page=4 . Lagging & jacketing is a good thing (when properly handled) that makes an engine easier to fire & saves fuel....PD
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:03 AM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Steam Punk,
Think ordinary household hot water heater. Any heat escaping the metal shell is wasted heat that is not usable. Therefore people sometimes put insulation blankets around the tank. Same thing with the steam boiler. Kevin
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:20 AM
Fred Cooper Fred Cooper is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Hi All,
Here in the uk most boiler inspectors will let you keep the lagging on for 10 years, unless he suspects you have problems.
This ties in with the 10 year hydraulic test, but again it's at the inspectors discression to call for it sooner.
Steaming without lagging makes a big diffrence. Most engines have timber strips, but some folks go for modern blanket materials these days. I'm still on wood, but you need a bit of an air gap at the smoke box to stop it setting fire.
Regards,
Fred
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:38 AM
Brad Kelley Brad Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

The Aultman Taylor in Washington also has a straw chute, so it was likely sold as a straw burner. Many manufacturers sold engines specifically set up to burn straw and those packages typically included: boiler jacket, brick arch in firebox, and compound engines. Those same manufacturers would also sell the jacket as an option at extra cost, but if wood or coal was cheap and plentiful I assume most engine buyers opted to keep the ~$50 extra cost for a jacket.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

In Traction Engine Design & Construction 1900 - 1930, the author (Geoff Gilbert) says that as much as 12% of the fire’s heat could be lost by radiation from unlagged boiler plates. Of course it makes a big difference whether it’s very cold/rainy or whether the sun’s beating down.

An unlagged boiler has a lot of surface area. I’ve just done a quick estimate for two traction engine boilers, and the surface area of the cylindrical barrel alone is equivalent to about 70% of the tubes’ total surface area..

On UK engines, the flat surfaces weren’t usually lagged, in order to highlight any leaks from stays.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:57 AM
qsmx440 qsmx440 is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

You know thinking about this maybe the more extensive use in England reflects the higher cost or availability of fuel there. Everyone was aware of the benefit but the insulation added to the maintenance labor which with our more ready supply of fuel probably trumped the decreased efficiency? I was surprised to read that it was thought to be only a 12% loss. I would think it would be much greater.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Thank you all for your replies. They confirm what I was thinking about boiler jackets. It makes sense that some N.American customers wouldn't pay the extra money for a boiler jacket if fuel was cheap and plentiful.

Beth, your engine is a grand work of art, really it is! But I get all googly eyed by a boiler covered in rivets! (That must have been tough covering up that cypress!)

I've been thinking about the AT barn find and I hope that in the ten years it sat outdoors, it's jacket hasn't doomed the boiler.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:14 AM
Asquith Asquith is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

I have no feel for relative fuel costs in the USA and UK. Coal was the only traction engine fuel used in the UK, and it was plentiful, so I can’t imagine it was expensive in the old days. Even so, I’d have thought that any owner would want to minimise fuel consumption, so saving a few $ by not lagging the boiler seems short-sighted. Even with ‘free’ wood on a farm, a lot of man-hours went into cutting it, stacking it, shifting it. I don’t know about straw.

I’m a volunteer at a stationary steam engine museum, and we burn old pallets in our big Marshall portable boiler. Although the wood is free, there’s a great deal of time and effort involved in collecting, cutting and handling it. We must get round to lagging that boiler
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:46 AM
Fred Cooper Fred Cooper is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Hi Asquith,
Is this it http://www.wzlet.org/ If so you've got to promote these places. You never know some of the boys and girls from over the pond may visit the uk.

Once in the uk it would seam close to them anyway

Boys and girls please enjoy a look anyway,
Keep steaming,
Fred
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:16 AM
Asquith Asquith is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

That's the one, Fred.

On a recent steaming day, we had a sudden torrential downpoor, and the effect on the boiler pressure was immediately visible on the gauge

We 'intend' to treat it to a roof and to make a removable jacket. One day.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:36 AM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Smile Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Most boilers I've seen built for burning straw were jacketed, as that stuff you had to cram so much of it down a boiler to make steam you wanted to use every BTU out of it as efficiently as possible! Also was pretty common before 1900 for strawburners to use return-flue boilers, as they were considered more efficient than a firebox type...however, after spending a weekend trying to fire one, I might have to take issue with that...... I'd a WHOLE lot rather fire a locomotive style boiler than THAT thing!!!!!!

One thing you've got to remember, when comparing UK engines with US engines, ours were pretty well built down to a price, and a lot of engine mfg's figured on building an engine to last 5-10 yrs, and then being replaced with another one....as opposed to a lot of UK engines, that were in use for 50-70 yrs. (Of course, my Case stayed in use for 51 yrs....)

As such, if you tried to sell down to a price, everything you could eliminate, or make an extra you did....such as the jacket on the boiler.

It's interesting to me, that UK's "Colonial" style engines, built for markets such as Australia and South America, typically used "American" style features such as friction clutches, some used round spoke wheels, and have even seen pics recently of one of their engines that had the flywheel on the right-hand side!

Mike M
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:46 AM
Asquith Asquith is offline
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

Mike’s comments sent me to W J Hughes’ book ‘A Century of Traction Engines’, and he discusses some of the engines built for export to certain places where US competition was becoming keen, particularly S America. The most radical examples were lightweight ones made by Marshall. A photo shows a strong resemblance to US engines, having round-spoked wheels, steam dome, unjacketed cylinder, small flywheel (LHS!), overhung crank, clutch, feed water heater. Gearing was single-speed. However, the photo suggests that Marshall weren’t enamoured of US-type wheels, because although they do have round spokes, the actual drive is taken through a separate ring connected to the rim by about eight substantial arms, and the rim itself is stiffened by fairly deep flanges.

The author says that parts of the motion, etc were left as forged, rather than highly finished as would normally be the case. He also explains the addition of a clutch, in contrast to domestic (coal burning) practice, as follows: ‘…when threshing, it was customary with a straw burner to use a very long belt to keep the engine well away from the unthreshed grain, and also to give a good drive. With the clutch, it was possibly not only easy to ‘set’ the engine just right for the correct belt tension, but also to move back to tighten the belt as it stretched, without stopping the threshing machine. Moreover, when direct ploughing, which gave a heavy starting load, the clutch made this easier.’ [Not much direct steam ploughing was done in the UK].

US engines have only started to appear in the UK relatively recently, but it’s fascinating to be able to study them. I’ve only seen three makes. The first was a Reeves, and I was surprised by some aspects, particularly the thinness of the boiler shell, and the way that some fittings were screwed directly into the shell, with no reinforcement. The Case I looked at seemed to be a better class of thing altogether.

The thin boiler shell and the tendency to have the smoke box integral with the shell are weight and money-saving features which have definite disadvantages in terms of boiler life. (The smoke box could be replaced separately on UK engines). Another feature of UK engines was that the smoke box door was always made from iron or steel plate. Did US makers make all their money from sales of replacement cast iron doors?
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:11 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Smile Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

From what I've read on Traction-Talk and talking with other UK enthusiasts, one of the reasons your boilers were made thicker than ours was that we tended to use a better grade of steel, therefore could use less of it. Our steel was similar to A-285C firebox & flanging steel, which has ultimate tensile strength of 55-65 ksi. Also, another factor which dictated thickness of barrels on our engines compared to yours was our older, thinner barrels were designed for lower pressures. There's a discussion of our thicknesses vs. some of yours on page 7 & 8 here: http://www.tractiontalkforum.com/sho...t=14032&page=7

The only engine brand I can think made here that used a detachable, replacement smokebox was Russell, and theirs was cast iron! Seems to me that might have been delicate, if you dropped the front axle off in a hole, but they used it on quite a few engines, so must have held up OK for them, or they wouldn't have done it, I guess....

Actually, as far as our smokebox doors go, the ones I've seen replaced were for aesthetics (due to smaller cracks) and not because of function-they don't really have much in the way of stress on them, so I can't say that I've seen one beat all to Hell that really HAD to be replaced, except that the owners didn't like the looks of it. I'd like to replace the one on the front of my 13 HP Gaar-Scott someday, as it's got a few cracks in it, and the cast lettering is kind of worn down where it's hard to read, but it still does its job.

Marshall's Colonial Engine was one I was thinking of, I couldn't remember whether it had a dome or not, but remembered they had the round spoke wheels and friction clutch. Here's some pics of a big Foster that was built as a straw-burner for SA market:

http://www.tractiontalkforum.com/showthread.php?t=19129

That's one cool looking machine! It's got the flywheel, with friction clutch, on RHS like ours.

Keep the discussions coming Asquith on your engines, this is really interesting to me! I am a mechanical engineer by training, and one of the facets of this hobby that is so interesting to me is seeing the different solutions that old design engineers came up with to combat the same problems, the world over!

Mike
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Boiler Jacket: what is it's purpose?

the purpose of the jacket itself was not to insulate the boiler, but to hold the insulation (Asbestos in the old days) in place.
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