This Timeline of heat engine technology describes how heat engines have been known since antiquity but have been made into increasingly useful devices since the seventeenth century as a better understanding of the processes involved was gained. They continue to be developed today.

In engineering and thermodynamics, a heat engine performs the conversion of heat energy to mechanical work by exploiting the temperature gradient between a hot "source" and a cold "sink". Heat is transferred to the sink from the source, and in this process some of the heat is converted into work.

A heat pump is a heat engine run in reverse. Work is used to create a heat differential. The timeline includes devices classed as both engines and pumps, as well as identifying significant leaps in human understanding.

Pre Eighteenth centuryEdit

  • Prehistory - The fire piston used by tribes in southeast Asia and the Pacific islands to kindle fire.
  • c. 450 BC - Archytas of Tarentum used a jet of steam to propel a toy wooden bird suspended on wire.[1]
  • c. 200 BC - Hero of Alexandria's Engine. Demonstrates rotary motion produced by the reaction from jets of steam.
  • c. 900s - China develops the earliest fire lances which were spear-like weapons combining a bamboo tube containing gunpowder and shrapnel like projectiles tied to a spear.
  • c 1100s - China , the earliest depiction of a gun showing a metal body and a tight-fitting projectile which maximises the conversion of the hot gases to forward motion.
  • 1120 - Gerbert, a professor in the schools at Rheims designed and built an organ blown by air escaping from a vessel in which it was compressed by heated water.
  • 1232 - First recorded use of a rocket. In a battle between the Chinese and the Mongols. ( see Timeline of rocket and missile technology for a view of rocket development through time.)
  • c. 1500 - Leonardo da Vinci builds the Architonnerre, a steam-powered cannon.
  • 1551 - Taqi al-Din demonstrates a steam turbine, used to rotate a spit.[2]
  • 1629 - Giovanni Branca demonstrates a steam turbine.
  • 1662 - Robert Boyle publishes Boyle's Law which defines the relationship between volume and pressure in a gas.
  • 1665 - Edward Somerset, the Second Marquess of Worcester builds a working steam fountain.
  • 1680 - Christiaan Huygens publishes a design for a piston engine powered by gunpowder but it is never built.
  • 1690 - Denis Papin - produces design for the first piston steam engine.
  • 1698 - Thomas Savery builds a pistonless steam-powered water pump for pumping water out of mines.

Eighteenth centuryEdit

Nineteenth centuryEdit

Twentieth centuryEdit

  • 1909, the Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes develops the concept of enthalpy for the measure of the "useful" work that can be obtained from a closed thermodynamic system at a constant pressure.
  • 1913 - Nikola Tesla patents the Tesla turbine based on the Boundary layer effect.
  • 1926 - Robert Goddard of the USA launches the first liquid fuel rocket.
  • 1929 - Felix Wankel patents the Wankel rotary engine (U.S. Patent 2,988,008)
  • 1933 - French physicist Georges J. Ranque invents the Vortex tube , a fluid flow device without moving parts, that can separate a compressed gas into hot and cold streams.
  • 1937 - Hans von Ohain builds a gas turbine
  • 1940 - Hungarian Bela Karlovitz working for the Westinghouse company in the USA files the first patent for a magnetohydrodynamic generator, which can generate electricity directly from a hot moving gas
  • 1942 - R.S. Gaugler of General Motors patents the idea of the Heat pipe, a heat transfer mechanism that combines the principles of both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently manage the transfer of heat between two solid interfaces.
  • 1950s - The Philips company develop the Stirling-cycle Stirling Cryocooler which converts mechanical energy to a temperature difference.
  • 1962 - William J. Buehler and Frederick Wang discover the Nickel titanium alloy known as Nitinol which has a shape memory dependent on its temperature.
  • 1992 - The first practical magnetohydrodynamic generators are built in Serbia and the USA.

Twenty first centuryEdit

  • 2011 - Michigan State University builds the first wave disk engine. An internal combustion engine which does away with pistons, crankshafts and valves , and replaces them with a disc-shaped shock wave generator. [5]

See alsoEdit

References / sources Edit

  1. Hellemans, Alexander; et al. (1991). ""The Timetables of Science: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in the History of Science"". New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1991.
  2. Hassan, Ahmad Y. "Taqi al-Din and the First Steam Turbine". History of Science and Technology in Islam. Retrieved on 2008-03-29.
  3. "The History of the Automobile - Gas Engines". (2009-09-11). Retrieved on 2009-10-19.
  4. The Griffin Engineering Company, of Bath, Somerset University Of Bath, 15 December 2004. Accessed May 2011
  5. Michigan State University: Wave Disk Engine U.S. Department of Energy , Advanced Research Projects Agency, March 2011

Further readingEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Timeline of heat engine technology. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.