The Secret Horsepower Race by Calum Douglas (and piston engine discussion)

Calum Douglas

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Italian version delayed a bit as we`ve just found a whole load of REALLY interesting FIAT stuff.

Probably 20 photos/drawings and 3500 words to be added. We "might" release a revised edition of the English version
next year to encapsulate this new material. I hate delaying for "new finds" as there are always new finds, but this was just
about over the threshold of being a significant contribution to the Italian development story, so its going in.
 

Calum Douglas

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How about a UK "Volume II" with the new stuff, larger copies of key illustrations, and other bits that fell to the editorial axe?

Not impossible, but we`ll have to see about economics as increasing the image sizes means totally re-typefacing the entire manuscript. There is a significant cost involved there, so we`ll have to see what the publisher says is viable. Adding in two sections of Italian stuff is easier as we can just make it whole-page insertions, so there is no page layout changes other than altering the page numbers.

As the Italian guys found out, if you put all the images in at ideal size for viewing, the book goes from 450 to 600 pages A4 !!!

Also, be aware (if you were not already) that ALL the samller sized images are on my website in hi-res....

 

steelpillow

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How about a UK "Volume II" with the new stuff, larger copies of key illustrations, and other bits that fell to the editorial axe?

Not impossible, but we`ll have to see about economics as increasing the image sizes means totally re-typefacing the entire manuscript.

I was thinking more of leaving out most of Vol. I and just including stuff in Vol. II that adds to it or expands on it. And I wouldn't expect all the images to be reproduced larger, just some key ones where useful detail got a bit lost.
 

Calum Douglas

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Calum, check your PM.
Sorry I didnt get around to replying as to be honest I dont have anything profound to add to the Wiki article on those cranks, and I dont have data to suggest which of these factors were most important to those designers for that engine. Apologies

 

sienar

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Italian version delayed a bit as we`ve just found a whole load of REALLY interesting FIAT stuff.

Probably 20 photos/drawings and 3500 words to be added. We "might" release a revised edition of the English version
next year to encapsulate this new material. I hate delaying for "new finds" as there are always new finds, but this was just
about over the threshold of being a significant contribution to the Italian development story, so its going in.

It'd be great if any new material could be bought as an addendum, especially a digital version.
 

Pasoleati

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An "SHR volume 2" would do it. Similar in basic format to sit next to the original in bookshelf.
 

PMN1

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Did anyone ever confront Dr Morley on the damage his statements had done?
 

Foo Fighter

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Would there be any point in my adding that a book with just the new information/chapters be put out? I'd buy it.
 

riggerrob

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Sell a password protected PDF. Publishing cost is that of an internet connection and a file downloading service and delivery is as fast as the buyer's internet connection. Advantages: Don't kill trees. Delivery time in minutes. Quick payment and settlement of transaction. No cost to return and replace damaged books.

Just sell the information over the internet. Eliminate the cost of printing, storing, shipping, and handling physical books and their associated price fluctuations caused by the sorry state of the world.

Another digital book and magazine advantage: I can carry a large part of my library with me on my tablet and read them wherever I am in the world.

Good point.
Over the last 20 years, the skydiving industry shifted from printed manuals to electronic manuals. When I first started teaching parachute riggers, I needed a duffle/hockey bag full of manuals. Now I only need a lap-top computer with internet to access hundreds of manuals, service bulletins, etc.
 

riggerrob

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What an incredible bit of nonsense. Piracy, right now, consists of copying ebooks and printed books. There is no "philosophy" behind it aside from getting something for nothing. In pre-internet days, my company got calls from large volume copying companies where a person would walk in with one of our books and want to copy the whole thing. We never said yes to such a blatant copyright violation.

Price has nothing to do with it. Like the Black Market except it can also be a single individual who would rather make a pirated copy. He may or may not be interested in making additional copies to sell. The publisher should legally be free of piracy. My company contacts anyone who copies our books illegally and offers them for download. They are obligated under law to take those copies off their site even if they are charging nothing.

The rest of the above is rubbish.

Pirating is also a problem in the small boat kit-building industry. E-mailing CNC cut files to a local CNC shop would vastly reduce the cost of shipping pre-cut kayak kits .... BUT ... Chesapeake Light Craft refuses to send out CNC cut files for fear of law suits. They fear that some one will drown when their un-licensed, sloppy copy of a CLC boat sinks. Even if CLC is eventually proven innocent in a court of law, lawyers will still charge many thousands of dollars to defend CLC.
Burt Rutan got dragged into a similar accidental/negligent death lawsuit, but the jury eventually decided that Rutan was not at fault because they builder had neglected to install a specific layer of fiberglass.
 

Jemiba

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This thread should be kept just about Calum's book, dates of publication, translations and so on.
For the theme of ebooks in general, their problems, difficulties and chances, a dedicated
thread is recommendable, rather than hijacking an existing thread !
 

HoHun

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Hi Calum,

I found that Me409 photo in a box in the Daimler AG corporate archives in Stuttgart marked "Annular Radiators"

It had been put in there with (mostly) very dull photos of radiators, because that Me409 happened to have an annular front air inlet for the 1st supercharger stage of the DB628 which was inside. A good example of the random luck which usually produces the best finds.

The photo clearly shows the 409 in a workshop and the DB628 installed, without the cowling.

That's indeed quite the scoop! :)

With regard to the caption of the DB 628 photograph on p. 270, "Me 409 with DB 628 engine, nosecone" - isn't that actually just the engine on an mobile engine stand? I also wonder if that might be one of the wooden mock-ups, as it looks a lot cleaner in terms of textures, and also has some differences in layout to the actual engine installed on the Me 409 with regard to the intercooler, primarily.

Since I've just come across a 1943 document on a comparison prepared by von der Nüll, which mentions the type as "Bf 109 with DB 628", I wonder if the Daimler-Benz documents used the designation "Me 409"? Apologies if that was already discussed - I read the entire thread, but in several sessions, so maybe skipped some bits accidentally!

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

steelpillow

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Here's an intriguing summary of the British understanding of turbochargers ca. 1942:
beaumont.jpg

Note the apparent H-24 engine in the illustration, not at all the Wright Cyclone used on the B-17 mentioned in the text. I wonder if it is notionally a Napier Sabre, or possibly a Rolls-Royce Vulture, though the latter's development only began around the time of publication. Seems unlikely to be air-cooled (e.g. Napier Dagger) if its meaty enough for a 4-bladed prop. Odd, as I know of no exhaust turbine studies for these, or any other H-24 under consideration at the time. And the intake position can only be described as unlikely.
The book is:
R. A. Beaumont (Ed.); Aeronautical Engineering: A Practical Guide for Everyone Connected with the Aircraft Industry, Odhams, London. Undated, but probably 1942.
Wing Commander Beaumont, known to some of you as "Bee" or "Roly", also wrote several of the chapters, including this one. About two-thirds of its 500 pages are dedicated to piston engines, the rest to the airframe and related ancillaries.
This copy was owned by my father-in-law, who was an RAF erk.
 
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Wurger

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Here's an intriguing summary of the British understanding of turbochargers ca. 1942:
beaumont.jpg

Note the apparent H-24 engine in the illustration, not at all the Wright Cyclone used on the B-17 mentioned in the text. I wonder if it is notionally a Napier Sabre, or possibly a Rolls-Royce Vulture, though the latter's development only began around the time of publication. Seems unlikely to be air-cooled (e.g. Napier Dagger) if its meaty enough for a 4-bladed prop. Odd, as I know of no exhaust turbine studies for these, or any other H-24 under consideration at the time. And the intake position can only be described as unlikely.
The book is:
R. A. Beaumont (Ed.); Aeronautical Engineering: A Practical Guide for Everyone Connected with the Aircraft Industry, Odhams, London. Undated, but probably 1942.
Wing Commander Beaumont, known to some of you as "Bee" or "Roly", also wrote several of the chapters, including this one. About two-thirds of its 500 pages are dedicated to piston engines, the rest to the airframe and related ancillaries.
This copy was owned by my father-in-law, who was an RAF erk.
The engine looks like the Fairey F.24.
 

steelpillow

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The engine looks like the Fairey F.24.

Thanks, I forgot the Monarch was 24 not 16. But it had a six-blade contra-prop (driven 12+12), not the 4-blader illustrated. And it too was super- not turbo-charged, with a single central horizontal pressure feed along each side.
 

Nick Sumner

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Calum, Any thoughts on a way for English only readers to get hold of the new information in the Italian edition?
 

Calum Douglas

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That section from the book, whilst it does not "strictly speaking" contain any incorrect information, is in my personal view (from which I get reading between the lines) - is that this is very much like float carburettors.

This appears to me, to be a very spirited attempt to make a plausible list of excuses as to why we utterly failed to develop a really important piece of technology.

In the event, we "got away with it", because we got just about everything else right, and because we were lucky enough that the merlin could do just about everything, and the German programes were so ruined by inept upper management.

However, we could have done "even better" had we developed turbos, and, like the float carburettor, after a certain point all you can do when someone says "why dont you have any", is write a face-saving piece to persuade everyone you didnt just make an error of
judgement.

The back-pressure point is perfectly true, in that it lowers performance, but, if you have a very good turbo which saves you 200hp
in parasitic crank losses and delivers you another +350hp in "not lost anymore" power at 40,000feet, its a moot point as to
if you had to adjust the cam timing a bit and lost 50hp or something.

The heating of the intake charge is true in broad principle, but thats just a matter of a decent heat shield, and not putting the
compressor too close to the turbine volute, and is hardly any serious sort of conceptual impediment to their use.

The really serious problem was indeed the installation, and, as demonstrated by the Americans, if you dont design a fighter around it,
its exceptionally difficult to retro fit into an existing airframe.

The third reason is the only valid one, and is really just an illustration that in 1942 we were hobbling along on by stringing out the
life of existing types which had no hope of ever being turbocharged, like the Spitfire.

The greatness of the Merlin is a two-edged compliment, because on the flip side, if we had NOT had it to
bolster the performance of the types we had, I am unconvinced we had anything else of any use up our sleeves.

So in that respect its an example of an extremely high stakes win at the poker table. Looks great, as long as you DO win... but
then we had good reason to be confident as RR did a bloody good job and Hives and his engineers were the real deal - and
were given all they needed, to the undoubted detriment of Napier.
 

HoHun

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Hi Calum,

The back-pressure point is perfectly true, in that it lowers performance, but, if you have a very good turbo which saves you 200hp
in parasitic crank losses and delivers you another +350hp in "not lost anymore" power at 40,000feet, its a moot point as to
if you had to adjust the cam timing a bit and lost 50hp or something.

The parasitic crank losses would be the power required to drive the supercharger, and the "not lost anymore" power would be due to the turbo supercharger increasing critical altitude?

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

elmayerle

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The really serious problem was indeed the installation, and, as demonstrated by the Americans, if you don't design a fighter around it,
its exceptionally difficult to retro fit into an existing airframe.
The P-38 and P-47B et seq. were designed around it and did quite well after they were sorted out whereas the installations on the XP-39 and XP-40 clearly did not work that well and the turbosuperchargers were dropped from production versions (to the detriment of altitude performance). So I would say that your comment is quite accurate. If I recall correctly, both the Germans and the Japanese had great difficulty attempting to add such as afterthoughts.
 

elmayerle

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I'm curious, is there documentation on US development of high-performance fuels? I know that Charles Kettering worked on them for automobiles as part of his work for GM (since they owned Allison, I have to wonder if he had any input on the development of the V1710 - much as he did on diesel engine development for EMD, another GM segment, which made diesel-electric locomotives practical in the US).
 

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That section from the book, whilst it does not "strictly speaking" contain any incorrect information, is in my personal view (from which I get reading between the lines) - is that this is very much like float carburettors.

This appears to me, to be a very spirited attempt to make a plausible list of excuses as to why we utterly failed to develop a really important piece of technology.

In the event, we "got away with it", because we got just about everything else right, and because we were lucky enough that the merlin could do just about everything, and the German programes were so ruined by inept upper management.

However, we could have done "even better" had we developed turbos, and, like the float carburettor, after a certain point all you can do when someone says "why dont you have any", is write a face-saving piece to persuade everyone you didnt just make an error of
judgement.
This is a really interesting topic. I've always wondered why the British, with all their expertise on compressors and turbines and - unlike Germany - no significant restrictions on heat-resistant alloys, didn't use turbochargers as standard equipment - at least on the strategic bombers.
 

Calum Douglas

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I'm curious, is there documentation on US development of high-performance fuels? I know that Charles Kettering worked on them for automobiles as part of his work for GM (since they owned Allison, I have to wonder if he had any input on the development of the V1710 - much as he did on diesel engine development for EMD, another GM segment, which made diesel-electric locomotives practical in the US).
I have a few archive files on US fuel develoment, I was supposed to be writing an essay on it but
the National Archives in the USA are "effectively" closed at the moment to serious research efforts so
thats on-hold.

But yes, there is a fair amount of documentation
 

steelpillow

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I've always wondered why the British, with all their expertise on compressors and turbines and - unlike Germany - no significant restrictions on heat-resistant alloys, didn't use turbochargers as standard equipment - at least on the strategic bombers.

I got the impression from Calum's book that it was simple expediency - you have to design the engine and turbo as an integrated unit, and the powers-that-be felt that the time and effort would be better spent on incremental improvements to things like the Merlin. The Griffon and Sabre took long enough to develop; had turbos been added with their higher back pressure, they would probably not have arrived until after the first jets - and meanwhile the Merlin would have stagnated.
Since Germany's top bugbear aircraft in the last years of the war were all late-Merlin powered (Spit, Lanc, Mustang), that was probably the right decision, despite its lack of glamour.
 

fightingirish

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The German issue of this book will be published by the Motorbuch Verlag on October 26th, 2022.
Link (German):
 

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The cover of the German edition of the book is a mirror image of the cover of the original English edition.

1652800800543.png

As a consequence the air intake of the FW 190 D is now shown on the port side instead of the starboard side.

Maybe this has already been noticed by Calum or the editor or the publisher and will be corrected before the book is released, but I thought I mention it anyway, just in case
 

Calum Douglas

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The cover of the German edition of the book is a mirror image of the cover of the original English edition.

View attachment 678085

As a consequence the air intake of the FW 190 D is now shown on the port side instead of the starboard side.

Maybe this has already been noticed by Calum or the editor or the publisher and will be corrected before the book is released, but I thought I mention it anyway, just in case

I`ll forward on that concerm.

The good news is that my Uncle did the translation work under my guidance, so the text inside will be grade A.
 
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ChocolateCrisps

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This is a really interesting topic. I've always wondered why the British, with all their expertise on compressors and turbines and - unlike Germany - no significant restrictions on heat-resistant alloys, didn't use turbochargers as standard equipment - at least on the strategic bombers.
I've seen a few references over the years in various books (although the only one I can find right now is in the B-17 in RAF Coastal Command Service) to A&AEE testing finding the US-built turbocharged engines very difficult to flame-damp for night operations, which I gather was a major factor in Bomber Command rejecting them. Perhaps that was a reason why RAF strategic (and therefore night) bombers almost never used turbocharged engines?
 

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Perhaps that was a reason why RAF strategic (and therefore night) bombers almost never used turbocharged engines?
Calum's book makes it clear that the British chose consistently to apply their efforts elsewhere, from well before the war broke out. Geared superchargers and pressure carburettors were simpler and quicker to develop, and delivered all that was needed to fill the gap until the jets arrived. The late arrival and poor service record of the P-38 Lightning bears out the wisdom of this approach; it was rapidly supplanted by the P-51D Merlin Mustang. A supercharged Lanc would as often as not have been a Lanc sitting on the tarmac, even if it had arrived in time to play.
 

Basil

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This is a really interesting topic. I've always wondered why the British, with all their expertise on compressors and turbines and - unlike Germany - no significant restrictions on heat-resistant alloys, didn't use turbochargers as standard equipment - at least on the strategic bombers.
I've seen a few references over the years in various books (although the only one I can find right now is in the B-17 in RAF Coastal Command Service) to A&AEE testing finding the US-built turbocharged engines very difficult to flame-damp for night operations, which I gather was a major factor in Bomber Command rejecting them. Perhaps that was a reason why RAF strategic (and therefore night) bombers almost never used turbocharged engines?
The turbocharger works as a flame damper per se (perhaps besides a red glowing exhaust turbine).
 
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Foo Fighter

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I keep wondering why the early gas turbines failed to accelerate as quickly as late model piston engines and, why the hybrids failed to bridge the gap. I understand materials were a problem until quite late on but I reckon a lot of it came down to political decisions and strategic investment.
 

elmayerle

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I keep wondering why the early gas turbines failed to accelerate as quickly as late model piston engines and, why the hybrids failed to bridge the gap. I understand materials were a problem until quite late on but I reckon a lot of it came down to political decisions and strategic investment.
I suspect part of it was the early gas turbines were not as susceptible to quick adjustments as late-model piston engines.
 
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