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February 04, 2008

Steam powered motorcycle

In 1884, Arizona engineer Lucius Day Copeland combined a highwheeled bicycle driven by levers, with a small steam engine, with the result being a steam powered motorcycle.

Posted by joke du jour at February 4, 2008 06:09 PM

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Yeah, steam transport didn't really catch on due to the tendency to explode and par-boil its cargo...could be safe with todays materials but impractial I am guessing...

Posted by: Anonymous at February 6, 2008 12:05 PM

Steam engines do have an efficiency advantage since they don't stop & start the combustion process repeatedly as I.C. engines do. OTOH, I.C. engines have the advantage of using the combustion gases as their working fluid - unlike steam, which throws away the combustion gas and uses water vapor for the working fluid.

So I think the killer to bringing back steam power will be concern over global warming (if you are so concerned). When you generate steam you're pumping water vapor, a notorious greenhouse gas, as well as the combustion gases into the atmosphere.

If you buy the strong positive feedback effect of water vapor in the atmosphere, you'd want to avoid that.

Posted by: JdJ at February 9, 2008 01:02 PM

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