| September/October 2000

Soot in the flues

Speed! Power! Performance! Humans have always wanted more, more, more of all three from developing technology, and they've gotten what they wished for tremendous advances in machines and methods that have, in some instances, nearly removed the farmer from the farming.

But they say that, on any journey to the future, you can't know where you're going unless you know where you've been. That's what makes the engine shows so important; they put us back in touch, literally, with what it took, and what it means, to labor to feed a nation.

These few months are filled with lots of shows across the land. Don't miss the opportunity to support the efforts of those who, like yourselves, are working to remind us where we've come from.

And don't miss the chance to share what you find out there with fellow IMA readers drop us a line if you find something, or someone, interesting! Now, on to our letters.

We hear this from GREGORY HOESLI, 717 W. South Street, Salina, Kansas 67401-4063, 'In the May/June issue, Pete LaBelle wonders if the comparison between steam engines and gasoline (or diesel) engines can be made more clear. Both in theory and in fact, the modern gas engines do indeed develop much more power than the steam tractors on the basis of size, and the two clues as to why this makes sense come from the differing nature of the two types of engines. The steam engine uses wood or coal burned externally to power the engine itself, whereas the gas engine burns its fuel internally, and much more efficiently and that gasoline has about 60% to 100% more heat value per pound than coal. Also, the speed of the steam engine is so slow by comparison. Remember that 'power' is 'work' (such as torque in foot-pounds) per unit of time, and even though the steam engine has a power stroke twice per revolution while the gas four-cycle engine has one every other revolution, the gas engine is running some ten times faster. That is why the power comes in such a small package. It is interesting to note that the maximum torque of a steam engine is at zero rpm but a gas engine must be running at a good clip to get its maximum torque. In fact, the gas engine has no power at zero rpm. For comparison, both engines' calculated power are derived from:

HP= PLAN/33,000,