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'[TECH]: Archimedes Screw - wide range of modern us'
2010\07\26@172027 by Dave Tweed

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Olin Lathrop wrote:
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Yes, the turbine is indeed operational, and you can see it. In fact,
I was there just a few weeks ago. The automatic speed control is an
interesting study.

Also, it turns out (I didn't know this before) that a lot of important
basic research on the design of water turbines was done in Lowell. They
rediscovered the site of where this was done in the process of building
the new Jeanne D'arc Credit Union building in downtown Lowell, and they
went to some effort to preserve what was there while constructing the
building above the site.

To this day, the canal system is still used to generate power -- nowadays
in the form of a 13-MW (IIRC) hydroelectric station at the foot of the
Pawtucket Falls. There are actually four stations throughout Lowell
producing a total of 24 MW from both the Merrimack and Concord rivers.
(Google "Boott Hydropower")

What a great city for an engineer who's interested in the history of
technology to live in!

-- Dave Twee

2010\07\26@181835 by Olin Lathrop

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Dave Tweed wrote:
> Yes, the turbine is indeed operational, and you can see it. In fact,
> I was there just a few weeks ago. The automatic speed control is an
> interesting study.

I only saw it a few years ago before it was operational.  What impressed me
about it was how much was made of wood, not metal.  There was even mention
of a particular type of (South American ?) wood that contained enough oil
naturally to provide lubrication.

I don't remember whether the turbine itself was wood or metal, but I
definitely remember some gears being wood.  Most of the transmission system
was belt-based with large wooden spindles.  To be a mechanical engineer back
then, you must have had to be intimately familiar with the properties of
many wood species.

I wonder how much of today's electrical engineering knowledge will be
considered outdated or a lost art 100 years from now.


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