Toy Tesla Turbine
Introduction to the technologyA Tesla turbine is a quite unique technology. It was invented and patented by Nikola Tesla on the 21st October 1909 at the Untied States Patent Office from experiments done in England. The patent 1061206 was granted on the 6th May 1913. Although, it is thought that a Tesla first showed a 200 hp 16,000 RPM version on the 10th of July 1906 (on Tesla’s 50th birthday).
From what Tesla wrote in the patent it seems his experiments were mainly done with fluids but had confirmed it works with air as well. Unlike a conventional turbines, jet engines and most pumps, Tesla’s turbine can be designed to be reversible with no loss in efficiency. Normally compressed air, fluids or steam is applied to the ‘inlet’ and the turbine spins giving a mechanic rotational output. However, it can also double up as a pump, by rotating the shaft the air/fluid/steam can and be sucked and blown from the inlets / outlets. This makes it unique in being a reversible turbine and a reversible pump. However efficiency increases can be made by tailoring the pump to the medium.
Who was Nikola Tesla?Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856 - January 7, 1943) was a physicist, inventor, and electrical engineer of unusual intellectual brilliance and practical achievement. He was of Serb descent and worked mostly in the United States.
Some of the more notable things Nikola Tesla invented
Late 1800s Pioneered work with spark plugs
1882 Polyphase electric power (almost all mains systems run on this today)
1888 Set the 60 Hz standard for North America while working for Westinghouse
1888 Brushless synchronous and induction motors
1891 Wireless electric power transmission concepts
1892 X-Rays (3 Years before Willhelm Roentgen re-discovered them!)
1893 Practical Radio
1895 Designed first commercial three-phase AC power plant for use at Niagara Falls while working for Westinghouse<
1898 Demonstrates wireless remote controlled boat (first wireless remote control)
1906 Tesla bladeless turbine and pump
More information about Nikola Tesla can be found at:
Tesla WardenClyffe Project
Tesla Memorial Society
The images below are pictures of Tesla's original turbines (click to enlarge)
(Thanks to Tesla Wardenclyffe Project Archives for letting us use the images above)
How Tesla Turbines workOn a simple level conventional turbines and pumps scoop up the medium and then expel it. Tesla turbines work by using the boundary layer effect, using viscosity and the adhesion. This basically means that gasses and fluid drag the disks around when being used as turbine and the disks drag the fluid/gas round when it’s a pump.
Tesla claimed that by keeping the “sudden changes, shocks and vibrations” to a minimum it stops "imparting to, or deriving energy from a fluid, such as pistons, paddies, vanes and blades“. In other words it’s more efficient.
Because of the simplicity of the design and construction it is less likely to have flaws, limitations. Design and construction costs are also much lower.
Arguments about how efficient they are and for which purpose they are best used, have been going on since it’s been invented. Professor Rice concluded that Tesla turbines were not as efficient as some types of turbines but should be considered for some applications.
Advantages of Tesla turbines
- Lower design and production costs than standard turbines, jet engines and pumps
- High-speed (100,000rpm+ be achieved with some versions)
- Low friction (uses boundary layer effect , adhesion + viscosity rather friction)
- Can be run on a vacuum
- Can be powered by air, steam, gasses or liquids
- Proven technology (but rarely used)
- Lower complexity the conventional Jet Engine
- Can be used as a pump by rotating the shaft
- Quieter in operation than conventional machinery
- Noise is more ‘white’
- 2 stage or multi stage versions can run on combustible gas/liquids (Just like a jet engine)
- Low rotor torque
- Often not suitable for a direct replacement for conventional turbines and pumps, without changes to the machinery it is interacting with.
- Proof of its efficiency compared to conventional turbines is still questionable and needs more research
- It has remain underdeveloped and hence design improvements are still being made
About this productDespite the technology being available for over 100 years now, as far as we are aware this is the first affordable production tesla turbine. It has been design for educational use and also to promote Tesla turbine technology. It should appeal to physicists , teachers, engineers, technologists and Tesla Enthusiasts. This model runs from air pressure 40psig to 70 psig and generates electricity from a 3 phase AC motor/generator (approximately 60Watts @ 25,00rpm). It has a see through design that enables visual inspection and easy explanation of the technology and forces. It has a standard air-line connector that is used throughout the world. Most air compressors and air-lines can be easily connected and used to power it. For UK customers we would recommend screwfix air compressors.
|The whole unit:||5" wide x 11" long x 5" high|
|turbine housing:||4" square by 1" deep|
|rotors:||4, each 3" in diameter and 0.110" thick|
|space between rotors||0.06"|
|weight||approximately 3 lbs.|
|Max. Speed:||35,000 RPM|
|Max. Pressure:||70 psig|
|Typical Power:||60 watts @ 10.5 VAC @ 25,000 RPM|
|Runs of:||compressed air|
|Can be used as a pump:||No|
|Maintenance||Bearings need to be oiled|
Documents of interest
|Tesla Turbine patent:||Us patent 1061206|
|Paper by Prof. Warren Rice:||Tesla Turbo Machinery|
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