0

When Trains Ran on Air

via Engadget

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was and is one of the most celebrated engineers ever to have lived. There’s a London university named after him, statues commemorating him across the UK, and many of the tunnels and bridges he built are still in use today. He designed London’s Paddington station, built the first transatlantic steamship powered by propellers, and was chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, which connected the capital to distant parts of England and Wales.

His legacy isn’t just one of achievements, though. He is also renowned for his involvement in one failed project in particular: Brunel’s atmospheric railway (or “caper,” as it’s sometimes called). Cars on the line — officially, the South Devon Railway — had no on-board engines, as they were driven by air pressure alone. But the design of the system was ultimately flawed. Within a year of service starting, atmospheric propulsion on the South Devon Railway was quickly abandoned.

Brunel’s atmospheric railway is notable because of its length and the name attached to it. The famed engineer had nothing to do with the concept itself, however. The story begins as early as the late 1600s with French scholar Denis Papin, who worked on the beginnings of leverging air pressure and steam power.

At the turn of the 19th century, London-based inventor George Medhurst floated the first well-rounded idea of using compressed air as a fuel of sorts, patenting what he called the “Aeolian engine.” Over the next 30 years, he published several manuscriptsoutlining in detail how air pressure could push anything from letters to heavy goods and people through closed systems. He thought passenger trains could either travel inside a large duct, or be pulled by a piston that air could force along a much smaller tube.

See more!


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 10,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython 2019!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/


Maker Business — Japan and the EU enter into monumental free trade agreement

Wearables — Stock your shop

Electronics — Have the need for speed? This diode might be right for you

Biohacking — Combining HIIT with a Polarized Training Plan

Python for Microcontrollers — Python powered for IoT design week, CircuitPython beta, and millions of thanks… #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @circuitpython @micropython @ThePSF @Adafruit

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.