Why wasn’t the Steam Engine Invented in China? #History #Invention
The Chinese invented gunpowder, the compass, paper money, oil refining and many other amazing things, so why not a steam engine?
In a steam engine, the piston is moved using hot high-pressure steam, while a gun or cannon moves the projectile through the barrel using the hot gases produced when gunpowder is ignited. It may surprise you that the first engines made were in fact gunpowder driven and not gasoline or steam driven.
Why am I bringing up this point in a story about why China did not invent the steam engine? Because mastery of cannon making was very much a prerequisite technology for the development of the steam engine. One of the hardest problems James Watt faced when building his steam engine was to create a perfect cylinder. If the cylinder isn’t perfectly smooth and straight, you will get gas leakage and dramatically reduce the efficiency and practicality of the engine.
The key point is that a massive amount of study and experiments preceded the invention of the atmospheric and the steam engine. In other words, a key prerequisite for the Steam Engine was the European scientific revolution.
Read more via an article by Erik Engheim on Medium.
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