A Brief Word

| June/July 1992

By the time this copy is in your hands (early May), the big Waukee Swap Meet will be close at hand. This year, ye olde Reflector will be there representing Gas Engine Magazine. We're not sure of the schedule yet, but we plan to be there for at least part of the Swap Meet. Look us up...for anyone who has attended this one, that's easier than it sounds sometimes!

A special thanks to Duey Anderson, 5400 43rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417 for sending us the journal of the ASAE. This issue is for August 1920. One article discusses the use of kerosene as a tractor fuel. At that time, the majority of tractors were burning kerosene...some more successfully than others. The article was written by John A. Secor, who was then the consulting engineer for Advance-Rumely Company. It was Secor who developed the idea of a throttle-governed engine back in the 1890s.

Several important design features were necessary in the design of an engine that was to burn kerosene. The location of the spark plug and the design of the head make a great difference. Early on, the conclusion was reached that no combustion chamber should have any surfaces parallel to opposing surfaces, and the spark plug should not be opposite a flat surface.

It was also discovered that a definite relationship exists between the areas of the intake passages for greatest fuel economy. Eventually, it was concluded that the intake charge should travel through the valves at a speed of 160 feet per second.

Within this article, one man wrote that 'Gasoline is the sunshine of past ages and food is the sunshine of the present. There is a fundamental difference between the two. The former is a capital resource and the latter is a constant product. The great problem then, is what we can do after we use up our fuel capital.' Of course it should be remembered that engineers of this time thought we would have used up all our petroleum in a few decades at the most.

As is well known, water was used in the kerosene fuel mixture to retard preignition. Apparently, other experiments were done, some using carbon dioxide gas, and others using various chemicals from aniline to alcohol to benzol.