Steam Machine


The steam engine has a fairly old history and, although we are not aware of it, it is used today in many activities of daily life. This machine was widely used during the Industrial Revolution and at that time, it was mainly used to be able to move large machines such as locomotives and ships . Today, they are even used for the generation of electrical energy .

What is a steam engine?

steam engine is a type of engine of external combustion that has the ability to transform energy from the steam by a work medo mechanical or kinetic through a particular duty cycle.

  • Features of the steam engine
  • Who invented it
  • Story
  • Parties
  • How does it work
  • What is it for
  • Types of steam engine
  • Effects on the environment
  • Importance of the steam engine

Features of the steam engine

The main characteristics of the steam engine are the following:

  • It is a type of external combustion engine .
  • Convert heat energy into mechanical energy .
  • It performs a combustion process which occurs outside the engine.
  • It has a series of outlet and inlet valves that are in charge of controlling the steam.
  • Do kinetic or mechanical work.
  • It was widely used during the Industrial Revolution .

Who invented it

The first steam engine that existed in the world is very old and was invented by Heron of Alexandria in the 1st century. At that time, it was known by the name of Eolipilla and it consisted of two tubes and a chamber into which it entered the steam to then be expelled through the tubes producing a rotary movement.

The first steam engine that was created for practical purposes was manufactured and invented by Thomas Newcomen in the year 1712 . He did it with the objective of being able to improve the performance that originated in the water pumps of the mines in order to obtain a better and greater profitability . However, James Watt, a Scottish engineer who made the presentation of the machine in 1769 , is considered to be its inventor .


The history of the steam engine is closely related to ancient times, specifically in Egypt , when Heron created a machine that could generate energy from steam, this was found in several manuscripts made by him. The steam engine was widely used mainly in the Industrial Revolution where it had a fundamental role for the mobilization of transport machines.

The first machine of this type was invented by Eduard Somerset in 1663 and following this model the model called Vauxhall was built in 1665 , however, he never had enough funds to be able to develop, build and sell the machine.

It was James Watt who managed to incorporate a series of improvements in the steam engines that already existed and gave greater importance to the use of steam. Watt made it possible for the device to operate at all times using the same temperature , which increased efficiency and was more effective . Later in the year 1765 , he created a separate condenser to help keep the temperature inside the cylinder higher.


The parts that a steam engine has are the following:

  • Boiler : this is the part where the transformation of water into steam occurs.
  • Inlet valve : it is the place through which the steam enters the machine and where the amount of steam that moves through the system is regulated.
  • Cylinder : in the cylinder you can find the piston.
  • Connecting rod-crank system : this type of system is the one that allows the transformation of the linear movement made by the piston by means of a circular movement.
  • Piston : the piston is in charge of exerting the vapor pressure.

How does it work

The steam engine works by transforming the heat energy that exists in a given amount of water into mechanical energy . Its operation occurs in two different stages, firstly the water vapor is generated that results from the heating of the boiler which is closed, which is produced by the burning of fuel .

Subsequently, pressurized steam is introduced into the cylinder and the piston is fully pushed . For this, a used wheel of inertia and by a mechanism connecting rod . Once the plunger has reached its maximum point, it then returns to the initial position it had, thus releasing the water vapor.

What is it for

The steam engine serves and is used in many applications in daily life . It is used in the textile field , in steamships , trains , in steam pumps . It serves to provide a greater amount of power to the machine which generates an increase in performance and in the efficiency of energy production. They are machines that are used to start large machines and a series of different devices such as pumps and motors.

Types of steam engine

There are several types of steam engines, these are mentioned below:

  • Plunger : this type of machine has a complex operation and requires pressurized steam to function. The steam in them enters through the pistons and is then released by the divisions where the steam is converted into a propulsion force thus producing rotational movements of force.
  • Multiple expansion: it is a machine that has several cylinders that can be moved in a rotary way and these cannot be handled at the same speed, which makes them intricate.
  • Of uniform flow : in this case they contain a series of cylinders to transfer the steam from one side to the other. They have a heating and cooling system subjected to steam.
  • Steam turbines : they are highly evolved machines and have a series of cylinders at the ends that allows a better and greater displacement, generating a greater speed in the conduction of steam.
  • Propulsion engines : they work by means of large cylinders by means of which the water enters a cylinder and then passes to a chamber where it will be subjected to extreme temperatures and then takes the steam to another cylinder which will be in charge of expending it to the motor with force.

Effects on the environment

The generation of steam needs to use combustion as a fundamental basis , a process through which a large amount of emissions of products that pollute the environment such as sulfur oxide , nitrogen oxide and combustion gases can be produced. Its use has also caused all natural resources to be exploited even more, mainly by large oil industries in the processes they carry out to extract crude oil and to refine it. In addition, to general power a greater power in the steam it is necessary to use fire, and this produces large amounts of smoke that also causes air pollution .

Importance of the steam engine

The importance of the steam engine is found in its important intervention in the Industrial Revolution since through its invention it was possible to significantly change the entire history of current civilization . Thanks to the steam engine, a better economic expansion was achieved , more jobs were generated and everything related to communication was improved .

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