Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Boiler Safety
Name: Bill
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I have recently come into posession of two toy steam engines and a boiler my grandfather built about 95 years ago. My concern is with the structural integrity of the boiler. Can you advise me how to determine if this boiler is safe to use. The boiler has no gauges on it to determine pressure, so I will need advice on proper gauge specs.



Replies:
I don't know the answers to your questions, but I do have a safety tip:

If you pressurize it to test it, make sure you fill it completely with water first. Air is compressible, and it will store energy as the pressure builds up, releasing that energy all at once if the structure fails. Water is incompressible, so it will not release stored energy if the thing bursts.

Tim Mooney



Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory