Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Fiat Turbina

1955:  The Fiat Turbina, Italy's attempt to harness the jet engine as a replacement for the internal combustion engine, is unveiled.


Ironmistress said...

Nothing illustrates the problems with scalability as well as the turbine cars and their demise.

A turbine is an excellent powerplant as large units. Its thermal efficiency is far better than on any other engines based on Carnot cycle, and it is reliable technology. Its major problem is that it does not scale down.

A turbine is economical only when we are speaking of 1000 shaft horse powers or more. This usually implies either airplanes, ships or installations - a railway engine is usually too small for an economical steam turbine.

The smallest warships I know of which have successfully employed gas turbine are the Finnish "Turunmaa" class corvettes. They had two Rolls-Royce Olympus turbines, and while they officially had 38 kn top speed, they attained 43 kn regularly, and with emergency restrictors overridden, could reach 51 kn for one hour before the turbines would break.

Ever seen a corvette planing?

jayessell said...

The mini jet engines used in high-end R/C models can't be harnessed as a powerplant?
As a generator for a Hybrid?

Tom said...

You have to have understanding neighbors when you wind that sucker up.

Anonymous said...

The gear box and clutch are going to be pretty fierce on this baby!

Ironmistress said...

JSL, sure they can, but are they economical? [And you sure won't like to drive on a gravel road with one...]

eon said...


Quite true. Another example is the turbine powerplant of the M1 Abrams series MBTs. The Leopard 2's multifuel diesel is very efficient, but it can't push the tank to a (governor-limited) 45mph on the highway. (Exactly how fast the M1 goes with the governor off is classified, I'm afraid, but it's pretty freaking fast.)