Flemish (modern‐day Belgium) chemist Jan Baptista van Helmont first coined the terms gas and vapour in the 17th century. He related the classification to ambient temperature. Substances like oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are gases at ambient temperature whereas substances like water can only be gasified at an elevated temperature, making steam, a vapour.
In any heat engine, the transfer of energy from place to place is the job of the working fluid. Working fluids in heat engines are liquids, vapours and gases, and so Chapter 1 looks at some of the fundamental properties of these phases in relation to their energy content and introduces the reader to the use of standard property tables and charts.
For about 100 years from the late 18th century, the reciprocating piston/cylinder and drive wheel steam engine dominated mechanical power production. However, in 1884, British engineer Charles Algernon Parsons changed all that when he conceived a new technology for accessing the power of steam. His revolutionary idea was to use nozzles to direct high‐pressure, high‐temperature steam jets onto a series of engineered blades connected at their roots to a shaft, thus causing the shaft to rotate. Originally, his idea was deployed in a marine transport application but it was not long before his steam turbine was connected to a stationary generator by the fledgling electrical power supply industry at the beginning of the 20th century.
However, vapour ...