It it Getting Hot In Here, or is it Just Us? What do you Know About Steam Engines?

3 PLAYS

By: Becky Stigall

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Steam has been an important source of power since the Industrial Revolution. But how do steam engines really work? Test your knowledge of steam engines with this quiz.

The steam engine helped power what important historical era?

The Industrial Revolution was powered by the steam engine. Steam engines enabled advances in manufacturing, travel and energy production.

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Steam engines use what to move engine pistons?

Specifically, steam engines use some sort of fuel, like coal, wood or coke, to heat water to the boiling point. The water creates the steam that powers the steam engine.

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What moves inside a steam engine to make components turn?

Steam makes the pistons inside the engine move back and forth. This movement turns a wheel outside the engine.

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Who is credited with inventing a useful version of a steam engine?

Thomas Savery was an English inventor and engineer. He patented an early version of a steam engine in July 1698.

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True or false. The steam engine is an internal combustion engine.

The steam engine is an external combustion engine; the combustion of fuel takes place outside the engine. Modern combustion engines are internal combustion engines because fuel combustion takes place inside the engine.

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Steam engines, while still in use, have been largely replaced by what?

Gasoline and diesel engines are cheaper to operate and more efficient. Steam engines are, however, still used to produce electricity.

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Steam locomotives used what measure of power to help people understand how efficient they were?

Railway transportation did exist before the locomotive. Carts were pulled along rails by horses and other beasts of burden. Using the term "horsepower" helped people understand how many horses a steam-powered locomotive could replace.

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What was the name of the first commercial steamboat?

The Clermont was built by Robert Fulton in 1807. It was the first steamboat built for commercial use.

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Which of the following may be used to power a steam engine?

Actually, any form of energy may be used to heat the water that creates the steam that powers a steam engine. Early forms of fuel were wood, coal and coke.

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One of the first patents for steam power was obtained in what year?

Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont obtained a patent for a steam-powered water pump in 1606. The resulting device was not very useful.

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The first useful steam engine was known as what?

The Newcomen atmospheric engine worked by creating a vacuum. The device was used to remove water from coal mines.

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Who developed the first commercial steamboat?

The North River Steamboat of Claremont was also known as the Clermont. This steamboat traveled a route from New York City to Albany.

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James Watt's first steam engine produced how many horsepower?

Watt's 10-horsepower engine was produced in 1781. Watt was a Scottish inventor and engineer. Fewer than 100 years later, steam engines produced up to 10,000 horsepower.

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Most of the world's electricity is produced by what type of steam engine?

Turbine-type steam engines help generate electricity for the majority of the world. Typically, fossil fuels are burned to heat the water and produce the steam.

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Which of the following was the first steam engine on record?

The aeolipile, or Heron's engine, was invented by Hero in Alexandria, Egypt in the first century A.D.. The name aeolipile stems from the Greek god for air and wind, Aeolus.

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High-pressure steam enabled the application of steam to what kind of engine?

Richard Trevithick's application of high-pressure steam in 1800 enabled the feasible application of steam powered engines to transportation. Commercial steam vehicles were in production by the mid-1800s.

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What modification resulted in less wear on steam engines?

Steam engines were originally made with vertical cylinders because inventors thought horizontal cylinders would cause too much wear. Horizontal placement enabled the implementation of smaller engines.

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What invention all but eliminated the use of steam engines in cars?

The internal combustion engine was cheaper and more efficient to operate than the steam automobile engine. However, some sources began to explore the re-implementation of steam to auto engines in the 1960s due to rising pollution.

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What safety feature was added to the steam engine to prevent explosions?

The lead plug was designed to melt and release steam before the engine exploded. Before this invention, numerous lives were lost due to engine explosions.

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What type of steam engine uses successively larger cylinders to route steam?

The compound engine became common in the late 1800s. This type of engine was more powerful and more efficient.

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What type of steam engine provides direct rotary power?

Steam turbines are more efficient than their predecessors, reciprocating piston steam engines. They are used for outputs of hundreds of horsepower.

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What type of steam engine replaced early compound applications in ships?

The steam turbine engine replaced the compound steam engine in the late 1800s. Steam turbines are lighter, have fewer moving parts, and are more efficient than compound steam engines.

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What type of steam engine was used in early marine vessels?

The compound engine was good at managing the heavy weight of shipping cargo. These engines were eventually replaced by the turbine engine.

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The part of the engine that generates steam is called what?

Steam is generated in a boiler, or a steam generator. The steam is then forced into the engine.

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The working part of a steam engine is called what?

The motor unit and the boiler are the two components of a steam engine. In very large engines, the motor unit and the boiler may be located in different areas.

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Reciprocating steam engines were made out of what material?

The cylinder of a reciprocating steam engine was typically made of cast iron. Ports for the steam to enter and exit were cast into the cylinder.

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What type of heat source is used for steam engines?

Anything that will heat water may be used to produce steam in a steam engine. Early sources of fuel were wood, coke and coal.

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The part of a steam engine where water is heated is called what?

The boiler is where water is heated past the boiling point. Steam is then transferred from the boiler to the engine itself.

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Motor units operate on what type of power?

Motor units will operate on more than just steam. They can use any type of compressed gas to function.

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Waste energy is moved to what apparatus?

Cold sink refers to any method of disposing of heat waste. In locomotives, steam is released into the environment.

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What apparatus enables steam engines to function continuously?

A water pump eliminates the need to refill the boiler with water. Steam locomotives used injectors instead of water pumps.

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What device is used to analyze the efficiency and performance of steam engines?

The steam engine indicator is a paper tracing apparatus that is used to monitor an entire cycle. The device was invented by Charles Richard in 1862.

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Steam turbine engines typically operate at what speed?

Steam turbines typically operate at 3,600 RPMs in the United States. In Europe, the speed is typically 3,000 RPM.

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Steam turbines are currently used in what application?

Steam turbines help generate about 90% of the world's electricity. In this application, electric generators are connected directly to the turbine(s).

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What type of safety issue was most common with early steam engines?

BLEVEs, or boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions, resulted in many injuries and deaths before modern safety measures were implemented. BLEVEs happen when pressurized water causes a vessel to explode and release super-heated steam.

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