A S T R O  S A


Adelaide Branch


The meeting began at around 8PM with 25 people present which included several new faces and country member Lindsay and family who were in town for the weekend. Ashley began proceedings by welcoming everyone and mentioned that this was the third anniversary of the group in South Australia. Dan presented the Treasurers report and I gave the Secretaries report on correspondence received during the past month. This included a brochure from HMS in America, the Fueless Engine article, a letter regarding the paranoia around the Creative Sciences catalogue and at last the Extraordinary Science magazines, including lots of back issues!!!! Ashley then continued the meeting with a resume of his recent trip to Melbourne which included the Cybernet Cafe. He also touched on the subjects of new books and videos for our library, the Acres catalogue and the upcoming UFO Conference to be held in Melbourne in February.

Michael presented some information that he had downloaded from the Internet which included information on AC photovoltaic panels, upcoming cold fusion demonstrations, the Stirling Cycle engine, improving the combustion of fuel (an advertisement for American company RXP) and finally some humorous quotes. Hans Peter then proved that Murphy’s law is still alive and well by trying to demonstrate his new system he is designing which enables computer files to be downloaded remotely by using a FAX machine. This should be accomplished simply by dialling the phone number of the computer, entering four digits which corresponds to the file being requested, and the file is then printed out on the FAX machine. That is how it works every time.....except when trying to demonstrate it in front of 25 people!!

George then gave another talk on his 4th dimensional work which was basically around shapes that use one surface that “flips” in the middle eg. mobius strip. If you want anything more in depth than that, ask George! Finally we watched a shortened version of Howard Menger’s video on antigravity, followed by supper and a practical demonstration of Georges talk using Ashleys mountain of tetrahedrons.


In the April/May/June 95 edition of Extraordinary Science is a letter written by Charles Bagwell from Erie, Michigan. In his letter he explains why he feels that a freon engine, or generating electricity from a LTPC system such as espoused by Lee and Wiseman will not work.

“Heat pumps that heat and cool your home are one of the most efficient kinds of machines available. Some even claim a COP of as high as 4. So, a number of years ago I reasoned that it might be possible to turn some of that efficiency into rotating mechanical torque. I ran several different kinds of turbines (including a hand built Tesla type), gear pumps and compressors, on my R-22 heat pump system. I got mechanical torque out, but not as much as I expected. So, I decided to figure out on paper why freon did not work as well as one would expect from a pressurised fluid.

To shorten an otherwise wordy story, I found that a typical freon, such as R-12 or R-22, expands roughly 9 times when it changes from a liquid to a vapour. You would think that was great until you find that water expands 1602 times when it changes state. One pound of freon is equal to approximately 0.2 cu ft as a vapour whereas steam takes up 26 cu ft. One cu ft of freon contains 500 BTU’s. Steam only contains 37. The high BTU content of freon is what makes it a good substance to transfer large amounts of heat at a relatively low volume, and at relatively low pressures. However, because of the low expansion factor, freon does not work well to power any type of pump or turbine. To power a prime mover, a high expansion substance is needed. I guess that is why old timers chose to use steam”  


After three years I finally got one! Ian has responded to the unplanned demonstration which occurred after the December meeting. His letter is reprinted below.


This month we shall look at how this engine works. The basic principle of operation is that the pressure of air, or any gas, will increase if heated and decrease if cooled. The cylinder of a simple engine contains air at atmospheric pressure. This working gas contained in the engine is alternately heated and cooled, over and over again. When the gas is heated, its pressure rises, and it pushes against and moves a piston, thereby doing work. After the piston has been pushed as far as it will go, the gas is then cooled and its pressure drops, sucking the piston back to its starting position, at which point the cycle begins again. The piston continues to go back and forth, reflecting the internal pressure changes of the working gas as it is alternately heated and cooled. This is a very simplified explanation of the principle of operation of the engine.

Next we will look at the engine in a little more detail and follow the gas at each part of the cycle. The cylinder has an external heat source heating one end of it and cooling fins or a water jacket surrounding the upper two thirds of it. Inside the cylinder we have a displacer which is about one third the length of the cylinder and has a small clearance around its sides. The function of the displacer is to take up the space of or to “displace’ a volume of gas. A shaft is connected to the top of the displacer which extends out the cool end of the cylinder. Next is a piston, with a hole in the middle, which fits over the displacer shaft and inside the cylinder. If you now follow the drawings, it will become evident how this engine works. At the start of the cycle, the displacer is at the hot end of the cylinder and the air is in the cool portion of the tube. As the air cools, a partial vacuum occurs, drawing the piston back into the cylinder. The displacer is then moved back to meet the piston, displacing the cooled air, and forcing it past the displacer into the hot end. As the air heats up, its pressure increases, and drives the piston back towards the open end of the cylinder. The displacer is then returned to the hot end, transferring the air to the cool portion of the cylinder, and the cycle begins again. It becomes apparent from this that what is happening is that the displacer is simply moving the trapped gas in the cylinder from the hot end to the cool end, where it is cooled. The gas, when hot, increases in pressure and pushes the piston up. The same gas, when cooled, decreases in pressure and sucks the piston back in. The displacer allows us to move the trapped, working gas rapidly between the heated end of the tube and the cool end. In other words the displacer controls the temperature and thus the pressure of the working gas, enabling us to vary the temperature of the gas even thiugh one end of the cylinder is constantly hot and the other is kept constantly cool.

Next month we shall look at some of the history of the Stirling engine.


Sydney’s Parliament House has recently converted their standby diesel generator so that it can economically run for 15 hours per day, 5 days per week, producing electricity and hot water for the building’s occupants. The 700 KW, V12 Cummins diesel engine was originally installed to drive a generator to provide emergency power to Parliament House, the State Library, and the Sydney Hospital. The machine was only run once a week to check that it was in working order.

To minimise air pollution, the engine was converted to natural gas. The conventional and expensive conversion normally requires a spark ignition to be fitted which means spark plugs, coils, distributors and new heads. To avoid this expense, this machine was converted by providing a gas feed into the fresh air induction system and leaving the engine running on diesel. The extra fuel available from the gas makes the engine run faster, but the governor reduces the diesel feed so that the preset revolutions are maintained. This results in the engine burning about 90% gas and 10% diesel.

The cooling water for the engine, at about 90 degrees C, is passed through a heat exchanger to transfer this heat into the building’s hot water system. A second heat exchanger transfers heat from the exhaust gas, which leaves the engine at around 500 degrees C. This exchanger takes 80% of the available heat and leaves only enough heat to create sufficient stack velocity to remove the exhaust gas. The two heat exchangers recover about 800 KW of what would otherwise be waste heat and use it to heat the building’s swimming pool, showers and in the air conditioning system.

The project cost $300,000 while savings of $140,000 per year gives a payback period of just over two years. It’s good to see the “establishment” actually doing some of the things we talk about, with a result that is both conservationally and economically sound.


Although zinc air batteries can triple the range of electric vehicles, they don’t respond well to speedy recharging. A company from Israel, the Electric Fuel Ltd., plans to overcome this problem with an off line refuelling / generation infrastructure. Electric Fuel’s zinc air batteries consist of 66 cassettes. Each one houses a zinc anode and two cathodes that extract oxygen from the air to supply the electrochemical reaction.

Refuelling station machinery extracts the spent cassettes and inserts the recharged ones. The used modules go to a regeneration plant where electrowinning turns the zinc oxide back into zinc. The German Post Office is running a pilot programme with 50 vehicles.


This article from the August 19th. 1995 New Scientist magazine shows that fuel vapour systems are still hanging around in the commercial area - they just won’t go away!! (thank goodness) Small cheap utility engines, such as those used in lawnmowers, can typically cause up to 50 times more pollution per kilowatt than a car engine. In other words, a 3 kilowatt lawn mower can emit as much pollution as a 150 kilowatt Jaguar. An American company has found an answer to the problem by using a carburettor that works like a wick on a candle. In the evaporative carburettor, air passes over a fine petrol soaked screen. The fuel evaporates into the airstream, and the resulting vapour is fed into the combustion chamber. The screen or wick is a multi-layered sandwich of laser perforated metal discs.

The inventor of the evaporator is retired British aero engineer Jack Pedersen, who now acts as a technical consultant to Combustion Innovations of Stamford, Connecticut. Pedersen and his colleagues initially tried to attract interest in their evaporator from the car industry, but although promising test results were achieved from a converted Ford Tempo, no interest has been shown to adopt the system by car manufacturers. (surprise, surprise!!!) However, Briggs and Stratton have begun testing the unit as an option for cleaning up small engines because it is cheap. The evaporator costs about $15 to manufacture and fit, with the price being even less when the cost of a conventional carburettor is subtracted. By comparison a catalytic converter for the same engine would cost $25 and still only reduce emissions by 30%. Tests of the evaporator have shown carbon monoxide levels in the exhaust to be less than half those proposed for future legislation by the EPA in the U.S. Levels of Nitrogen and Hydrocarbons were also well within the proposed limits.  


Mitsubishi Motors is claiming a world first with a new engine in which the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder first without first being mixed with air. The result is a dramatic improvement mileage and power. The new engine relies on four key developments: an intake port that directs air straight into the cylinder; a high pressure fuel pump; a fuel injector that controls the atomisation and dispersion of the fuel spray; and a piston with a shallow, curved hollow in the head. This results in a stratified air -fuel mixture that is very lean overall but very rich in the vicinity of the spark plug to ensure stable combustion. This allows air-fuel ratios of up to 40:1 under cruising conditions.

Mitsubishi estimates fuel consumption could be cut 40% when idling, and 25% for city driving. The injection of the gas also serves to cool intake air, allowing the compression ratio to be increased to 12:1, up from the 10.5:1 from Mitsubishi’s comparable conventional engine. this produces an estimated 10% increase in torque and power output.


The following article came off Internet and is about an engine in which small quantities of water are turned into steam by the use of a magnetron (as found in microwave ovens). I don’t know anything about the inventor or his device but thought the idea was worth presenting for those people who are working in this area.

“The principle involved can be demonstrated by the following test: Place a few drops of water into a clear plastic 35mm film roll holder and put the cap on the film roll holder. Place in a microwave oven and turn the oven on. The 'pop' is the result of the water turning suddenly into steam.

The engine I have invented is far more efficient than any other steam engine because the efficiency of the magnetron in turning water into steam. In fact, the water droplet 'explodes' very much like air/gasoline explodes in a conventional internal combustion engine. This engine was first tested in 1992.  I am however unable to invest the required capital to produce a more sophisticated model and therefore unable to patent it. Even though I may not be able to profit from this technology, it is too good to be kept to myself and I would like to spread it around so that others may be able to use it.

The following is an outline of how to construct the device and a few cautions:


1. Magnetron from medium power microwave oven.

2. Small 4-stroke single cylinder lawn mover engine or similar engine with 'old style' points and ignition system.

3. Automotive alternator with built-in rectifier and regulator, also a 12 volt auto battery.

4. "Trigger" mechanism from an aircraft "strobe" landing light.


1. The magnetron fits into the spark plug hole.

2. The distributor points are modified so that the contact is closed when the piston is at the top dead center and this contact is used to activate the aircraft strobe         mechanism.

3. The high voltage from the strobe is connected to directly fire the magnetron which in turn produces steam which moves the piston.

4. The engine turns the alternator which keeps the battery charged, which supplies the electrical power for the magnetron.



2. The 'strobe' trigger delivers a very high voltage which can jump to ground. WEAR RUBBER SOLED SHOES AND INSULATE WELL.

3. Be sure to modify the distributor points so they close at the top dead centre. Timing advance depends on the power of the magnetron used and the amount of      water. Try different carb jet sizes -- drill out if needed.

4. Due to variables, don't expect high engine speeds without a little experimentation.

5. Start with a fully charged battery or your alternator won't work.

6. The energy produced is in excess of the power required to run the alternator but until you get the RPM up, and the parts working in harmony, it may be best to    use a battery charger instead of an alternator.

7. An easy way to measure net power output after you have the alternator on line is to run a few 12 volt lights from the battery.  You will see that the battery stays   charged even with the lights on and the motor keeps on going.

8.  Although I have not tried it, the idea of vaporizing water with microwaves should also work well in a converted turbine.”

******  From: Pat_Pelletier@mindlink.bc.ca (Pat Pelletier)  ******


This article appeared in the Financial Review on 3/10/95. This scenario seems to occur all too often with this type of device, which leads us to the familiar question of is it being suppressed or didn't it work in the first place?


This will once again be held on the second Friday of the month, this time being:  


This month we will have a talk by Des Chilton on the PURIFINER, an engine oil filtering system which enables 160,000 Km between oil changes. Also we will show a shortened version of a Borderland Science video on:


  Don’t forget to bring along $3 to cover newsletter and video library costs and something for supper. Finally, please respect the 12 O’clock finishing time. Hope to see you all next month.