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How do you work out the brake horse power of a steam engine?

How do you work out the brake horse power of a steam engine if you have two high pressure cylinders 4″ dia and a stroke of 9″ running on 150psi of steam?
Graham from Kent (Aged 35-44)


One Response

  1. Hi Graham

    Although I’m not an expert in steam engines, I have some physics knowledge.

    As far as I can tell, you would need to also know the period of the stroke to work out the power output.

    Force on the piston = Pressure x Area

    Converting to SI units, this gives:

    1×034 kPa x 1.62 m^2
    = 16,800 Newtons

    Energy = Force x distance, so

    = 16, 800 x 0.2286 m
    = 3 830 J

    That is the energy in each stroke. You would then need to know how many strokes per second and multiply that by the energy of each stroke to get the power. Using my numbers, the answer will come out in Watts. Please see the link below for more information on the various definitions of horse power:


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