“The Fire Burns Much Better ..”

“The Fire Burns Much Better ..”

This book, first published in 2006, is a revision of a PhD thesis submitted by Dr J.J.G. Koopmans to the University of Sheffield.

Koopmans depicts his book in the following words:

“It describes the historical research into the subject of smoke ejection by steam locomotives.

Within the smokebox of a steam locomotive two gas flows meet, the one is the exhausted steam from the blast orifice, the other is the smokegas from the firebox which is drawn through the boiler by the artificial draught caused by the exhaust steam. The title of the thesis is after the written observation by Richard Trevithick in 1804.

The first five chapters treat the historical development of locomotive chimneys and exhaust systems from 1804 to 2004. These chapters are accompanied by thirty Appendices with excerpts of the original publications, translated into English where necessary.

The sixth chapter treats the research and developments outside the railways. A number of these could have influenced the design of proper chimneys.

The seventh chapter is a theoretical approach which uses data of the historical tests of British Railways of the 1950s, among others. The optimal dimensional ratios of chimneys and blastpipes, the front end, are derived. An explanation of the function of the chimney system is given, leading to suggestions of improvements like multiple orifices. A present day theory, expressed in non-dimensional parameters, is presented and used for calculations of different front ends.

Chapter eight describes the tests with the 0-6-0 steam locomotive RTM 54 which was used for verification of a number of assumptions.

In the conclusions of chapter nine it is stated that any present day steam locomotive front-end could be improved, leading to a decrease of water and coal usage and air pollution. The final two appendices are meant for the live steam locomotives of model engineers.

Between 2005 and 2013 Dave Wardale and Jos Koopmans engaged in extended correspondence over the subject of the Lempor exhaust and its design for the 5AT as presented elsewhere on this website.

Notwithstanding the Wardale’s contentions, Koopmans’ book offers a unique appraisal not only of the history of steam locomotive exhaust systems, but of the theories on which they were, and are, based.

Now out of print, copies of book are not easy to obtain.  They are however, worthwhile reading for anyone interested in “the beating the heart” of locomotive perfomance.

ISBN-10: 90-6464-013-0
ISBN-13: 978-90-6464-013-1
484 pages