Tesla Turbine Pump
On October 21st, 1909, Nikola Tesla (an inventor of many ingenious items) filed a patent for a pump which uses smooth rotating disks inside a volute casing.
Tesla’s novel method of “fluid propulsion” was based on two basic principals of physics: “adhesion and viscosity”.
In the patent (which he received May 6th, 1913) Tesla began by pointing out the benefits of a smooth transition of energy:
“In the practical application of mechanical power based on the use of fluid as the vehicle of energy, it has been demonstrated that, in order to attain the highest economy, the changes in velocity and direction of movement of the fluid should be as gradual as possible.”
His device accomplishes this by harnessing the “internal forces opposing molecular separation” and “the shock of the fluid against the asperities of the solid substance”. (Asperities are surface deformities, which even the smoothest disk will have.)
Each disk has holes cut in the center “preferably curved, as shown”. We have highlighted the holes in light blue in the lower drawing.
The patent states that to reduce clogging, a solid disk or disks (“each in its own casing”) can be used. Also, the pump can be staged for increased pressure, using the output of one disk as the input to the next, in series, on one shaft.
With a rotational force applied to the shaft, rotating the keyed disks, the fluid rotates as well and moves towards the outer edge of the disks. In the lower drawing the fluid spirals out in a counter-clockwise direction.
The fluid might complete one or more revolutions, or less than a revolution, before reaching the outer edges of the disks, depending on the viscosity of the fluid, the speed of rotation, the width between the disks, and other factors.
A bicycle tire pump works just like any other simple force pump such as a bilge pump or lift pump.
There is a valve blocking the flow of air out of the pump to the atmosphere while on the downstroke, and another valve stopping the flow of air from the tire to the pump cylinder during the upstroke.
Tire pumps come in a huge variety of shapes and styles but this is one of the most common varieties.
Some modern bicycle pumps deliver air on both the downstroke and the upstroke by having an additional set of valves. This reduces the time it takes to fill the tire.
Turbine pumps typically have a high head and high discharge pressure for their size and speed. It is not uncommon for turbine pumps to produce heads over 1000 feet, at relatively low RPM compared with other pumps.
This high head from a single rotating impeller is caused by the unique operation of the pump.
As fluid goes from intake to discharge (in just under one revolution) it circulates around and around as shown in the lower drawing. Each time it passes the turbine blades it gains additional pressure.
For relatively low flow rates this pump is often more efficient than a comparably-sized centrifugal pump.
This pump is commonly used for clean fluids of low viscosity because of the close tolerances needed between the blades of the turbine and the casing
A Tympanum is basically just a sectioned cylinder which is rotated. It has a number of pie-slice shaped chambers, each of which has an intake hole at the outer edge and an outlet hole near the center.
The outer slot or hole is on the leading edge in the direction the cylinder is rotated. When the leading edge dips into the water, the section fills and when it rises out of the water the hole is above the water line.
As the cylinder rotates the liquid sloshes to the center and empties out the center hole.
Tympanums were used in ancient Greece and have been used throughout the world for thousands of years. They might be powered by horses or humans or even by the force of a stream from which the pump takes its water.