Posted by Derek Geldard on December 7, 2008, 4:47 pm
I once saw a BBC Christmas lecture by Prof Eric Laithwaite which
explored the idea.
The biggest issue was safety, the energy stored in the flywheel would
have been tremendous and if a failure occured and the flywheel escaped
it would have carved "A neat slot" through buildings for miles across
That and Gyroscopic precession. If the flywheel was horizontal the bus
could turn left or right, but if ever one side of the bus ran into a
gutter and the bus tried to rotate the flywheel in the horizontal axis
once again absolutely tremendous forces would impinge on the bearings
/ mountings of the flywheel.
Intuitively I feel sure that could be done magnetically / electrically
Posted by damduck-egg on December 7, 2008, 6:11 pm
On Sun, 07 Dec 2008 16:47:06 +0000, Derek Geldard
The effect on the handling of a gyroscope is mentioned in this article
Not the same as mentioned by Donwill, these were an attempt to have
electrically powered buses without the overhead wires required by a
Trolleybus. Not too successfully as it turned out but they did run
and did not manage to destroy their surroundings.
Here in the UK this company seems to have been around promoting
Flywheel storage for ages.
http://www.parrypeoplemovers.com/ but I don't think any commercial
operation has started yet.
Posted by Gordon Henderson on December 7, 2008, 7:34 pm
They tried it in Bistol for a while, but I think it's now closed. A
quick google found:
Posted by Tim Jackson on December 8, 2008, 7:14 pm
Derek Geldard wrote:
I met Laithwaite around that time and was somewhat caught up in his
obsession with gyros for a while.
The gyro effect in this case is quite easily overcome if you are using
electric transmission, the flywheel assembly can be mounted on gimbals
and the axis remain vertical regardless of the incline. Otherwise the
front wheels will come off the ground when you go downhill!
I don't have a reference, but I remember reading about steam-era
shunting locomotives (used as I recall in quarries), that used flywheel
power storage, recharged periodically from a stationary boiler.
One set-up that intrigued me was a pair of counter-rotating flywheels on
a common axis in an evacuated chamber. I felt it had to be good for
something, but apart from land mines I don't know what.
Posted by Neon John on December 8, 2008, 7:51 pm
I'm somewhat of a railroad buff, and at least in America, I've never heard of
a flywheel powered locomotive. There WERE stored energy locomotives however.
Commonly known as "thermos bottle" locomotives, they were charged with
superheated water from a stationary boiler and subsequently operated for
several hours on the stored heat. They were very popular in powerhouses and
coal yards for obvious reasons (no fire hazard) and in places like steel mills
were they had to operate indoors.
here are some photos of thermos locomotives, on display at the Railroad Museum
of Pennsylvania. I especially like the Pennsylvania Power one which looks
most like a conventional locomotive.
John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net!
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. -Marie Curie