Aeolipile

From Academic Kids

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Aeolipile.jpg
A modern replica of Hero's aeolipile
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An illustration of Hero's aeolipile
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A classroom model of an aeolipile

An aeolipile is a device consisting of an air-tight chamber (usually a sphere or cylinder) with bent or curved pipes projecting from it, through which steam is expelled. The resulting reaction force causes the device to spin. Typically, the water is heated in a basin, which is connected to the rotating chamber by a pair of pipes that also serve as the pivots for the chamber. However, the water may also be heated in the chamber itself as shown in the illustration below.

The aeolipile, invented in the first century by Heron of Alexandria, is considered to be the first recorded steam engine. Sadly, the device was thought of as nothing more than a diversion during Heron's lifetime, and the device hasn't received any serious recognition until relatively modern times. All Heron would have needed to do was capture this spinning energy and he would have created the steam engine... almost two thousand years before it was re-invented. It can only be speculated how history might have changed had its practical aspects been recognized when it was first invented.

Heron had other such contraptions to his name. Many of his invention are for entertainment or religious purposes and we still don't know how they work.

The name —derived from the Latin words "aeoli" and "pila"— translates to "the ball of Aeolus" ; Aeolus being the Greek god of the wind.

External links

pl:Bania Herona pt:Eolípila

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