Wilesco Steam Engines

Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.

By Ted Beyer

Educational Innovations has carried Wilesco model steam engines off and on for years.  But why?  They’re just toys, right?  Well, no—they are so very much more.

If you apply some critical thinking to a steam engine and its accessories, you will discover that you have a wonderful practical demonstration of a bunch of scientific principles, many of which are pretty basic.

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What is a Radiometer?

Tami O'Connorby: Tami O’Connor – Taken From Litetronics

The radiometer is a light bulb-shaped device containing an object that looks like a weather vane (wings arranged in a circle like spokes of a wheel).  Developed to measure the intensity of radiant energy, or heat, the radiometer will:

  1. Help you understand the principles of energy conversion.
  2. Show how heat and mechanical energy are products of energy conversion.

Most of us don’t realize how important energy is in our lives.  In actuality, every facet of our life involves energy.  One of the reasons we tend to take energy for granted is that it is constantly changing from one form to another.  We call this change conversion.

During this conversion, energy is changing from one form to another.  In all energy conversions, the useful energy output is less than the energy input.  This is because some energy is used to do work, and some energy is converted to heat.Radiometer

Sir William Crookes invented the original radiometer in the mid-nineteenth century.  The device was developed to measure the intensity of radiant energy, or heat.

What causes the vanes of the radiometer to spin?

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