Video: Little-known Motors Of The USSR: An Engine Powered By Wood And Cones
2023 Author: Natalie MacDonald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 13:59
The automotive industry faces different challenges at different times. But all of them, to one degree or another, boil down to the fact that the use of gasoline (especially in large volumes) is either impossible or impractical. This problem existed in the USSR in the post-war years, and Soviet inventors solved it very elegantly.
Getting the cart to run on solid fuel is not difficult: similar mechanisms were created in England and China back in the 17th century. Actually, the legs of the first steam cars grow from this idea. Another thing is to make cars with internal combustion engines go on solid fuel. A certain technical magic already begins here.
Of course, wood chips, cones, charcoal or pressed briquettes cannot be thrown directly into the cylinders - it will not do any good. But you can turn these materials into a flammable gas mixture and use it in a traditional piston engine. This is precisely the essence of gas generators that can be found on domestic trucks of the first half of the 20th century.
The first experiments with gas generators began in 1928 - a year before the start of industrialization. Then, in 1928, Russian specialists installed a gas generator set designed by Professor V. Naumov on the chassis of the Italian FIAT 15 Ter truck. By the way, it was this car that became the prototype of the first serial domestic truck AMO-F-15.
And already in 1934, a large test run of machines with gas generators took place along the route Moscow-Leningrad-Moscow. The column of cars was made up of GAZ-AA and ZIS-5 trucks, equipped with installations from NATI specialists. As tests have shown, the idea of gas generating machines was more than capable of working - albeit with a whole heap of limitations and problems.
Firstly, the internal combustion engine, which runs not on gasoline, but on the gas produced by such installations, had less power - even an increase in the compression ratio did not help. Secondly, cars powered by such an exotic fuel had a modest range of about 100 kilometers, and they had to “refuel” every 50 kilometers to maintain the efficient operation of the gas generator. Thirdly, the additional device behind the cab not only increased the weight of the truck and hid the usable body space, but also required periodic "service".
Nevertheless, in the period from 1936 to 1939, a large batch (about 900 cars) of experimental ZIS-13 trucks equipped with a gas generator designed by A. Peltzer was produced. Cars could go "without refueling" about 90 kilometers, accelerate up to 45 kilometers per hour and carry up to 2500 kilograms of cargo in the back. It was the ZIS-13 that became the basis for the first mass domestic truck with a gas generator, the ZIS-21.
The release of the ZIS-21 was carried out in the period from 1938 to 1941 - at a time when it became obvious that gasoline might soon be needed for other purposes. During this period, 15,445 machines were produced, equipped with gas generators of the NATI G-14 type. Since the additional installation was mounted on the right side in front of the body lodgement, the truck received an asymmetric cab (with a half-shortened right door) and reinforced front right wheel springs. In addition, the ZIS-21 had a small (7.5 liters) fuel tank, which helped in case of a need to accelerate the start of the internal combustion engine or for short throws to the "refueling" points.
A little later, the production of the GAZ-42 was set up - a gas-generating "lorry", which was produced from 1939 to 1946. They were built as many as 33 840 pieces. The recipe is the same as that of the ZIS: a reinforced chassis, an increased compression ratio (from 4.6 to 6.2) and an increased ratio in the final drive.
Although the gas-generating ZISs and GAZs were slow and "gluttonous", they played an important role in the rear, helping to achieve victory in the Great Patriotic War. However, this does not mean that the ZIS-21 and GAZ-42 were immortal ponies that could work on anything. Only dry wood without rot could be used to "refuel" gas generating plants of the pre-war and war period. The Scientific Automobile and Tractor Institute of the USSR in the 30s experimentally found out that oak, ash, beech and birch are best suited for "refueling" such installations. For boilers of installations, wood material was cut to rectangular chocks with a side of 5-6 centimeters. At the same time, the use of commercial timber was strictly prohibited.
But it was possible to "fill" the car with agricultural waste: cones, straw, sawdust, husk, bark … However, before "use" they had to be pressed into special briquettes. They did not disdain such installations and coal with peat.
The listed materials were packed in a dense, thick layer in a vertical metal cylinder and burned with a limited amount of air. It turned out to be such an over-heavy fire, the air into which was taken from below. In the process of incomplete combustion of coal or wood of the upper layers, a gas mixture was formed, the lion's share of which was made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
The resulting gas mixture was sent to a series of coarse coolers, which made it denser. The next step for the mixture was a fine filter, which rid the dense mixture of ash, impurities and other debris that could not get into the combustion chambers. Finally, before entering the combustion chambers of the internal combustion engine, the mixture was saturated with air. Air intake was provided by a fan, which was driven by an electric motor.
Depending on the model, the gas generating plants could differ slightly (for example, have different cooling systems for the gas mixture or different filter elements), but the basic diagram remained unchanged. As you can see, no magic …
In the post-war period, when gasoline shortages were felt throughout Eurasia, and not only in the USSR, gas-generating machines did a good job helping to rebuild the country. Then the main "driving force" of this cargo segment was UralZIS-352L, which could "feed" even on rotten timber. It also became the last production car in the Soviet Union with a gas generator.
Although all work on "gas generators" was curtailed in 1955, these hardy cars remained on the roads until the mid-60s - especially where you will not find gas stations with fire during the day. Even now, some enthusiasts are bothering to convert their trucks to this fancy fuel. Because it's cheap and unusual. Such a domestic steampunk. Although gas generators were at one time popular in other countries where there are forests - in Germany and even in Sweden.
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