George Brayton
George Brayton was born in Rhode Island, son of William H. and Minerva (Bailey) Brayton. He was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 mechanical engineer who lived with his family in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, and who is noted for introducing the continuous combustion process that is the basis for the gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

, and which is now referred to as the Brayton cycle
Brayton cycle
The Brayton cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that describes the workings of the gas turbine engine, basis of the airbreathing jet engine and others. It is named after George Brayton , the American engineer who developed it, although it was originally proposed and patented by Englishman John Barber...


Brayton's Ready Motor

In 1872 Brayton patented an internal combustion stationary engine
Stationary engine
A stationary engine is an engine whose framework does not move. It is normally used not to propel a vehicle but to drive a piece of immobile equipment such as a pump or power tool. They may be powered by steam; or oil-burning or internal combustion engines....

 initially using gas but more commonly liquid fuels such as kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 and petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

  known as Brayton's Ready Motor, which had one cylinder for compression, a receiver reservoir, and a separate power cylinder in which the products of combustion expanded for the power stroke. The significant difference from other piston driven internal combustion engines is that the two cylinders are arranged so that the fuel/air mixture burns progressively at constant pressure as it is transferred from the compressor cylinder and reservoir to the working cylinder. In the original engine a gas/air mixture was compressed, and metal gauze/mesh was used to prevent the combustion running back to the compressor. However the consequences of a break in the mesh, leading to flash-back were a problem, so the engine was switched to using liquid fuel introduced as the air passed from the compressor to the working cylinder. The principle was referred to as constant pressure combustion, and had been attempted without success by Sir William Siemens
Carl Wilhelm Siemens
Carl Wilhelm Siemens was a German born engineer who for most of his life worked in Britain and later became a British subject.-Biography:...

 c1861 using a 4-cylinder engine with separate combustion chamber. Brayton not only achieved success in making the constant pressure cycle work, but he also made and marketed a commercial product.

The engine's cycle of operations including sectional drawings, indicator diagrams (for both gas and petroleum fuelled versions) and details of the way the liquid fuel was introduced are described over 11 pages of Dugald Clerk's book "Gas and Oil Engines". The petroleum engine in these tests was made by the "New York and New Jersey Ready Motor Company". This is followed by a similar analysis of Simon's engine which was an adaptation of the Brayton engine made by Louis Simon & Sons, in Nottingham, UK and marketed as The Eclipse Silent Gas Engine. The Simon engine had an added complexity in that it injected some of the water/steam heated by the engine/exhaust into the engine. The indicator diagrams for this engine are also reported by Dugald Clerk and show that the addition of the water has little merit in terms of power production, the cooling of the gases and expansion of the steam compensating for each other.

Because the Brayton engine had a slow progressive burn of the fuel/air mixture it was possible to maintain a pilot flame, and so the engine, once lit, needed no form of ignition system. The measured efficiency of the gas engine was intermediate between that of the Lenoir
Etienne Lenoir
-Sources:* Georgano, G.N. Cars: Early and Vintage 1886-1930. London: Grange-Universal, 1990 . ISBN 0-9509620-3-1....

/Hugon engines, and the Otto & Langen
Otto is a given name of Germanic origin meaning wealthy.-Given name:*Otto , mayor of the palace of Austrasia briefly in the mid-seventh century*Otto I, Duke of Saxony*the Ottonian dynasty...

 atmospheric engine, but the liquid fuelled Brayton engine had an advantage in not requiring a gas supply.

The early Brayton gas engine had the engine speed governed by varying the point of cut-off for the admission of the combusted gases into the power cylinder, and the admissions of gas and air to the pump was similarly regulated to maintain the reservoir pressure. The liquid fuelled engine reported by Clerk only regulated the cut-off to the power cylinder, and used a pressure relief valve to limit the reservoir air pressure. The reservoir on the Brayton engine allowed it to be readily started if it remained pressurised, though Clerk states that "that leakage and loss were so frequent that the apparatus was of little use."

Brayton's engine was displayed at the Centennial Exposition
Centennial Exposition
The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. It was officially...

 in Philadelphia in 1876, and the Simon variant was displayed at the 1878 Paris Exhibition
Exposition Universelle (1878)
The third Paris World's Fair, called an Exposition Universelle in French, was held from 1 May through to 10 November 1878. It celebrated the recovery of France after the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.-Construction:...

, and for a few years was well regarded, but within a short time the Otto engine
Otto engine
-Otto Engine Types:There are three types of internal combustion engines designed by German inventors Nikolaus August Otto and his partner Eugen Langen. They are the 1862 compression engine, which failed, the 1864 atmospheric engine, and the engine known today as the "Gasoline Engine", the Otto...

 became more popular. However, it was considered the first safe and practical oil engine and also served as inspiration to George B. Selden. As a production engine the design evolved over time, and according to Henry de Graffigny in "Gas and Petroleum Engines", it was available in both vertical and horizontal forms.

A Brayton Engine is preserved in the Smithsonian in the American History museum, and a later Brayton engine which powered one of John Philip Holland
John Philip Holland
John Philip Holland was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S...

's early submarines is preserved in the Paterson Museum
Paterson Museum
Paterson Museum is a museum in Paterson, in Passaic County, New Jersey, in the United States. Founded in 1925, it is owned and run by the city of Paterson and its mission is to preserve and display the industrial history of Paterson...

 in the Old Great Falls Historic District
Old Great Falls Historic District
The Old Great Falls Historic District is a name for the area of Paterson, New Jersey between South Paterson and Hillcrest, Paterson. The area is a thin strip of neighborhoods and parklands around the Passaic River and Garret Mountain. This section of Paterson has two National Natural Landmarks,...

 of Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is a city serving as the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, rendering it New Jersey's third largest city and one of the largest cities in the New York City Metropolitan Area, despite a decrease of 3,023...


External links

  • Short biography on the ASME
    American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is a professional body, specifically an engineering society, focused on mechanical engineering....

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