The wood overshoot still survives as an active competitor of the small turbine ill some parts of the country. The earliest clear evidence of a Water wheel comes from the ancient Greece and Asia Minor, being recorded in the work of Apollonius of Perge of c. 240 BC, surviving only in Arabic translation. The buckets of a waterwheel spend much of their life carrying water and must be as water repellent as possible in order to extend their lifetime. Im doing a mini project that consists of making 3 water wheels, all the same size, and pretty small. An interesting theoretical take on water wheels is provided by Edward Bowser , a long-time professor of mathematics at Rutgers University.
One innovation development occurred when Rome was under siege in 537 AD. When the Goths shut off the aqueducts whose water drove the city’s gristmills, Belisarius, the Bzyantine general defending the city, ordered floating mills installed close to the Tiber bridges, whose piers constricted and accelerated the current. This is a simple system, usually used without gearing so that the vertical axle of the water wheel becomes the drive spindle of the mill. The construction of water works and aspects of water technology in India is described in Arabic and Persian works.
Variables that may affect the production of electricity are design variables such as size of the water wheel and the shape of buckets made on the wheel. A search by the renovation team failed to turn up the original drawings of the wheel so they used a combination of traditional and modern methods and thinking to carry out the work to enable the waterwheel to retain much of its original look. When building the wheel you have to take into consideration the scale and the materials.
The steel buckets readily assume the same temperature as the running water’• and they communicate that temperature to the housings and soling, so that no ice will gather on the wheel while running. Test your water wheel by placing it under a very gentle stream of running water to ensure it spins correctly. Ads for Tyler turbines on pp. 73 and 89 on the compilation available at The ads contain test data for wheel power and several testimonials from customers.
A wood wheel is invariably out of balance and- its jerky motion is destructive to good results front the machinery it operates. The reason for the numbers is the time and labor it cost to construct and build a water wheel. The modernization of the technology has continued with the introduction of wheels made of steel. Some water wheels had white oak shafts but arms, soling and buckets were made from other kinds of wood. Overshot and pitchback water wheels are suitable where there is a small stream with a height difference of more than 2 meters, often in association with a small reservoir.
Development of water turbines during the Industrial Revolution led to decreased popularity of water wheels. A backshot wheel continues to function until the water in the wheel pit rises well above the height of the axle, when any other overshot wheel will be stopped or even destroyed. The Domesday Book, a survey prepared in England in 1086 AD, lists 5,624 water mills (this number is low since the book is incomplete). When the gate is opened, water flows into and around the scroll case, strikes the vanes on the runner, and flows out through the open bottom of the case. A chain saw and large heavy hand drill are needed to construct the water wheel shaft.
A wheel near the saw on the main level controls the gate on the turbine, effectively acting as an on-off switch for the sawmill. Once all of the bucket boards are in place, the drum boards and batten can be install around the inside of the water wheel. I almost always got car sick about the time we got to the water wheel, so I have a rather intimate relationship with it. I always just loved seeing it, under any circumstances! Then if the water wheel is to have 12 arms projecting out of the shaft, this means that three arms are the length of the diameter of the water wheel and are interlocked together within side of the shaft.
It should be noted, however, that an overshot wheel is practical only for a small-capacity output. However, in spite of the old-style leaky wood forebay, and the utter lack of protection from weather, please note the failure of any ice to cling to the water wheel itself. Bushings pressed into the wood for the bolts will give the wheel a longer life expectancy. The wood of the water wheel constructed out of both seasoned white oak or cypress the material alone would be 5 to 10 thousand dollars.
If the water wheel does not utilize that 2 ft. of head (and a wood wheel never can), then it is wasting 12 or 12 ½ % of the power at this point ‘alone. Water can be carried to the turbine by low cost, low pressure, easily transportable, flexible, plastic tubes that are small in diameter as opposed to the rigid, large diameter penstocks common to electric hydropower plants. The wheel shaft it’s connected to a simple coil generator that produces electricity.
It is also not uncommon for a new water wheel to be constructed and in operation for only several months when some hidden defect will cause the shaft to split and need replacement. Norse wheels (left) turn millstones directly, undershot wheels (center) require gears, and overshot wheels (right) also require an elevated stream (drawing from Scientific American).