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Tesla Turbines are Very Different

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The minds behind the refitting of the Sea Bird (previously the USNS New Bedford T-AKL-17) are working hard to produce some of the most innovative and promising concepts possible. Each focuses on creating a vessel that runs efficiently, burns fuel cleanly, and operates with maximum conservation of resources. Pulse combustion has been one of the most exciting new technologies considered for the Sea Bird. It is important that each system and design be put to the test to ensure it is truly as effective as we want it to be. These tests not only tell us what, if any, changes need to be made, but reassure us that we are on the right path to refitting the Sea Bird.Working Tesla Turbine

Pulse Combustion in a Working Environment

After the hot rotor section was fully assembled, we attached it to the turbine nozzle of the pulse combustor to test operation. The combustor performed properly, however, the rotor was slow to self start and could not achieve more than about 25rpm's. Problems were created by the small size of the 1.5" x 3" rectangular tube, which lowered the amount of gas between plates in the Tesla turbine. A majority of the gas wound up around the discs, leaving through the hot rotor case without supplying any power to the turbine.Tesla Turbine Under Pressure

This test has shown us that Tesla turbines are very different from conventional designs. While a traditional bladed turbine would need large volumes of low velocity fluid, the Tesla turbines require high velocity fluid accurately guided in lower volumes. In the past, the Tesla turbine has proven useful when working with air, steam or a hot gas fed into a slotted nozzle. So in our second set of tests we designed and built an internal directional nozzle that focused the high heat, high velocity gasses directly into the turbine plates. This provided a significant improvement over the first test and as can be seen we achieved around 200rpm's.

New Approaches to the Pulse Combustion Engine

We now know that in order to make the Tesla turbine design functional, air and fuel must be fed into the chamber at pressures that will create well over 8000 to 16000 PSI of hot gas to the rotor nozzle. This has helped us plan future tests to work towards a system that will be functional when implemented in the Sea Bird project. These changes include experimentation with 950 degree steam power as well as an improved combustion system that will power up the hot rotor.

Through testing, we can learn the best approach to developing a pulse combustion engine that will power the Sea Bird and could possibly inspire changes in the way future ships are constructed. We will keep you updated on the progress of our work as it is made available. Stay current with our blog and forum!

Tesla Turbines are Very Different
Kris Land - Chief Visionary

Kris Land a San Diego Based Technology Entrepreneur has entered into a purchase agreement to purchase the Sea Bird.

Executive manager with experience as CEO, CTO, EVP of Technology, VP of Engineering, and founder of nine previous companies. While in these positions my respective teams and I have delivered unique solutions that transformed corporate goals into reality, built effective business solutions, and produced rapid and sustained business growth.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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