During this time the tech school my father taught at received a Chance Vought Navy F-7u airplane for display. It is important that one of these planes was about in our back yard.
The list of machines and tools that I watched being used at the technical college on open house days alone were as much as students observed a machine or tool before they handled that machine or tool. There actually a point where I could watch but no one would answer my questions. I was at that point just short being able to give my own tour. That though I think worked out to my advantage. The basics of the operation of different kinds of machines and tools understood I would then be left with how it worked according to what parts it had in common with other machines. The fact that there was a possible reality to my projects is what I consider to be important. Here is a dream I must get it to reality. Plus the idea that mechanics is logical therefore one should be able to
come up with an answer if there was one.
This is the first real chance I will have to think of how to do something for which there is no book.
The time between (15 and 16) was spent mostly on the designing of a car. The project first started out a transmission removal but the body of the car was in to bad of shape. So my father in the middle of my removing the transmission said it was not worth the effort. In looking at the construction of the car I discovered that the engine and transmission were on a separate sub frame with the front suspension. I pulled out the front sub frame with the engine, transmission, steering and springs. These are what would be the most technical parts to work with. I had them all on a small frame to build around. I could make my own car.
The full list of things I worked on can be found on the page: The Designing of Cars
The things I learned or became capable of doing on this project are the following:
Was to be able to come up with a style or "design ideas" and then to figure out how to make them in to a reality. This is easier to do when the first concern is style rather than function. There are less "rules" to be concerned with at the start. Then after that, I could generate a shape or forms and figure out how to reproduce. I moved on to more complex structures with more physical requirements then covering an area. The layout of a dash, the fitting of foot pedals, steering wheel and other controls and the design of a seat to support the whole body. (The turns in a car can produce strong G forces and so can a side impact.) After the initial work on the car was about a year and a half. I would still go back to update the design. Then about hear is the first work with strength of materials. The increase in the complexity of the designs I could work with are most apparent in my work with cars and later the small tank. (Personally I would rather make a Sports or Luxury Car.)
(This ends up being some of the pieces that is handled separately first.
The problem that arose with the original engine and front-end assembly was it was made for a heavier car and the frame would not allow for moving the driver lower. The high
weight of the front end meant that the car would never have a good front to rear weight ratio. It was so far out that by the time I added enough weight, I just as well make it an armored car. This then, spun off a design of a small armored car or tank. This then later after the original work up lead to a highly developed system.
The library by age 20 now included a 54 th edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and Machinery Handbook.
I wanted to read Should We Have a New Engine a report put out by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The author where from J.P.L. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I called
up S.A.E. to order the book and they asked if I was a member I said no but they had me on there mailing list for about a year. This gave a list of current problems and a review of engine types and current federally funded programs on alternative engine design. I called
up the author at J.P.L. and asked him question at least twice. The one question that was to both of are disappointment was. Is this all of the experiments going on? (The first time I got through was I later realized was because my name is Bob Petersen. The publisher of
Hot Rod magazine is named Bob Petersen.
The study of steam and vapor engines for use in powering cars. This was the background of the discussions with the author. His presumed advances for all engines would be the use of ceramics to allow for higher temperature. I was at the start just interested in an engine I could build. The relative low pressures of the old locomotives were still providing about 15 to 20% efficiency. This lead to looking at it as a secondary system for energy recovery. The use of a vapor of methyl alcohol or one of the freons, instead of steam to allow for lower freezing temperature. The power being used to either directly drive the car or to drive the alternator, water pump, etc. The to possible sources of heat were explored, the exhaust and the radiator. The later idea I still like because it would be like the old gas Maytag washing machine engines. This engine was taken off there and then used for a variety of purposes including being put on motorbikes etc.. This would have been a good solar powered engine. New it would have been a little expensive but used it would have been or would be a good source for electricity from a hot water system.
The use of Ammonia as a fuel was one of the things I researched at this time. The reasoning was if there are two pollutants, get rid of one and improve the other. The
Nitrogen Oxides are caused by high temperatures and unburned Hydrocarbons by not enough Oxygen or low temperatures. These two are hard to deal with at the same time the book dealt with Hydrogen it would be hard for storage it does not smell and it is combustible at 1 part 40 of air. That means that it could not be detected till it exploded. Ammonium smells and small leaks can be absorbed by water. The idea of double walling tanks that surround and cushion the inner ammonia tank with water. The project of using this for fueling a car will stop but the there systems will find their way into other projects. The ideas generated will find application and variation of principle elsewhere also. (One of the variations was with fluorocarbon use.)
Then assuming that a plane could be built. Though at the time it was more adept at building construction then aircraft design. So I worked on what I could more likely do. Considering the questions of the aircraft and its design as worked on something I knew more about. Considering the problems while I was educating myself. This was a design for the place where I would launch the aircraft and do the preparation research for a ship.
The place that I had planned to launch from was to be under a very large house, with the back end of the subbasement almost exposed. The use of a catapult was so that it would
be possible to launch in this short of a distance (230 ft) and to maybe save on having to mount wheels for launch (Since they should be stored in a warm place). The catapult was to be steam powered. The nozzle for the catapult was designed to act as the valve to keep the acceleration up as the pressure went down. A separate valve would have losses not useful to powering the catapult. The acceleration should be about 3 to 4 gravities. This will get the plane to about 200 miles per hour by the time it came out of the subbasement. On the day of the launch, with the back wall already cut for removal push the last of the dirt out of the way and launch. The exhaust of the engines and catapult vented through the elevator and fresh air system out in front of the house. This designed layout as you can see was pretty well thought out for me being about (20 years of age). (There is a more detailed description on Page 2)
This area would also be used to do the prep work for living in space. While the constructing the plane was going on this area would serve as an artificial environment
(i.e. grow lights of known power so that light needs standards could be set). This is the place where you try to make soils out of mixtures of ground up rock, clay, sand, dead plant life and animal waste. Then planting the plants that should grow best in that mixture to see how they do.
This is a simple covering of a subject with the math broke down so as to be easy to understand. It is also small with right at 200 pages. The reading problem means I favor the small book and the fact that thinking works "well" for me means I will favor thought over reading. The name of the book is Thrust into Space and the authors name is Maxwell Hunter. Published in 1966. The part from his book that I know best is it takes 52 minutes ( or 3120 seconds to accelerate to 100,000 feet per second. The speed of light is roughly 1,000,000,000 per second. At 1 g. even in a Newtonian world that would take 8500 hours. We cannot tolerate more then 10 g. for any length of time. Most flights will be limited by the time to get to speed as well as their top speed. The other first book on the space environment is also this type of book with the problems laid out in easy mathematical terms. Part of my original research was to check to see if some of the technical possibilities were possible. The checking out of some of these ideas was worth the effort, the weighting of these advantages of their use was a good warm up. To do something that you would not of think of doing because there would be two reasons that you would not consider doing it but by having gone over the old ideas approaches they would have needed were a part of the mix. There for only one new idea had to be generated at that time. This more than made a believer out of my method.
The initial break through in power plant I assumed would come from someone else the
design of the ship itself at this time was my primary concern. The X-15 was of interest
but there is no way to push this design to get into space. There was not and there still is not no one design of engine that will do the job. The United States at that time I thought was making great progress in fusion at that time so I would wait and see. There were still what if even with the idea them might have fusion. If the fusion engines gave a specific impulse of 100,000 or even just 5000 would you want to use hydrogen peroxide at 200 for turning the ship while under power. If they were, as they seemed at that time close to an answer this is not the time I would launch an effort just to have them come out with a working model. I assumed they would have had a working model by 1985 at least. These kind of questions help to make the mind see the questions are as important as the knowledge one my have. This is then a problem like the house where you have no one system or discipline is going to provide an answer. There were question about the types of metal to use I like steel or INCONEL X.
The basic construction of airplane frames can be done with the help of the Machinery Handbook. The sections on I beams, forms bearing different kinds of loads and hoop stresses covers the basic information needed in the construction of an airplane. This was then, the basis of my first plane designs. The safety factor to be allowed for durability or failure makes it hard to make a viable design.
I looked at X-15/SR-71 Blackbird class of planes trying to use any of their features to my advantage. The idea of a twin-engine plane with the high-speed vertical fins as on the X-15 rocket plane. The lower portion housing the rear wheels when not in use. The use a inclined seat arrangement (The use of inclined seat started with the F-16; I liked a more flat inclined design than a chair like design. This is at times going to double as a bed.)
The F-16 at that time was supposed to come out as a $4,000,000 universal day fighter for all branches. This was not to have been the best plane. They decided to add an avionics package to the plane: radar, all weather, capable of using advanced weapons system and it came out costing $16,000,000. The F-14 and F-15 are the best and their cost was over $20,000,000 MILLION a piece. The question of how much something should cost if it is made by the person using it. As opposed to someone who is paying someone, to pay someone, to construct the plane. The question is also in the nature of the design Frank Whittle reason for trying the design that would become the jet engine was he want to
make something simpler the a piston engine. They improved the efficiency and now it looks like a gross misjudgment on his part. The piston engine and propeller will deliver a
specific impulse of 7000 and Whittle's design probably not more than a 1000. The modern jet engines are above 4000. This will lead to the checking out guidance systems.
There would be no use in building something that could not be used.
The weapons were to a new design of assault rife, rocket small launchers (not discussed), large rocket system and a small tank.
The assault rife was to store the ammunition in the butt to allow for great storage with getting in the way. The shell were to be of a different design and much lighter so more ammunition could be carried about 100 if on patrols as not to tire the arms or 200 if it was a firefight and be able 2000 rounds comfortably. (It would take anyone at least 5 years to develop or more from what I saying.) Since this was not to be a mobile operate ammunition could also be stored. A large caliber version for attacking the tracks of tanks
and Armored Personal Carrier. This is possible if the rounds are just large enough and enough rounds can be fired to get a hit. (This is OK because our new main battle tank is now going to have tires.)
The large rocket system functioned much like the laser guided systems but made to seek a different source then a laser. The soldiers would mark the tanks with tracer like rounds. The flame color covering so that a person cannot see the spectral colors that the missiles are searching for. The rockets could be fired from a long way off and then find the target. This type of system would allow for many more missiles to be in the air at one time. The moving back the equipment to where the field artillery would normally be and out of the range of the tanks and maybe even their field artillery. It could fire and move after so many launches. (This is fact based no work up was done.)
The design looked much like the M-114, which is not to be confused with the M-113 as that is much larger. Their track system I would not have had the nerve to propose. I do not believe that M 114 was suitable for the Vietnam War. The idea I was going after was a fast, resistant to small arms fire or shrapnel. Yet still be able to hide were no one could think you could. The idea that it could be anywhere makes the idea of planned attack almost impossible. The guns were to be external mounted over the driver. Since the guns were to be somewhat exposed and the driver needed to be able to get out easily. I decided they should be mounted in pairs. The idea of them being paralleled with the mechanical range finding equipment (the need to have it move independent incase of lock up or if it break, leads to the following) or firing to close on a point or expend from a point (where do you run or which way is it going). The small tank could then sit with its guns down and wait. This is really putting puff the magic dragon (AC-130 U) down on the battlefield. The driver has in direct view of the battlefield and of the ground behind him at the same time. This is means it could cover its own retreat without exposing the light armor or the engine. The one hand controlling the vehicle and the other the guns. This means lose of accuracy from any zigzag or serpentine retreat would about equal to laying down a pattern of fire. There were others that were to be used as mobile launcher for the missiles that were to be mounted on racks.
No one needs this now and no body will. I the whole world makes it into the 20 th Century and if they do not they will not be making any of these any way.
Thoughts on thinking and design at this time
The ability level at this time is such that if asked a question I will generate an unweighted answer (these are personal choices given the knowledge I have). The questions can also be answered with a set of given's, which I would state: I think or I would. The quicker the answer the more likely it is personally based. The things I would like to see could be just for my own use. The time I stated working on the ideas for a tank is when I discovered the advantages of first trying create something without any knowledge as to why they do
something. This shows where mistakes are likely to be made in the future and where bias inters into the designs. This can only be done before you get to where no one knows any correct answers. This leads to picking subjects to work on that I had no previous exposure to any advanced information in that area. To start to think about what should be important and then to research to see how my thinking on this subject compared to what everyone else had come up with. This I did not realize till after the work I did on designing cars. Then I realize how to use the lack of advanced knowledge to my advantage. As a way checking on if I was able to figure the important ideas or features should be. If there is any pattern to my errors. Before I arrived at a point where there was no way to tell. This of course takes many projects. These "little facts" that all of a sudden make something possible show the necessity of being through and the possible rewards. The early projects had been handled from the stand point of it will work out. Problems checked out as they occur as a method assuring my self this could work. This is not the right place for it but it would interrupt the flow too much if inserted there.
There was a time in 1975 when I became interested in solar power as a property I was looking at had 1 water heater installed to provide hot water for 12 units. The following is going on while the other research is taking place. This was among the things that made it hard for the complex to make a profit. While working various solar projects (base knowledge studies); I learned (late 1976) the old A St. (and 28th) power station still had a generator so I checked into it. This was something along the lines of what would be the minimum power requirement of a small iron or aluminum production plant. The building was manned because of city used part for city's water pumping station. They had the generator section of a 2.5 mega watt. At one time they had thought about connecting to a diesel engine. The turbine generator pair was made by Allis Chalmers and was rated a 4.0 megawatt. The rated speed was 3600 revolutions a minute. It should run at 3600 R.P.M. it does not have to put out 4 megawatts. The design could grow after startup. There was also a 50 kilowatt that is just a partial expansion type. This one though is mounted in the basement.
There was a piece of land that was suited for the project. Entering Milford Ne from the North just after you go under the railroad over pass there is a lane to the left that leads to the property. The land is about 10 acres of farmland. The south and east are bounded by the river. The north is the raised railroad line through the valley. The railroad embankment, was at least 40 feet high and about 700 feet long. The land is enough space for the collectors but if an easement could be gotten for the embankment it would be easier. The tower would not have to be more than just a roof mount. The land is in the 100-year flood plane but concrete construction plus steel cover for the door and its frame could cover that possibility. There were drawings for the controls for the mirrors and the design for the solar boiler. The design was to be made by my hands or local labor if I could afford it.
There were calls to Allis Chalmers on the condition of the turbine and generator about maintenance. (The 4-megawatt had a serial number and Allis Chalmers pulled the file on the unit.) They stated the last sets of blades for the turbine were showing some pitting, but that it was in good working order. The pitting comes from condensation in the turbine striking the blades. The governor was mechanical. Which means it cannot be synchronized with another generator. There is no resale value at that time according to Allis Chalmers. The examination of large electrical power conductors. (They are bar instead of wire and joined at corners). The operation of large boilers in power plants. The fact that they can take 30 minutes to warm before you can really put the gas on high). This did not work out because the local electric company stepped in to NEA (Nebraska Energy Alternatives). There was now local money and
federal funds available and everybody who thought they could just throw something together and they could get paid. The other part was anybody who thought they could sell anything to anybody showed up. This would have been before the "free cash" a good source of people who wanted to see something good happen. In Milford we had a house mover who could have moved the large parts. In the records of the NEA you will find the entrance of a second Bob Petersen no relation. There is a time later when I will check out another possible site for this type of operation.
The small solar project involved the making of a totally energy self-sufficient home. The use of ammonia and the Haber process for long-term energy storage was the best long term answer. The whole process mechanically equipment and storage could be underground with a tube coming up to 10 feet above the ground. The noise from the machinery or any possible damage from any accident could be avoided. The room was a product of a design for an underground cistern for heat storage in water. This was from a machine I designed to dig the hole, then support the internal form and distribute the concrete around the form. That came a part and then could be removed through the opening. For the original propose it would be a toss up as to it's usefulness but the ease with which it would provide a strong additional room. The use of enclosed vapor cycle
engines investigated at this time. The use of a shell then vapor at partial vacuum surrounding the engine or motor, so there is no possibility of a leak.
Bob L. Petersen