The world's earliest steam engine can be reproduced with a can.
The world's earliest steam engine can be reproduced with a can.
Although it has no practical value.

the earliest steam engine in the world was a device called the steam ball, also known as the Hiro engine, which was invented by Hiro in Alexandria in the first century AD.

the schematic diagram of the steam rotating ball is as follows, and its principle is easy to understand: when the water in the device is heated and boiled, the steam enters the sphere and ejects from an asymmetrical tube, thus driving the sphere to rotate.

it takes a lot of work to make a model of a steam ball exactly like the original, but there is actually one thing in modern life that only needs a little processing to spin like a steam ball-that is, cans.

the effect of the Hiro engine made of cans is shown below. Although it is not a ball and rotates horizontally, the principle is exactly the same as the original:

(video source: FlinnScientific)

heated below, the water vapor produced in the can is ejected from the asymmetrical holes on both sides, driving the can to rotate.

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here's what the cans Hiro engine does:

first, you need to find an unopened drink and use a pin to open a small hole in the side of the can to let the drink flow out of the hole.

next, make a small hole on the other side of the emptied can and make the holes on both sides open in the opposite direction by snapping the pins (see figure below).

the next step is to fill the holed empty can with 20-30ml water. You can lie down and soak the can into the water to let the water flow through the hole, or use a syringe.

the next step is to hang up the can through a pull ring. In order to prevent the center line of rotation from getting tighter and tighter, there is a rotating ring (Swivel) in the middle, which is something that can rotate freely without getting tighter and tighter.

after fixing the device, heat it with a Bunsen lamp or alcohol lamp below to make the can Hiro engine spin.

the steam engine with a rotating ball is of little practical value, but it is simple and interesting enough as a demonstration experiment and small production. Extra care should be taken when drilling and heating, and do not touch the heated cans during the experiment.