Water Wheel

A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power, often in a watermill. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface. Most commonly, the wheel is mounted vertically on a horizontal axle, but the tub or Norse wheel is mounted horizontally on a vertical shaft. Vertical wheels can transmit power either through the axle or via a ring gear and typically drive belts or gears; horizontal wheels usually directly drive their load.

Water wheels were still in commercial use well into the 20th century, but they are no longer in common use. Prior uses of water wheels include milling flour in gristmills and grinding wood into pulp for papermaking, but other uses include hammering wrought iron, machining, ore crushing and pounding fiber for use in the manufacture of cloth.

Some water wheels are fed by water from a mill pond, which is formed when a flowing stream is dammed. A channel for the water flowing to or from a water wheel is called a mill race (also spelled millrace) or simply a "race", and is customarily divided into sections. The race bringing water from the mill pond to the water wheel is a headrace; the one carrying water after it has left the wheel is commonly referred to as a tailrace.

John Smeaton's scientific investigation of the water wheel led to significant increases in efficiency in the mid to late 18th century and supplying much needed power for the Industrial Revolution.

Water wheels began being displaced by the smaller, less expensive and more efficient turbine developed by Benoît Fourneyron, beginning with his first model in 1827. Turbines are capable of handling high heads, or elevations, that exceed the capability of practical sized waterwheels.

The main difficulty of water wheels is their dependence on flowing water, which limits where they can be located. Modern hydroelectric dams can be viewed as the descendants of the water wheel as they too take advantage of the movement of water downhill.

Read more about Water WheelHistory, Types, Efficiency, Uses, Construction

Other articles related to "water wheel, water, wheels, wheel, water wheels":

Alcantarilla - Highlights and Landmarks - Monuments - Civil
... Rueda o Noria (Medieval water wheel) This monument is formed by the hydraulic remains belonging to a traditional control system which irrigated the orchards of ... and wells were exploited and underground sources of water were discovered ... The water-wheel or "noria" (from the Arabic naura) was also brought from the eastern lands ...
Artificio De Juanelo - Operation
... The device caused a great sensation as the height to which the water was raised was more than double what had been previously achieved ... A large water wheel powered a revolving belt with buckets or amphora that transported water to the top of a tower ... When the buckets reached the top of the tower they would upend pouring the water into a small tank from where it would to travel down to a smaller tower via a pipe ...
Ancient Egyptian Technology - Later Technology in Egypt - Greco-Roman Egypt
... Recent scholarship suggests that the water wheel originates from Ptolemaic Egypt, where it appeared by the 3rd century BC ... This is seen as an evolution of the paddle-driven water-lifting wheels that had been known in Egypt a century earlier ... to John Peter Oleson, both the compartmented wheel and the hydraulic Noria may have been invented in Egypt by the 4th century BC, with the Sakia being invented ...
Radcliffe, Greater Manchester - History - Textiles and The Industrial Revolution
... With a weir and goit providing motive power for a water wheel, the factory was built for throstle spinning and the weaving of cotton—a relatively new introduction to Britain ... The water wheel proved to be insufficient, and so around 1804 the goit was extended ... The transformation of the area from an industry based upon water power, to one based upon steam power, may not have been without problems ...
Water Wheel - Construction - Materials
... Traditionally water wheels have been made mostly from wood ... Steel in overshot (and pitchback) wheels allows higher speeds ... A wooden wheel with a wooden axle cannot necessarily sustain high speed needed for hydroelectric power generation ...

Famous quotes containing the words wheel and/or water:

    The wheel of fortune guide you,
    The boy with the bow beside you
    Run aye in the way
    Till the bird of day
    And the luckier lot betide you.
    Ben Jonson (1572–1637)

    All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931)