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the top stroke the piston-rod requires but a small movement to enable the end of the connecting-rod to traverse a large portion of the circle of the crank, while at the bottom stroke the piston has to travel farther to allow of an equal arc being described by the crank. From these considerations it follows, that the motion of the crank being nearly uniform, there must be considerable inequalities in the speed. of the piston; and more than a half circle will be described by the crank during the top half of the stroke, and less than a half circle in the bottom half of the stroke. The length of the connecting-rod is the distance from the cross-head at half stroke to the centre of the shaft; and it is clear, therefore, that at mid-stroke the crank cannot be vertical. The motion of the valve partakes of the same species of irregularity; but as the eccentric-rod is much longer in proportion to the radius of the eccentric than the connecting-rod, that inequality only may be noted which arises from the relation between the circumference of a circle and its diameter. The irregularity arising from the angle of the connecting-rod also affects the valve, but not to an injurious extent in ordinary cases. In fig. 63 we have shown the direct connection, as used in some of Stephenson's locomotives, A E B F representing the crank circle, and the inner circle that of the eccentric. Supposing, now, that the total length of the valve face were equal to the distance between the extreme edges of
the steam ports, the valve would be without lap; and leaving the question of lead out of consideration for the present, that is, supposing that the steam were admitted exactly at the ends of the stroke, the eccentric would be fastened upon the shaft at right angles to the crank; in other words, the small crank which constitutes the eccentric would be at right angles to the large crank, which is attached to the piston-rod. In this way, the valve would be in the middle of its stroke when the piston was at either end of its stroke, so as to close both the steam and eduction passages, and to be ready with the slightest possible advance to open both for the return stroke of the piston. It has been found advantageous, however, to make the valve face longer than the distance between the extreme edges of the steam ports, so that when it is in the middle of its stroke it projects or overlaps the ports at both ends; and hence it requires to move through a space equal to the overlap before it is in a condition to open the steam port for the return stroke of the piston. To effect this, it is only necessary to move the eccentric forward in its path, until, at the end of the stroke of the piston, the valve is on the edge of the steam port, ready, as before, upon the slightest farther advance, to admit the steam to the cylinder. Now, as the valve is thus required to move through a part of its travel or throw equal to the overlap at each end, and as the throw is equal to the diameter of
the circle which the eccentric describes, it follows that, to give the requisite advance, that distance must be measured upon the diameter of the circle, and the corresponding position of the centre of the eccentric is that of which we are in search.
On the remote side of the centre of the crankshaft, and on the line of centres, mark off D C, the amount of overlap at each end of the valve, and draw a line parallel to E F, the vertical centre line of the crank-shaft; the arc of the eccentric circle intercepted between these parallel lines is that through which the eccentric must move, in order to draw the valve through a portion of its stroke equal to the overlap D C; and the point in which the line intersects the circle of the eccentric is, therefore, the position which the centre of the eccentric should occupy when the piston is at the end of its downstroke, and on the very point of beginning its up
stroke. In practice, however, the valve is not so set as to open simultaneously with the commencement of the stroke of the piston, but is set so that the steam commences to flow into the cylinder a very little before the beginning of the stroke; and hence, when the piston actually commences its stroke, the valve has already partially opened the port. To make this adjustment, an additional advance must be given to the valve, and of course in the same direction; and the amount of lead, or opening, which the port has at the commencement of the stroke of the piston, must be added to the lap, their sum from C to D being treated the same in every respect as if the whole were lap; and so, for the sake of brevity, we may treat it.
Let us suppose now that it was required to find the length that the eccentric-rod should be:-Place the crank horizontal, so that it may have the piston at the bottom of its stroke; bring round the eccentric to the corresponding position which we find it should occupy, and measure the distance from that point to the centre of the joint by which the eccentric-rod is to be attached to the valve-rod; this will be the length of the eccentric-rod. When the length of the eccentric-rod is known, either the valve or eccentric may be put in its proper place, if one of them be already set: thus, if the valve be set, as in the drawing, and the eccentric-rod connected also with the eccentric, it will bring the latter into its
place, where it may be fixed; but if the valve could not be conveniently set, it would then be necessary to take the following method, which requires the knowledge of the amount of lap, and the length of the eccentric-rod. Find, as before, the position of the eccentric, attach the rod, and the valve must come into connection in the proper position. In practice, the most convenient method of finding the position of the eccentric with a given lap is to draw a circle, such as H K, representing the crank-shaft, upon a board or a piece of sheet-iron, and another equal to the circle of the eccentric, and draw two diameters perpendicular to each other; mark off from the centre of the crank-shaft, and upon one diameter, the amount of lap C D; through this point draw a line parallel to E F, the other diameter; the points in which this line cuts the circle of the eccentric are the positions of the forward and backward eccentrics. Through these points, and from the centre of the crank-shaft, draw lines C M, C N, which will intersect the circumference of the crankshaft ; upon this circumference measure with a pair of compasses the chord of the arc intercepted between either point of intersection and that of the vertical diameter E F; and the lines of diameters being first drawn upon the shaft itself, then, by transferring with the compasses the distance found upon the diagram, the proper position of the eccen tric at the end of the stroke of the piston is at once