Comments on Dr. Koopmans’ Book 'The Fire Burns Much Better....' and Presentation at York 'Developments in Modern Steam Traction for Railways' Conference on December 11 2006

I have and will remain quiet on some parts of the debate surrounding the mathematical side of draughting, I am much more interested in the application of the technology than the absolute theory. I realise the importance of getting and keeping the subject of the steam locomotive actively in mind. What bothers me is that since this book has been published it has been recognised as advancement on Porta's work. This it is not. Even in the historic section there is little recognition of the steps forward that Kylälä and Chapelon made in improving draughting. The significant factor being the realisation that there is an effect on the boundary layers of the steam from the blast pipe nozzles which drastically improve the vacuum created.

In many places and to many people I have now had to re-explain and justify what a Lempor can do. That does not bother me but what does is the illusion that there is something on offer which is claimed to be better. I did, in reply to Koopmans’ request, make comments to his first papers which I feel where totally ignored by him in his final papers. My comments specifically stated that the angle and position of the nozzles were critical with which he disagreed. Since then I have remained quiet as it is for him to learn, like me, the hard way what is right and wrong. So far I can not say that he is right.

It is my opinion that his work will only be proven, one way or another, when directly compared with other draughting systems. Such systems are shown on back pressure to vacuum graphs. I have not seen either in his book or during his York presentation. He has the results to do this which we did see at York. Until this is done there is no evidence that I should not go on championing the cause of the steam locomotive with the use of Lempor or similar draughting systems.

Nigel Day
18 December 2006