How to turn on and off a stream of gas? Answered
The exact setup I have is a little difficult to explain, but basically I'm designing an extremely simple heat engine, based on boiling ethanol, and need to be able to mechanically alternate the flow of vapour.
I have a little boiler, sealed except for a pipe out of which the vapour escapes. This lifts the column of ethanol in the pipe, pouring it into a water wheel which turns. The ethanol then runs back through a second pipe into the system to be pumped up again.
It works, and fairly well since I'm not looking to get a lot of power or efficiency, but only if I pinch the tube on and off. This allows the bubbles to collapse, which sucks in more ethanol to replace them. When I release the tube the bubbles rush out, lifting the eths, and repeat. I have two valves to keep the system one directional.
So now I'm looking for a way to automate the opening and closing of the gas feed. I've been trying a few things but nothing seems to work well enough yet.
The other consideration is that; due to the nature of the larger project, whatever I use has to be extremely simple to construct, preferably from reclaimable materials.
1 second on, 1 second off seems to work best.