First Detailed View of the Tesla Turbine

About: Kris Land a San Diego Based Technology Entrepreneur has entered into a purchase agreement to purchase the Sea Bird. The Sea Bird is a commercial fishing vessel, originally created as an Army Ship.

Working Tesla Turbine
Pulse combustion has been one of the most exciting new technologies considered for the Sea Bird. It is important that each system and design be put to the test to ensure it is truly as effective as we want it to be. These tests not only tell us what, if any, changes need to be made, but reassure us that we are on the right path to refitting the Sea Bird.

Pulse Combustion in a Working Environment
After the hot rotor section was fully assembled, we attached it to the turbine nozzle of the pulse combustor to test operation. The combustor performed properly, however, the rotor was slow to self start and could not achieve more than about 25rpm's. Problems were created by the small size of the 1.5" x 3" rectangular tube, which lowered the amount of gas between plates in the Tesla turbine. A majority of the gas wound up around the discs, leaving through the hot rotor case without supplying any power to the turbine.



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    34 Discussions

    I thought I'd add a bit more on the how to build part.  I'll add a bit at a time to make it more fun but it has been a ton of research and work to get a working 125KW prototype generator.

    On a Tesla Turbine, we have a great article about the 3 main keys to making a Tesla Turbine work.

    Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the Tesla Turbine, determined that there were three key points to achieving maximum efficiency with the turbine:

    Inlet Nozzle
    Disk Geometry
    Outlet Nozzle


    2 years ago

    .you have to use the valvular conduit to create back pressure


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I would be interested in the outcome of this, now two year outdated, project. With the sudden lack of updates, it would appear the money ran out.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    not being an engineer, I thought I'd put this on the table for you ...What would happen if you put the exhaust in at the center and let it out at the large end of the thinking on this is does it not want to compress as it moves toward the center of the turbine ?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't read all of the posts, but from I gathered was you are basically trying to create electricity from exhaust. Couldn't you run a turbo off the exhaust to create the PSI to run the tesla turbine?

    I don't know what pressure you are trying to achieve to turn the tesla turbine but take a turbo from a Cummins truck for example, they easily hit 40psi and with mods to the wastegate can get over 60psi. Compound turbos could double that easily.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wasn't going to post this because I thought it hadn't been thought of, but further down the posts there is a suggestion to eliminate the exhaust ports in the disks and evacuate the gases through the shaft.

    More disk surface extracts more work from the heat which would necessitate smaller exhaust area.

    High Heat in used more, low heat out will be reduced.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    The design of Tesla's turbine is, I believe, based on a continuous flow rather than pulse.
    Perhaps using a Gluhareff type engine as input to the turbine then directing the exhaust from the turbine to the intake of the Gluhareff jet might make things smoother?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I think that basically the pulse jet motors are resonant. Then you can't put anything at the input neither the output because that decress drastically the efficience.

    Good project. Can you explain how do you made the Tesla turbine?

    9 replies

    Hello rimar2000,

    You are absolutely correct the PDE is a resonant device we are planning on running it at 100 pulses per minute. Here is Phoenix's earlier design and Ken thoughts.

    By using a one way plate, the pulse energy would enter the Tesla Turbine plates seen in the picture below and then the resonant compression would come from a fresh O2 source provided by the 90% H2O2 catalyst engine.

    Quick background on the Pulse Detonation Engine.

    Cheers, Kris

    tesla-turbine.jpgTesla Turbine Running.jpg

    Years ago I have an idea: why not use the pop-pop principle of work, applied to pulse jets engine? All designs I have seen of pulse jet (PDE too), include valves, or inlet tube. I think it can use the same tube for inlet and outlet (as the pop-pop do). This reduces a bit the efficience, but the balance is positive, (as the pop-pop do).

    Maybe a day I could made a test, but I have not so means or resources for it. Basically, a place where I can do A LOT OF AWFUL NOISE.

    Hello rimar2000,

    Your idea of using a pulse-jet engine is a good one and yes they make a ton of noise. As you know the pulse jet uses one way valves on the in-tank side of the jet to allow fresh air in the front and then block the burning fuel from leaving that way and forcing all the exhaust out the back.

    On the PDE I'm working on the air source is from the H2O2 and the fuel is from the waste oil. The ignition for the detonation is from a set of 8 plasma injectors. and the exhaust will leave at very high speeds, heat and pressure.

    Cheers, Kris


    I not explained well, and not fluent in English, in addition. My idea is to remove the air intake (not fuel) valves, and that the engine take it directly from the tailpipe. Each explosion is a sudden increase in pressure, followed by a pronounced vacuum, produced by the exit of the burnt gases. This vacuum fills again with air the combustion chamber.

    Air valves are a huge headache because of the great thermal stress to which they are subjected. Moreover, even if well designed, are an important obstacle to airflow. My proposal changes one problem for another, but much smaller. The engine would be far much simpler, almost silly, lightweight, easy to build and very very cheap.

    Anyway, I think it can't be used for another purpose than propel. If you add anything at air inlet or outlet, it does not work.

    I mentioned the pop-pop engine because it works in a similar way, and despite the apparent neutralization of forces, is very effective.

    I hope you can understand, sorry for my clumsy English.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If I recall correctly, Telsa designed a one-way valve with no moving parts. It's in his patents online. If that could be made to work for a PDE, it might eliminate the mechanical air valves. Then a blower connected to the Turbine could maintain the intake airflow. Of course the next step is continuous combustion, creating the previously mentioned radial-flow gas turbine using the Tesla design.

    Hello rimar2000,

    Your English is very good.  I understand you perfectly :) 

    Also I agree with you completely, if you look at my initial design you'll notice there is no air inlet at all it is a straight rocket engine. You'll see the large stainless fuel tank on the right.  Then the fuel line running to the gauges and then to the thrust engine which is the small silver device hooked up to the nozzle of the turbine.

    When we move the PDE phase, there will still be a H2O2 fuel line for the oxidizer, there will be a waste oil line and there will be eight plasma injectors, but there will be no air intake.

    Cheers, Kris

    Tesla Turbine at rest.jpg

    Great! Glad that my idea is not so far fetched, and that is not only shared by you but you're doing the tests I would like to do for years.

    I want you to succeed.

    Hello rimar2000

    I thank you for your support and interest.  This has been and continues to be a passion project for me and my crew.  I've got video for the 1st running of the system but need to get it to look produced.  Then I'll make sure to post it here where all of you guys have been great in your questions and comments.

    Cheers, Kris


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Think about exhausting your Tesla turbine through a hollow shaft instead of holes in the plates. I have a working proof-of-concept prototype on my kitchen table right now. You get more surface area for the same number of discs. I also use the spacers (washers currently) at the edge, which make it technically a hybrid impulse/boundary layer turbine.
    Also, why abuse your Tesla machine by burning stuff in it? A steam boiler is old tech, but a modern hybrid boiler with automated controls will let you burn virtually anything combustible to fuel Seabird. Use waste heat from the condenser and exhaust to preheat the combustion air, and you can run very high controlled temps in your boiler, which means clean exhaust.
    I also plan to work on an integrated turbine/generator, with the turbine case as the stator and ALNICO magnets as the spacer washers on the turbine.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    For what reasons did you decide that this type of turbine was best suited to the application?
    For example, is there any precedent for "Tesla turbine"-driven marine vessels (or anything else)?


    1 reply

    Hello Lemonie,

    Great questions, to my knowledge no one has applied a Tesla Turbine, PDE to a generator running on a ship to provide power for AC Vectorized motors.

    Here is a quick write up on our plans baldor-reliance-ac-vc-motor

    There are many ships now running on steam or diesel generators driving AC Vector propulsion pods as see in the picture below made by Rolls-Royce called the Mermaid.

    To your 1st question, the impulse and reactor based turbine would not have been able to take the heat pressure we are generating form the thrust and planned PDE device. 

    The PDE will be set to generate 100 pulses per minute of 5500F at 40,000PSI, the normal methods would have been destroyed.  Tesla's design uses perpendicular plates which can take the energy without coming apart. Here is more information Three Keys to Tesla Turbine Efficiency

    port side main engine.jpgG50 Baldor AC Motor.jpgRolls-Royce Mermaid-1.jpg