How Steam Engines Work

By: Marshall Brain & Yara Simón  | 

5 Types of Steam Engines

We have seen several types of steam-powered engines throughout history. Here are a few notable ones:

  1. Reciprocating steam engine: This common type of steam engine features the reciprocating motion of pistons. Reciprocating steam engines uses steam pressure to move a piston back and forth in a cylinder, converting linear motion into rotational motion.
  2. Vertical steam engine: In a vertical steam engine, the cylinder is in a vertical position and the pistons move up and down.
  3. Horizontal steam engine: These types of engine have a cylinder positioned horizontally. Here, the pistons move back and forth.
  4. Uniflow steam engine: These engines are characterized by steam flowing through the cylinder in a single direction.
  5. Condensing steam engine: This type uses a separate condenser to improve efficiency. This steam is condensed back into water after performing work in the cylinder, creating a vacuum that increases the engine’s power and efficiency.