Water Power 1

Water-wheels

The power of water has been used by humankind for millenia. Unlike human or animal power, it doesn't need to be fed hay or paid wages. The technology is relatively simple, and most components can be manufactured from wood. The water-wheel is the central component, providing rotational energy which can be used for a wide variety of mechanised tasks. The major problem with this system is the need for a constant flow of water, hence the construction of mill-ponds for storing a head of water, particularly where the water-source is erratic, and the use of sluices to control the flow.

Undershot water-wheel

The undershot water-wheel is the most basic and least efficient form. It relies on the energy of the flowing stream of water to push on the paddles and turn the wheel. The speed of the wheel is directly reliant on the speed of the water-flow. If the amount of water available decreases, then the wheel will turn more slowly.

Undershot water-wheel
[ 4 frames @ 13/100 sec. 21KB ]

Breastshot water-wheel

The breastshot water-wheel is more efficient. It relies more on the weight of water to fill buckets and thus turn the wheel. This means that the speed of the wheel will be more consistant.

Breastshot water-wheel
[ 4 frames @ 13/100 sec. 25KB ]

Overshot water-wheel

The overshot water-wheel is more efficient still. The buckets are filled at the top of the wheel and thus the weight of water in them is able to do more useful work.

Overshot water-wheel
[ 4 frames @ 13/100 sec. 28KB ]