مقاله مکانیک - اثر حمل و نقل ریلی بر گسترش مهندسی مکانیک
این فصل از کتاب " شاخص های مهندسی مکانیک" به بررسی اثر گسترش حمل و نقل ریلی بر روی توسعه دانش مهندسی مکانیک می پردازد.
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Mechanical engineers have been stimulated by the challenges of railroading from its earliest days. In many ways railroads and engineering have grown up together. The
need to travel and transport materials overland goes back to ancient times. No one knows who first moved objects by rolling them on logs, thus making more efficient
use of animal and human power, and no one has identified that inspired individual who first conceived the wheel, axle, and bearing combination that made rolling
vehicles truly practical. The challenge then became, and has remained, how to carry more with greater comfort, speed, efficiency, and safety.
The concept of a railroad was born in England around 1630 when flanged rails were first used to guide coal wagons. In the early part of the nineteenth century, the
revision of this concept into one using flanged wheels on unflanged rails and the concurrent development of the steam locomotive set the stage for the development of
modern railroads. That blend of art and science we call mechanical engineering has played a major part in every step of this development.
The Baltimore & Ohio "Old Main Line" and the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line in New Orleans were two early efforts at practical railroads in the United States,
the former an intercity route powered first by horses and later by steam and diesel locomotives, and the latter a local carrier that experimented with several power
sources before settling on electricity. Both lines remain in service.
The continuing need for power to move heavier trains at faster speeds with greater efficiency has been the genus for several landmark locomotives. These include
Texas & Pacific No. 610, an early "Super Power" locomotive that revolutionized modern steam locomotive design, and Southern Pacific No. 4294 and Norfolk &
Western No. 611, two later applications of these same concepts to meet two vastly different needs. The New Haven's AC electrification of its New York
New Haven main line in 1907 pioneered mainline electrification in America. Almost thirty years later, Pennsylvania No. 4800, the prototype for a fleet of 139 electric
locomotives that were arguably the best every built, began operation. The early dieselelectric locomotives are represented here, too. The Pioneer Zephyr combined
a lightweight diesel engine with a train built with new materials and techniques to usher in the "streamline age." ElectroMotive FT freight diesel No. 103 has aptly been
called "the diesel that did it," for this was the locomotive that showed how diesels could outperform steam in freight as well as passenger service.