André Chapelon

Infobox Person
name = André Chapelon


caption =
birth_date = birth date|1892|10|26
birth_place = Saint-Paul-en-Cornillon, Loire, France
death_date = death date |1978|7|22|
death_place =

André Chapelon (26 October 1892 – 22 July 1978) was a noted French mechanical engineer and designer of advanced steam locomotives. Engineer of Ecole Centrale Paris, he was one of very few locomotive designers who brought a rigorous scientific method to their design, and he sought to apply up-to-date knowledge and theories in subjects such as thermodynamics and gas/fluid flow to the field.

Chapelon's methods

He tested his experimental designs thoroughly to understand how they actually behaved, using the most accurate and complete testing and sensing equipment available, such as high-speed stroboscopic photography to watch steam flow.

Before Chapelon, few engineers and designers tried to understand why a certain design worked better than another—they merely worked by trial and error, trying to replicate the attributes of previous locomotives by rule of thumb, by guesswork, and from empirical theories and design rules that had rarely been given adequate testing.

Efficiency

Efficiency was one of Chapelon's primary concerns in design; some of his locomotives exceeded 12% efficiency, which for a steam locomotive was exceptional. With greater efficiency, Chapelon could achieve greater power in a smaller locomotive that burned less coal, rather than simply enlarging a locomotive for more power.

Compounding and steam flow

He was a major proponent of the compound locomotive; his other major work included optimising the steam circuit, including improving the steam flow by widening steam passages and paths, improving the flow through valve gear, and improved exhaust systems such as his Kylchap exhaust.

Wheel and rail

Chapelon realised that in order to produce an efficient, powerful locomotive every aspect of it had to be improved and dealt with scientifically. He studied locomotive behaviour at speed and the riding properties of the steel wheel on steel rail; his knowledge was put to use much later on the French TGV high speed trains.

Problems

His curse was that despite his abilities and track record, he never got to design a class of brand-new locomotives that actually got built in any number. He was continually stymied by railway management and politicians, and often his superbly performing locomotives were treated as embarrassments by his superiors—because they showed up the poor performance of the officially approved locomotives!

Exported locomotives

The only locomotives he designed for use outside France were some metre gauge 2-8-4 and 4-8-4 locomotives for GELSA (Groupement d'Exportation de Locomotives S.A.) for export to Brazil. They were highly advanced locomotives with many modern American appliances as well as Chapelon's innovations. André Chapelon was much an admirer of American railroad innovation, even though his work tended to be ignored in the USA.

Chapelon's legacy

Chapelon's work lived on in the work of his friend Livio Dante Porta of Argentina, and others, and he was accorded the rare honour for a foreign railwayman of having a British Rail Class 86 (electric!) locomotive named for him.

Chapelon's locomotives

* The 242 A 1 was a locomotive so powerful that it scared the designers of the early French electric locomotives into increasing their power by another 1000 horsepower. The 242 A1 was a rebuild that first saw light of day in 1946. Developing 5300 hpvague|metric horsepower? English horsepower?|date=March 2008 in the cylinders and with 65,679 lbf (292.15 kN) of peak tractive effort, 46,225 lbf (205.6 kN) mean tractive effort—nothing in Europe could touch it. Sadly, it was scrapped in 1960.

ee also

* Advanced steam technology

External links

* [http://thierry.stora.free.fr/english/achap_01.htm André Chapelon]
* [http://www.mixedtraffic.net/downloads/itsajoy.htm Chapelon's 4-8-4]


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  • André Chapelon — (* 26. Oktober 1892 in Saint Paul en Cornillon, Loire; † 22. Juli 1978 in Paris) war ein französischer Maschinenbauingenieur. Chapelon gilt als einer der fähigsten Dampflokomotivkonstrukteure überhaupt. Er begann seine berufliche Laufbahn als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Andre Chapelon — André Chapelon (* 26. Oktober 1892 in Saint Paul en Cornillon, Loire; † 22. Juli 1978 in Paris) war ein französischer Ingenieur. Er gilt in Fachkreisen als einer der fähigsten Dampflokomotivkonstrukteure, gewissermaßen als Großmeister des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Andre Chapelon — André Chapelon Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chapelon (homonymie). André Chapelon (26 octobre 1892, Saint Paul en Cornillon 22 juillet 1978, Paris) est un ingénieur français. Élève de l École Centrale des Arts et… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • André Chapelon — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chapelon (homonymie). André Chapelon (26 octobre 1892, Saint Paul en Cornillon 22 juillet 1978, Paris) est un ingénieur français. Élève de l École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, il fut un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chapelon — André Chapelon (* 26. Oktober 1892 in Saint Paul en Cornillon, Loire; † 22. Juli 1978 in Paris) war ein französischer Ingenieur. Er gilt in Fachkreisen als einer der fähigsten Dampflokomotivkonstrukteure, gewissermaßen als Großmeister des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chapelon (Homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Chapelon peut désigner : Chapelon, commune française située dans le département du Loiret ; André Chapelon, ingénieur français. Ce document… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chapelon, André — SUBJECT AREA: Land transport, Railways and locomotives [br] b. 26 October 1892 Saint Paul en Cornillon, Loire, France d. 29 June 1978 Paris, France [br] French locomotive engineer who developed high performance steam locomotives. [br] Chapelon s… …   Biographical history of technology

  • Chapelon — For the French engineer, see André Chapelon. Chapelon …   Wikipedia

  • Chapelon (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Chapelon peut désigner : Chapelon, commune française située dans le département du Loiret ; André Chapelon, ingénieur français qui a laissé son… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cléry-Saint-André — Cléry Saint André …   Wikipedia


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