https://safirsoft.com Reconstruction of Romanian industrial engineering

How the special design increased the efficiency of the old water mill.

The arches of the Colosseum, the dome of the Pantheon, the elbows... Roman architecture is famous for its elegance and genius. An intriguing monument, stuck in the basement of the museum, shows that the Roman design also boosted the efficiency of an ancient industrial complex that was built rather than impressive.

The Barbal water mill complex of the 2nd century in southern France was not a monument that attracted people's attention. But there was no mill. It was the most powerful mechanical power concentrate known since antiquity - a set of 16 wheels that could grind approximately 55,000 pounds of flour per day.

The effective performance of this kit has required precision engineering for thousands of years. Now, with the mill complex demolished, an international team of archaeologists, geologists and fluid mechanics was needed to gather evidence of the wooden gutter system effectively draining water through the canal complex. The main component of the research team was the discovery of a strangely shaped gutter, unique in its design: the elbow chimney.

Efficient Engineering

Maximizing efficiency at the Barbagal Mill complex was challenging because it was a complex system. A series of canals brought water from the nearest river to the top of the hill where the mill complex was built. Then the water flowed from the waterwheels, which were laid out in two rows of eight and passed parallel to the foot of the hill. They put their restrooms in pools carved into the rock. “The mill complex is special,” Sis Bacher said. He is the study's lead author, as well as a retired professor of structural and tectonic geology at the University of Mainz, Germany. "This is the only example we know of of a group of many Roman mills. You usually only find small mills."

A typical grinder has a tank. The water from the tank is carried through a chimney to the water wheel downstream. It is easy to treat the water depth in the tank with the dam and gate hose. This means that the flow of water is precisely controlled before the smoke enters, and the chimney itself can be a simple straight gutter that directs water into the wheel.

But the Barbagal multi-storey complex did not have a tank. Instead, rows of shaved puddles were lined up on a slope. The basins had a dual purpose: to take water from the fallen wheel and at the same time play the role of the next wheel to the water source in this series. Compared to a single tank, the water depth in these ponds was more difficult to control. Basher et al. I believe the carefully designed elbow chimney—a roughly seven-foot-long gutter on one side that bent like the tip of a hockey stick—is designed to meet this unique challenge.

"This is not the case with modern mills or medieval mills."

Rebuilding the Mills

Little is known about the Barbagal mills. Of the entire industrial complex, only one skeleton remained. Wooden water wheels and other machinery rotted long ago, leaving the inner workings of iron mills largely a mystery. But evidence of the system remains, as the region's mineral-rich waters left something behind: calcium carbonate, an old ally of archaeologists. said John Lampropoulos, professor of mechanical engineering, at the University of Rochester, who was not involved in the research.

The Barbegal Mill was an industrial complex for food production. Advertising

To understand where this strange gutter in the Barbagal Mill complex was, the research team examined the patterns of the carbonate layers—which provided information about how the water flowed—and the dimensions of the parts and mill assembly. How the water flows in the mill, they modeled the different possibilities and concluded that an elbow-shaped stream was used to direct water from the pond at the bottom of the water wheel to the top of the next water wheel down.

But with the water depth of the basins fluctuating Different from the mill complex, the delivery of water alone wasn't enough—iron stacks were needed to regulate the flow.The smoke had to be very steep, so that the water would reach high velocities as it moved away from the pond, Bacher said.But it also had to be shallow, so that The water falls at a right angle to the wheel.

"You can't have a shallow, steep gutter at the same time - so the solution is to build the elbow."

Give it an attachment

A steep drop that provides a rapid flow near the outlet of the pelvis.Then the bend of the elbow controls the flow, as the Water roughly horizontally along the longest part of the stream until it reaches the next wheel. Before it is brought into the water wheel, the elbow chimney accelerates the speed of the water. With a long flat pull. Zoom/Speed ​​Water Chimney elbow raises water with a quick flat pull before transferring it to the wheel. John Timmer

This was a simple and beautiful answer to a complex design puzzle. According to Hubert Chanson, professor of hydraulic engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia, this shows that the ancient Romans had a better understanding of fluid mechanics and hydraulic engineering than scientists and historians thought. "[Pachchir et al.] are really coming up with a really Roman idea," said Chanson, who reviewed the initial draft of the handwritten version of Elbow Garbage but wouldn't be involved in the investigation otherwise. improve their general efficiency.” . “What is correct, who knows? But certainly this is a very powerful approach."

In modern times, the discovery of the elbow tongue is unlikely to have much of an impact on current water management—the technology has advanced far beyond Barbegal's reach. In the past two millennia, for Bacher, It's important to motivate the lost work of ancient technology.

"[The elbow tongue]] doesn't change the way we see the world—but there are other things archeology can do to help us find cheap solutions to current problems." What it shows In the old times, people were creative too. They had a problem and had to find a creative solution.” Alice McBride is a writer and ecologist in Maine. He is currently studying writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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