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  An aeolipile, a rocket-like[1] jet engine[2] invented in the first century by Hero of Alexandria, is considered to be the first recorded steam engine and reaction steam turbine.[3] The name—derived from the Latin words "aeoli" and "pila"—translates to "the ball of Aeolus" ; Aeolus being the Greek god of the wind.

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It consists of an air-tight chamber (usually a sphere or cylinder) rotating on a bearing of some kind, with bent or curved nozzles projecting from it (tipjets), through which steam is expelled perpendicular to the bearing axis. The resulting thrust due to the rocket principle[4] causes a torque which makes the device spin (Newton's third law).

  Typically, the water is heated in a basin, which is connected to the rotating chamber by a pair of pipes that also serve as the pivots for the chamber. However, the water may also be heated in the chamber itself as shown in the illustration.  

The device was thought of as little more than a diversion during Hero's lifetime, although it was used to operate temple doors, but the device received little serious recognition until relatively modern times.

See also

  • Steam engine
  • Hot water rocket
  • Rocket engine
  • Segner-wheel


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "turbine." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 18 July 2007 .
  4. ^ [3]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aeolipile". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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