Researching the Trompe: Gathering Literature

Trompes–an clean, efficient, and simple technology for capturing compressed air.  At Lost Technology, we have 3 goals for the trompe:

  • Gather literature and resources about trompes
  • Create trompe models to conduct research
  • Find modern-world applications for the trompe

Here’s some more details on how we plan to do that.

Gathering Literature

Pre-Industrial Revolution Books

Engineers used trompes extensively in the seventeenth-century, but they fell out of fashion by the mid 1900s. Nearly all books discussing trompes date pre-1920s.

Because all trompe literature is so old, the information is free of copyright. However, you’ll find some difficulties when researching century-old books. Spelling can be inconsistent, and sometimes trompes are referred to by completely different names. So far, we’ve found trompes also labeled as a:

  • pyramidal/conical trough
  • water bellows
  • hydraulic air-blast
  • hydraulic air/gas compressor
  • liquid charging siphon

References to trompes appear in books about a wide variety of topics–hydraulics, air compression, metallurgy, you name it. Thanks to modern computers, Google Book’s search feature has proved extremely helpful in finding references to trompes. You can see our current list of books on the main trompe page.

Modern Research

The last couple decades, several professors and independent researchers have revived trompe technology. Bruce Leavitt used simple trompes constructed from PBC pipes to re-oxygenate polluted rivers in Pennsylvanian. Youtuber Mr. Teslonian experiment with combining a trompe and a water hammer. Permaculture founder and professor Bill Mollison spoke about trompes in his lectures, sparking interest in many of his students.

It seems a small number of researchers have experimented with trompe technology. For example, as noted in an excerpt from a list of hydraulic research papers, Professor Warren Rice analyzed a trompes performance and created a digital model.

007 08698 630 00
Professor Warren Rice
Experimental and analytical basic and applied Masters thesis
The compressor involves gas bubbles being carried downward in column of liquid An analytical model of the compressor involving this type of two phase flow has been made and calculations of the expected performance have been made using a digital computer The analytical model has been compared with data from an experimental model of the compressor with excellent agreement
Performance calculations have indicated that several possible applications areas should be further investigated including tidal and wave energy recovery and compression of air for power plant load peaking storage
Performance of Hydraulic Gas Compressor W Rice J Fluids Engrg ASME Trans 98 1 4 Dec 1976

(reference: Hydraulic research in the United States and Canada, Issue 497; NBS special publication; Bulletin, United States National Hydraulic Laboratory, Washington, D.C.)

There is also a team in Ontario, Canada researching large-scale trompes (which they refer to as a Hydraulic Air Compressor or HAC).

We hope to collaborate with current researchers and improve on what has already been accomplished. If you are conducting research related to trompes, feel free to contact us.

Related Articles:

Researching The Trompe: Creating a Model
Researching The Trompe: Finding Modern-World Applications (coming soon)


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