Electric Traction: Steam Engine Drive, Diesel Engine Drive and Electric Drive

Power SystemsUtilisation of Electrical PowerUtilization of Electrical EnergyElectric Power System

What are Traction Systems?

The word "traction" means the action of pulling an object over a surface, especially a road or track. The action of propelling vehicles by electric power derived from overhead wires, third rail, storage batteries or diesel generators mounted on the vehicles is known as electric traction. In simple words, the traction system which uses electric power for its operation is known as electric traction.

The electric traction system is widely used in electric trains, tramcars, trolley buses and hybrid vehicles, etc.

Traction systems can either be electric or non-electric depending on the type of source from where they draw their power.

  • Steam Engine Drive - A steam engine drive uses a steam engine for driving the machines such as trains, trams, etc.

  • Diesel Engine Drive - When a direct internal combustion engine or diesel engine is used for driving the machines, it is known as diesel engine drive.

  • Electric Drive - An electric drive draws its power by means of electric motors which are fed from overhead distribution system. Therefore, the electric motors which are used for driving a machine are said to be electric drives.

Comparison among Steam Engine Drive, Diesel Engine Drive and Electric Drive

The following table compares and contrasts the different features of Steam Engine Drive, Diesel Engine Drive, and Electric Drive −

Point of ComparisonSteam Engine DriveDiesel Engine DriveElectric Drive
Source of powerHeat of the steam is the source of power in steam engine drives.Diesel engine drives use diesel fuel as the source of power.Electric drives use electricity as the source of power.
DesignThe design of steam engine drive is highly complicated.Diesel engine drives have less complicated design and construction than steam engine drive, but more complicated than electric drive.Electric drives are simple in design and construction.
Starting timeStarting time for the steam engine drive is high.Diesel engine drives need less starting time than steam engine drive.Electric drives require least time for starting.
EfficiencySteam engine drive has poor efficiency.Efficiency of diesel engine drive is better than steam engine drive.Electric drives have good efficiency.
Speed controlSpeed control of steam engine drive is complex.Speed control of diesel engine drive is easy.Speed control of electric drive is also easy.
Maintenance requiredSteam engine drive requires more maintenance.Diesel engine drive requires less maintenance than steam engine drive.Maintenance required for electric drive is least.
Electrified routeSteam engine drive does not require electrified route.Diesel engine drive also does not require electrified route.Electric drives require electrified route.
CleanlinessSteam engine drives are less clean.Diesel engine drives are more-clean.Electric drives are most clean.
ControlControlling of steam engine drive is complicated.Control of diesel engine drive is less complicated.Electric drives are easy to control.
AccelerationSteam engine drives provide less acceleration.Diesel engine drive provides more acceleration.Electric drive also provides more acceleration.
Center of gravityFor steam engine drive, the center of gravity is high.For diesel engine drives, the center of gravity is low.For electric drives, the center of gravity is also low.
Power to weight ratioFor steam engine drives, it is low.The power to weight ratio of diesel engine drives is moderate.For electric drives, the power to weight ratio is high.
Self-contained unitSteam engine drive does not have self-contained unit.Diesel engine drives have self-contained unit.Electric drives have no self-contained unit.
Interference with communication linesSteam engine drives do not interfere the operation of communication systems.Diesel engine drives do not interfere the operation of communication systems.Electric drives have interference with the nearby communication lines.
Breaking systemThe breaking system employed for steam engine drives is complex.The breaking system of diesel engine drives is less complex.Electric drives have easy breaking system.
raja
Updated on 27-Apr-2022 10:23:51

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