8.5.1845 Blåsenborg/S - 3.2.1913 Stockholm/S
Gustaf de Laval graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Uppsala in 1863 and then joined an engineering company as a draftsman, but poor health forced him to give up that position. He returned to Uppsala University and there gained the doctoral title in 1872. In the same year he was employed in a copper company for which he made investigations in the manufacture of sulphuric acid. After completion of this work, he opened his own factory in Falun, which unfortunately failed.
He then joined iron works as an engineer and there developed the centrifugal cream separator which made his name a household word on the dairy farms of the world. He again gave up his position to perfect the device and finally patented and manufactured it. The Cream Separator was driven by the principle of Hero of Alexandria using a reaction wheel by two steam jets normal to the direction of rotation. This brought de Laval in trouble with transmission and shafts rotating at high speeds, which he attempted to overcome by a special bearing, lubricated by the oil acted on by centrifugal force, together with a high-speed worm-drive transmission. Cream Separators were made for many years with direct steam drive, although their economic efficiency proved to be poor. Around 1890, de Laval was ready with the first steam turbine, embodying practically all elements which have become familiar since, such as conversion of the energy of high-pressure steam into velocity by means of the de Laval nozzle, the use of a wheel running at high speed, and the flexible shaft running at a speed far exceeding the critical speed. The Laval Nozzle is a device allowing supercritical efflux of gas from a container using a local contracting section representing the main element of modern jet propulsion. The steam was expanded in a single stage from the initial to the final pressure to secure economy with the steam issuing at high velocity. De Laval was a Member of the Swedish House of Lords and received many orders and distinctions during his career.
Anonymous (1887). Gustaf de Laval. Wiener Landwirthschaftliche Zeitung 37(2099): 73. P Anonymous (1913). Dr. Gustaf de Laval. Wiener Landwirtschaftliche Zeitung 63(18): 215. P Anonymous (1913). Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval. Trans. ASME 35: 980-982.
Anonymous (1913). Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval. Zeitschrift Verein Deutscher Ingenieure
57(10): 361-362. P
Church, A.H., Gartmann, H. (1955). De Laval Steam Turbine Company. Trenton.
Smith, G.W. (1954). Dr. Carl Gustaf Patrik de Laval and the three De Laval Companies in North America. Newcomen Society: New York.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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