Instrument for measuring the transformation of water into steam

Instrument for measuring the transformation of water into steam

Instrument for measuring the transformation of water into steam

Inv. 19
Interpretation by Alberto Mario Soldatini e Vittorio Somenzi, 1956

“to make the experiment of how much water grows when it converts into air.”

This tool designed by Leonardo is used to measure the expansion and pressure of steam. The device consists of a container filled with cold water and covered by a lid balanced by a counterweight. When the fire is lit, the water evaporates and pushes on the lid. The whole phenomenon could be observed though an elastic and semitransparent window cut in the side of the container and made out of animal bladder.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Codex Leicester f. 10 r. (1508-1512)
    Seattle, Gates Foundation