- Hellmuth Walter
Hellmuth Walter (
26 August 1900in Wedelnear Hamburg– 16 December 1980in Upper Montclair, New Jersey) was a German engineerwho pioneered research into rocket engines and gas turbines. His most noteworthy contributions were rocket motors for the Messerschmitt Me 163and Bachem Ba 349 interceptor aircraft, JATOunits used for a variety of Luftwaffeaircraft during World War II, and a revolutionary new propulsion system for submarines known as air-independent propulsion(AIP).
Walter began training as a
machinistin 1917 in Hamburgand in 1921 commenced studies in mechanical engineeringat the Hamburg Technical Institute. He left before completing these studies, however, in order to take up a position at the Stettiner Maschinenbau AG Vulcan, a major shipyard. Walter’s experience with marine engines here led him to become interested in overcoming some of the limitations of the internal combustion engine. He reasoned that an enginepowered by a fuelsource already rich with oxygenwould not require an external supply of oxygen (from the atmosphere or from tanks). This would have obvious advantages for powering submarines and torpedoes.
Research suggested that
hydrogen peroxidewas a suitable fuel – in the presence of a suitable catalystit would break down into oxygen and steamat high temperature. The heatof the reactionwould cause the oxygen and steam to expand, and this could be used as a source of pressure. Walter also realised that another fuel could be injected into this hot mixture of gases to provide combustionand therefore more power. He patented this idea in 1925.
After working for some time at the
Germaniawerftshipyard in Kiel, Walter branched out on his own in 1934 to form his own company, Hellmuth Walter Kommanditgesellschaft( HWK, or Walter-Werke), to further research and developmentof his ideas. That same year, he made a proposal to the "Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine" (OKM – Naval High Command) suggesting that a submarine powered by one of these engines would have considerable speed advantages over the conventional diesel-electricsystems then in use. The proposal was met with much scepticism, but Walter persisted, and in 1937 showed his plans to Karl Dönitz, who was able to assist in obtaining a contract to produce a prototype. Construction started in 1939 on a small research submarine designated the V-80. When it was launched in 1940, the submarine demonstrated a top speed of 23 knots submerged, twice that of any submarine in the world at the time. Despite these spectacular results, problems with the production, supply, and safe handling of hydrogen peroxide prevented wide-scale implementation of Walter’s revolutionary engine. In the end, only a handful of submarines were built using this engine, and none saw combat.
At the same time that Walter was developing submarine engines, he was also applying his ideas to rocketry. The high pressure gas mixture created by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide could not only be used in a
turbine, but if simply directed out of a nozzle, created considerable thrust. Wernher von Braun’s rocketry team working at Peenemündeexpressed interest in Walter's ideas, and in 1936 began a programme of installing Walter rockets into aircraft. The experimental results obtained by von Braun created interest among Germany’s aircraft manufacturers, including Heinkeland Messerschmitt, and in 1939, the Heinkel He 176became the first aircraft to fly on liquid-fuelled rocket power alone. This type of engine went on to become the cornerstone of the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered fighter, when married to Alexander Lippisch's revolutionary airframedesign. Throughout the course of World War II, Walter’s aircraft engines became increasingly powerful and refined. The original design of simply decomposing hydrogen peroxide was soon changed to its use as an oxidizer, when combined with a hydrazine/methanol true rocket fuel designated C-Stoff, into the hot, high-pressure gases, and in later, never-deployed developments, a second, 400 kg (880 lb) thrust "cruising" combustion chamber was added to allow for more precise control of the engine. Versions of this engine powered a variety of aircraft and missileprojects and was also licence-built in Japan(see HWK 109-509).
Another Walter engine was used to assist heavily-laden aircraft to take off (JATO or
RATO). When the rockets’ fuel had run out, they would separate from the aircraft and return to the ground by parachutefor refurbishment and re-use (see HWK 109-500).
In 1945, Walter was awarded the Knight's Cross for his wartime service.
The end of the war saw all of his research materials confiscated by the British military and Walter and his colleagues taken to the UK to work for the
Royal Navy. With Walter’s co-operation, one of the German submarines using his drive, the U-1407 was raised from where it had been scuttled and re-commissioned as HMS "Meteorite". The Royal Navy constructed two more submarines using AIP engines before abandoning research in this direction in favour of nuclear power.
Allowed to return to Germany in 1948, Walter formed the
Paul Seifert Engine Works. In 1950 he emigrated to the United Statesand joined the Worthington Corporationin Harrison, New Jersey, eventually becoming vice-president of research.
* Karl G. Strecker: "Vom Walter-U-Boot zum Waffelautomaten", Köster Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89574-438-7
* [http://www.walter-rockets.i12.com/ "The Hellmuth Walter Website"]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Hellmuth Walter — (* 26. August 1900 in Wedel bei Hamburg; † 16. Dezember 1980 in Upper Montclair (New Jersey)) war ein deutscher Erfinder und U Boot Entwickler. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Literatur 3 Siehe auch … Deutsch Wikipedia
Hellmuth Walter — (26 août 1900 à Wedel près d Hambourg, Allemagne – 16 décembre 1980 à Upper Montclair, New Jersey, États Unis) était un ingénieur allemand qui a effectué des recherches pionnières sur les moteurs fusées et les turbines à gaz. Ses contributions… … Wikipédia en Français
Hellmuth Walter Kommanditgesellschaft — (HWK), también conocida como Walter Werke, fue una compañía alemana fundada por el profesor Hellmuth Walter en Kiel en 1935, dedicada a la investigación y desarrollo de motores propulsados por peróxido de hidrógeno. Contenido 1 Historia 2… … Wikipedia Español
Hellmuth Walter Kommanditgesellschaft — (HWK), commonly known as the Walter Werke, was a German company founded by Professor Hellmuth Walter to pursue his interest in engines using hydrogen peroxide as a fuel.Having experimented with torpedoes and submarines, Walter began to design… … Wikipedia
Hellmuth — may refer to:* Hellmuth Heye (1895–1970), German admiral and politician * Hellmuth Hirth (1886–1938), German engineer who founded engine manufacturing companies * Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, an architecture engineering firm * Hellmuth Karasek… … Wikipedia
Walter (Familienname) — Walter ist der 37. häufigste Familienname in Deutschland. Bekannte Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y … Deutsch Wikipedia
Walter — may refer to:*Walter (name) * Walter (crater) on the Moon, more commonly known as Diophantus * Walther (crater), also on the Moon * Walter Township, Minnesota * Walter Engines, Czech manufacturer of aero engines * Hellmuth Walter… … Wikipedia
Walter-U-Boot — Ein Dampfgenerator einer Walter Antriebsanlage Turbine einer Walter Antriebsanlage Der Walter Antrieb wurde von Hellmuth Walter (1900 1980) im Auftrag der … Deutsch Wikipedia
Walter HWK 109-509 — HWK 109 509 HWK 109 509 expuesto en el Luftwaffenmuseum, Berlín Gatow (Alemania). Tipo Motor cohete Fabricante … Wikipedia Español
Walter-Antrieb — Ein Dampfgenerator einer Walter Antriebsanlage Turbine einer Walter Ant … Deutsch Wikipedia