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I remember reading an old Popular Mechanics magazine article, that discussed bladeless turbines.  It mentioned such things as better jet engines and stated the design was based on a Tesla patent.  Is there any truth to this?

In the September 1965 Popular Mechanics article "Make a Model Tesla Turbine" Walter Burton wrote, "One of the great 'lost' engines, Tesla's long-neglected turbine, is due for a revival."  The Tesla bladeless turbine consists simply of multiple shaft mounted disks suspended upon bearings which position the rotor system within its cylindrical casing.  In operation high velocity gases enter tangentially at the periphery of the disks, and flow through the narrow spaces between them in free spiral paths to exit, depleted of energy, through central exhaust ports.  The slight viscosity of the moving gas along with its molecular adhesion to the disks combine to drag them along, efficiently transferring the fuel's energy to the disks and on to the shaft.  There are some who believe that if this engine was built using advanced technology and materials it would have a power-to-weight ratio that compares favorably with bladed turbine engines.  The initial U.S. Patents which covered the pump and the engine were issued in 1913 under the titles "Fluid Propulsion" and "Turbine" [Dr. Nikola Tesla�Complete Patents].  Another related patent that describes a gas burning version of the disk turbine was issued in 1920 under the title "Valvular Conduit."  Tesla obtained a number of turbomachinery-related patents in the United States and abroad which serve as primary sources of information on these devices.


  • 1,061,142 Fluid Propulsion 

  • 1,061,206 Turbine 

  • 1,113,716 Fountain 

  • 1,209,359 Speed-Indicator 

  • 1,329,559 Valvular Conduit 

  • 1,266,175 Lightning-Protector 

  • 1,274,816 Speed Indicator 

  • 1,314,718 Ship's Log 

  • 1,365,547 Flow-Meter 

  • 1,402,025 Frequency-Meter 

  • 1,655,113 Method of Aerial Transportation 

  • 1,655,114 Apparatus for Aerial Transportation 


  • 24,001 Improved method of imparting energy to or deriving energy from a fluid and apparatus for use therein 

  • 174,544 Improvements in methods of and apparatus for the generation of power by elastic fluid turbines 

  • 179,043 Improved process and apparatus for production of high vacua 

  • 185,446 Method of and apparatus for aerial transportation 

  • 186,082 Improvements in the construction of steam and gas turbines 

  • 186,083 Improved method of and apparatus for the economic transportation of energy of steam turbines 

  • 186,084 Improved process of and apparatus for deriving motive power from steam 

  • 186,799 Process for and apparatus for balancing rotating machine parts 


  • 135,174 Improvements in Fluid Propulsion

All of these patents are included in the Nikola Tesla Patent Collection On CD-ROM
Nikola Tesla, Compiled by Bruce A. Perreault

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