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Crossposted at Politicook.net

Last time we talked about the gas laws mainly, and I realize that this is not exactly a pageturner of a topic, but is important for two reasons:  to have a basic familiarity with how gases behave, and to show that these concepts were worked out, in some cases, over two centuries ago.  I find this fascinating, because everything was done by hand.  No computers, no calculators, no slide rules, and only the most basic of instrumentation (basically a balance and a crude barometer).

This time we will look at a few specialized applications for gases, and then a look at a few gases of particular interest.  If your favorite is not covered, speak up in a comment!

Because of being compressible, gases are good for storing energy.  Whilst compressed gases are often utilized for transport of gases (high pressure pipelines, compressed gas cylinders, etc.), a major use of compressed gases (usually air) is power applications.  Compressed air is often used in automotive shops to power tools since compressed air is already necessary to inflate tires, and is very convenient as a power source.  In addition, it is clean, tools run cool, and there is no danger of electrical shock.  Everyone that has gotten a new set of tires has heard the sound of an air impact wrench.

Whilst on the subject of tires, everyone with a car should get one of those little compressors that plug into a car cigarette lighter and a good, dial display tire gauge (NOT one that pushes the little stick out, as these are not very accurate).  The compressors are only about 20 bucks, and you will save that much in gasoline at $4+ per gallon by keeping your tires inflated to factory specifications (usually printed on a sticker inside the driver's door).  Not only do underinflated tires cost fuel because of high rolling resistance, they are unsafe because the higher rolling resistance makes them run hotter than properly inflated ones.  Always check them cold (before driving).  You sometimes can inflate over factory recommendations for the car, but never inflate past the rating embossed on the tire wall.  Higher pressures make the ride a little stiffer, but do save gasoline.

Compressed air tools are often used in explosive atmospheres since there is no commutator to spark like in an electric motor.  When I worked in the pyrotechnics prototype facility we used lots of air powered equipment and had a large compressor with feeds to each work area.

An interesting use for compressed air is in solar power production.  Obviously, solar does not work very well at night or with high cloud cover.  One concept is to take part of the electricity generated during daylight and use it to compress air and store it in underground reservoirs.  During dark hours the compressed air is tapped to run a gas turbine generator to provide a supply of electricity.  This makes solar arrays, be they photovolatic or thermal, useful for supplying electricity around the clock, reducing the need for supplemental generators running of fossil fuels.  Whilst it will not completely eliminate the need for supplemental generating capacity, it makes sense in regions where the geology is suitable (think where old gas or oil wells were sited) because the economy of scale for very large solar plants.

This concept could also be used for wind farms, but the benefits are apt to be less since, in favorable wind areas, there is not as high a probability that the wind will be off line essentially half of the time.  However, in certain locations it might be a viable approach.

Another use for gases is in control operations.  This can be accomplished by using partial vacuum, compressed gases, or both.  For example, the heating and cooling doors on my car are controlled pneumatically.  Partial vacuum from the intake manifold goes to a control switch, and, depending on how I set it, the partial vacuum causes one or more doors in the ductwork to open or close.  Mine defaults to the windshield defroster doors being open and the other closed, probably a safety function.  I found out the hard way when it quit.  With some fine wire and a solvent, I finally worked out the clog from the main supply (sort of an odd term for vacuum) line and everything worked again.

Now let us talk about a few gases that find of particular interest.  The first one is hydrogen since it is in the news quite a little as a potential fuel.  Hydrogen has a couple of things going for it.  It is clean burning, works in fuel cells, and can be made just about anywhere.  However, it has some really large drawbacks as a fuel.  First of all, it is not naturally occurring in the free state like natural gas, so it has to be manufactured.  How is this done?

The cheapest was to make hydrogen is to take fossil fuels and react them with water vapor under high temperatures and moderately high pressures.  The products are generally carbon monoxide and hydrogen.  It takes a lot of energy to remove hydrogen from water, so it is not cheap.  Either natural gas or coal can be used for this.  Natural gas can also be reacted with a limited amount of oxygen to form hydrogen and carbon dioxide.  The problem with any of these methods is that fossil fuels are necessary, and, at the very end of the cycle, the carbon monoxide is burned to carbon dioxide since the heat content of the monoxide is too great to waste.

Hydrogen can also be made by the electrolytic decomposition of water, forming oxygen as a byproduct.  To do this requires a really cheap electrical source, so it is not very viable either.  It might be where cheap solar, geothermal, or wind (or nuclear) electricity is available, but is otherwise very costly.

Even if a cheap method for production is available, transport of hydrogen is extraordinarily difficult and expensive.  First, it is not practical to liquefy hydrogen like propane or even natural gas, because the temperature of liquid hydrogen is so low.  In addition is the fact that hydrogen has the greatest diffusion constant for any gas, so minute pinholes that would not make much difference for natural gas transport become critical for hydrogen.  Yet even further, hydrogen is not very "energy dense" because it has to be used as a gas.  Even though you get about 121 kilojoules (kJ) for each gram of hydrogen burned and only 32.8 for each gram of carbon burned, hydrocarbons are for the most part liquids and their densities are so much greater than even 3000 psi hydrogen that they win.  At 3000 psi, hydrogen is about 18 grams per liter, and at atmospheric pressure gasoline is roughly 703 grams per liter, 39 times the density.  You get the idea.  Finally, hydrogen leaks are extraordinarily hazardous since mixtures of hydrogen and air will explode when the hydrogen content is anywhere from 4% to 75%, while for gasoline the limits are 1.4% to 7.6%.  Therefore, I am not really very optimistic about hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline or Diesel fuel, but it certainly will have uses in specific applications.

Chlorine touches our lives in many ways.  Almost everyone on public water systems have chlorinated water (ozone is being used more and more these days) to destroy bacteria and other pathogens in the water.  Chlorination of water has been one of the most successful public health initiatives in the history of civilization, even though there are some downsides, particularly in water rich in organic materials due to the formation of halocarbons, which are carcinogenic.  However, it takes only a few massive cholera outbreaks to make up for a very small cancer risk.

We get chlorine from salt, sodium chloride.  It is dissolved in water and electricity is passed through to make chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide solution, both of value.  Chlorine is a greenish, heavy gas that is easy to liquefy and store as a liquid under pressure.  Enormous quantities are shipped by rail every day.  Contrary to common experience, pure chlorine has a fairly faint odor.  When people say that they smell chlorine, it is almost always the case that they are smelling chloramines that result from the action of chlorine on organic material containing nitrogen (proteins and especially urea from urine).  Chloramines are extremely irritating and have an extremely strong odor.  Try this experiment:  take some household bleach, about a teaspoon, in a glass container, and sniff it.  Then add a couple of drops of urine, swirl, and sniff again (cautiously).  You will be able to tell the difference.  In the first case you are pretty much smelling just chlorine, and in the second, chloramines.

Chlorine is used for many other things, such as production of some plastics, drugs, and in bleaching paper.  One outcome of bleaching paper with chlorine is that dioxins can be formed.  I always use the brown coffee filters for this very reason.

Uranium hexafluoride is the key material for enrichment of uranium to form fissile materials.  It is interesting that such a heavy compound would be a gas, but fluorine is sort of special since it is a second row element.  The way that uranium enrichment works these days is to take natural uranium, (99.284% uranium-238, which does not fission and 0.711% uranium-235 that does fission with a little uranium-234 that is not enough to consider) and centrifuge it, over and over.  To get reactor fuel, you need to enrich the U-235 to around three to five per cent, while bomb material requires around 90%.  Centrifuges work by density, throwing the heavier materials to the bottom of the centrifuge vessel and allowing the lighter ones to stay near the top.  The problem is that the difference in density of U-238 hexafluoride and U-235 hexafluoride is 352/349, or only about 0.9%, so the process is not very efficient and has to be done over and over to get very much enrichment.  After the process is done, the hexafluoride is converted to solid uranium oxide for reactor fuel, or metallic uranium for bombs, and it is on its way.

Neon will be the last gas that we discuss unless there are questions and comments about others.  Neon is a "noble" gas, is monatomic, and forms no known compound.  The sole source is from the air (likewise for the other noble gases except helium (so light that escapes the atmosphere and radon, which is unstable) argon, krypton, and xenon).  Air is cooled and cooled and cooled some more, and finally becomes a very cold liquid.  Then it is allowed to boil slowly, and neon is the first thing to boil off (except for extremely trace amounts of hydrogen and helium, not enough to worry about) since it is the lightest, lowest boiling component.

Everyone has seen "neon" lights, but many of these lights are not neon at all.

Neon specifically is the reddish-orange colored tubes, and other colors are derived from other gases, or by painting the tubes or using colored glass tubes, or phosphorescent internal coatings, to pass a given wavelength band.  The way that these lights work is pretty interesting:  a high voltage electrical source strips some electrons off of a few neon atoms, allowing the resulting plasma (to be discussed next time) to conduct electricity.  The electrical energy promotes electrons to higher energy levels in neon atoms, and when those electrons return back to their normal energies, an orange light is emitted.

Well, this is long enough, so plasma will follow next time.  I will hang around for a while for questions, comments, and criticisms.  I really like the feedback, and always say, and mean, that I learn more from the feedback than I ever possibly hope to teach.  Warmest regards, Doc.

Originally posted to Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for gases and some uses? Warmest regards, (26+ / 0-)

    Doc.

    Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

    by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:18:02 PM PDT

  •  Geez (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, trivium, marketgeek, palantir

    Just how many phases of matter does matter need anyways?

    :)

    Another cool diary, thanks.

    •  There are four, at least. (6+ / 0-)

      Final one next time.  That does not include any of the intermediate ones, like, for example, Jello.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:27:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You got to do one on Jello (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Translator, marketgeek, palantir

        you just have to.

        •  The classic thixotropic (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          citizenx, marketgeek, palantir

          colloidal dispersion, made from tendons, bones, and such.  Warmest regards, Doc.

          Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

          by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:32:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looking forward to (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            citizenx, Translator, palantir
            a car fueled by jello.

            Will attract flies, though.

            Seriously, thanks for all the info from a total scientific ignoramus.

            •  My goal here is to (6+ / 0-)

              make science accessible to those who do not have an extremely strong background, while simultaneously not talking down to actual scientists.  How am I doing?  Warmest regards, Doc.

              Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

              by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:57:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  YOU are doing fine (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                citizenx, Translator, palantir
                I, on the other hand, may have to go lie down ...;)
              •  It depends. How tall are you? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                citizenx, Translator

                (Not a scientist, but I did stay at a holiday inn once)

                to be honest, I LOVE these posts, and tank your for them. Passing gaseous stories is very informative. It also allows us to arm ourselves against the idiocy that populates DC and infects those on the right.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:27:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you very much for the very kind (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  agnostic

                  words.  As I said, part of my agenda is to make basic science available to folks who thirst for truth, and to hope that they make it known to others who might be so, hmmmm, thirsty.

                  Of course I am in it for the tips, which I hope to exchange on McCain's site for "credits".  That was snark.  Warmest regards, Doc.

                  Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

                  by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:38:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  A+ (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Translator

                If I am your audience (that is, the interested layperson.... I read, but the last physical science course I had was in high school)

                •  You, and many like you, are my (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  plf515

                  target audience.  I want to make science understandable for you and to inspire each of you to stretch a bit and learn more from other sources.  On the other hand, I want this to be deep enough that I do not insult other professional scientists.

                  Believe me, it is not easy.  You would not believe how chauvinistic that "real" scientists can be.  Talk about egos!  I got into a professional journal "flame war" because I did not agree with the interpretation of some spectral data on the geometry of the lowest excited state of cyclohex-2-ene-1-one.  I kid you not.  He had more publications that I had, so he won.

                  But I surprised him by publishing the first spectra of cyclohex-2-ene-1-one under irradiation by ultraviolet light in an NMR probe.  He did not have much of a comeback.

                  My point is simply that I try not to be an asshole.  I know certain things, but that does not by any measure mean that I know much, or even a little.  I am always humbled here by the questions, comments, and other observations of the readers.  Warmest regards, Doc.

                  Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

                  by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:32:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I want to know /your/ explanation for oobleck n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Translator

        Loudest the river, fewest the fish.

        by houyhnhnm on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:38:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please explain this term because (0+ / 0-)

          it is not currently part of my vocabulary.  This is why I post:  I learn more than anyone does.  I guess that this a selfish motive, but true.  Warmest regards, Doc.

          Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

          by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:39:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is a dilatant (I learned a new word last week) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Translator

            material made with one part water to three parts cornstarch.  If you stir it slowly it is runny.  If you stir it vigorously it, it thickens up.

            The explanation I was given was that the starch molecules, which are somewhat hydrophobic, kind of curl up normally, but when you pound them they strighten out.

            Loudest the river, fewest the fish.

            by houyhnhnm on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:02:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, also called "mystery matter". (0+ / 0-)

              It is a classic example of a thixotropic material, in other words, one that behaves differently to the same force depending on how fast it is delivered.

              Take your cornstarch mixture, for example (if you want it to keep a week or two, mix in a couple of teaspoons of washing borax as an antibacterial).  Push your finger into it, and it complies and parts.  Punch your fist into it, and it resilient.

              This is an easy, nontoxic, and cheap demonstration for middle school kids.  Mrs. Translator, the best teacher that I have ever known, uses this one from time to time.

              Thank you for explaining your topic, and always nothing but warmest regards, Doc.

              Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

              by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:37:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Will there be a quiz? ;-) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, palantir
  •  Have you done one on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, Translator

    Non-Newtonian fluids? I'd love to read about that.

    "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity." -George Carlin

    by NMDad on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:36:16 PM PDT

    •  Not yet, because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jules Beaujolais, NMDad

      my intention is to get the fundamentals covered first, so that the more esoteric topics can be referred back to that framework.  I depend on folks like you for topics, and that is certainly one that should be covered, but only after a discussion of Newtonian ones.  Thanks!  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:38:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe chem-savvy bloggers such as yourself, (4+ / 0-)

    Translator, could do more to dispel the disinformation out there about the promise of hydrogen fuel cells, and worse, this persistent "water-powered car" silliness that keeps making the email rounds.

    •  You make very good points, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      citizenx, Jules Beaujolais, palantir

      and I will attempt to do so.  You saw my thoughts on hydrogen, an excellent fuel in certain, limited applications.  It could work, but is, in my opinion, extremely oversold.

      The water powered car is a scam of the greatest magnitude.  Whilst it might be true that water injection, in some engines, in limited conditions, might make combustion more controlled and so more efficient, that has never been shown to be the case.  Running any engine off of water alone is just ridiculous.  Even if an automobile alternator was set to split water, it would take more energy than derived to make it go.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:44:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is it true... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science, Translator, palantir

    that H2O is the only substance to exist naturally on earth at a liquid, solid, and gas?

    The project I'm currently working on is a therapeutic system that delivers air and oxygen at specific mixtures and rates. I've learned more than I ever wanted to about pressure, gas density and viscosity, mass-flow sensors, laminar flow, Reynolds numbers, etc. It's a lot more than just PV = nRT.

    •  I almost said that this is not true, then (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      science, citizenx, Jules Beaujolais

      tried to come up with an example.  I could not off the top of my small head, but surely there are more.  On the other hand, water is unlike anything else in the universe, so I will not say "not true" out of hand.  Please let me ponder (not to taken an meaning going to Wiki to look for examples) and I will respond.  I am thinking of things like ammonia, but its freezing point is very low.

      None of the fixed gases qualify, and alcohol does not occur naturally in high concentration.  Carbon dioxide is out, too.  You stumped me, but I will think about it.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:49:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  excellent question (7+ / 0-)

      Doc, does anything else exist in all three phases naturally on Earth?  I imagine that magma might--it is liquid rock (mostly silica) and presumably there are vapors as well (although whether that is actually gaseous silica is something I don't know).

      On a light note--in line with Doc's discussion of phases of matter---here is a simple proof that Heaven is hotter than Hell.

      The temperature of heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26 reads,  Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days. Thus, heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty nine) times as much as the earth does from the sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the moon is one ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. With these data we can compute the temperature of heaven: The radiation falling on heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation

      (H/E)4 = 50

      where E is the absolute temperature of the earth, 300°K (273+27). This gives H the absolute temperature of heaven, as 798° absolute (525°C).

      The exact temperature of hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten brimstone [sulfur] means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C. (Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake.)

      We have then, temperature of heaven, 525°C (977°F). Temperature of hell, less than 445°F). Therefore heaven is hotter than hell.

      •  Funny (4+ / 0-)

        I'll be sure to be buried in shorts, in either case.

      •  Sounds a lot like Venus (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jules Beaujolais, Translator

        And just think of all the pressure on each and every angel not to pass gas.

      •  Nice analysis! As for magma, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        citizenx, Jules Beaujolais

        it is not a pure substance, and the gaseous materials are such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, etc., not vaporized rock.  However, at the instant of a pyroclastic event, it would not surprise me if there were minerals in all three states.

        I just thought of one:  sulfur.  But I know of no real example, but its properties seem to be right.  Anyone have more information?  Warmest regards, Doc.

        Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

        by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:00:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  More information? Always! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Translator
          For instance, what is the elemental state of a singularity?  How viscous is time/gravity  (it looks kinda syrup-y in the graphs)?

          Just kidding, but this scientific ignoramus is enormously intrigued by the elusiveness inhabiting the scientific frontier.

          •  You have to be constantly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jules Beaujolais

            on guard towards those who use scientific language to fool you.  They speak well, and make sense to those who are not hip.  The usual tipoff is that they want money or votes or something else of real value.  As much as I appreciate tips and recommendations, neither of those cost any reader anything but a bit of time.

            Here is an example.  There is a TV ad that tries to sell things to stick to your feet to pull out "toxins".  This is, to put it bluntly, bullshit.  There is no known mechanism for that to work, even if activated carbon were used, since there is no energy driving the process.

            It turns out that the filling of these is waste products from tea processing (stems, etc), that turn brown from moisture.  A debunker took one and put it over a teakettle with boiling water, and it turned brown.

            The same person, I am told, wore them for over a month, and they still kept turning brown.  Either that person was so toxic as to be already cadaverous (unlikely) of the filling just stains.  So check out things before you believe them.

            I do my dead level best in this, and previous, and future, series to deliver the best information that I know, but I also know that it is impossible to be correct every time.  I will say that any inaccuracy is a result of my imperfect intellect or understanding of a subject, not because I intend to profit from misleading others.  Warmest regards, Doc.

            Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

            by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:20:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  So, I take it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator, palantir
    the most effective new car should be simply electric?
    •  When we get better sources of power, (3+ / 0-)

      those that are not highly polluting, yes, for short hops.  Battery technology is just not up to the task now, so we are looking at 60 miles or so before recharge.  We still have to figure out long distance transportation, and hydrocarbon fuels are the only things that fill the bill at present.  That does not mean that we will not crack that nut, just not today.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:52:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Doc! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrSandman, citizenx, Translator

    Tips and Recs as usual

    Try this experiment:  take some household bleach, about a teaspoon, in a glass container, and sniff it.  Then add a couple of drops of urine, swirl, and sniff again (cautiously).  You will be able to tell the difference.

    This experiment, however, I believe I'll just take your word for.

    •  Thank you for the kind words and actions! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jules Beaujolais, palantir

      You can do the same thing by adding one drop of household ammonia, but I was not willing to post that in the main diary for fear that someone would kill one's self.

      Lots of folks have discovered this one all by themselves by using bleach in the commode and forgetting to flush it down before urinating in it.  I guarantee that doing this will get your attention.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:55:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gas matters, even if not a pageturner. (3+ / 0-)

    My granddad was always concerned about his gas. Who knew he was on the cutting edge? ;-)

    Great diary, BTW. Learned a few things. Are there links to others???? I actually have a life ouside of here -- much as I regret it -- and miss most of the really interesting diaries.

    Try my dream: President Obama

    by MrSandman on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 05:55:46 PM PDT

  •  there's a guy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    who was interviewed on local radio, showing how he took his normal Ford Escape and increased his mileage to close to 40 MPG city. He overinflated his tires something fierce.

    Actually, while tire makers do list their preferred PSI, they build in a safety close to 20% above their rated levels. Inflating your tires 20% above the rated maximum will give you 3, even 4 miles more per gallon. Your tires can also blow up, especially on the bad roads we now face given the fact that all our money goes to pay for an occupation of a sand dune.

    I was reading about compressed gases as a fuel power source for autos. the engines are smaller, much more efficient, speeds of 60-70 MPH are easy, and with a full tank of air, ranges of 350-400 miles can be designed and achieved.

    As for hydrogen, there is one, and only one reason why Bush pushed for an H economy. the infrastructure and investment necessary for that would guarantee the need for big oil to be involved. other technologies, compressed air and other gases, can be done safely at home.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:25:21 PM PDT

    •  I do not recommend inflating tires (0+ / 0-)

      over the embossed limit from the manufacturer.  It is not worth a couple of bucks to risk your life or that of others.  If the auto manufacturer says 28 psi is recommended, and the tire manufacturer says 32 psi is OK, then I would not hesitate to inflate to 32 psi, although ride, and perhaps even control, might be compromised, but inflation to more than 32 psi is extremely risky, in my opinion.

      I would like to know more about the compressed powered engines.  I do not see how that could be, and, technically, if all they do is pass compressed gas through them, they are motors, not engines.  Engines change things on an nuclear, atomic, or molecular level into other things, where a motor merely transforms one kind of energy to another.

      I agree that hydrogen is not the answer for replacement of gasoline.  I wish that it were.  Thank you for your thoughts!  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 06:35:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since you've indicated a thirst (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    for more topics:

    1. How steel got invented.  I just read about watered steel in Neal Stephenson's Confusion.  How did they figure that out?
    1. Strength of materials --- tensile vs. fractile or whatever it's called.  Why is glass hard to stretch but easy to shatter?  Why do things change at very low temperatures?
    1. Arches.  How do they work?

    I can come up with more, if you like.... general physical science stuff, right?

    •  Leave it up to you to open up (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515

      the potential for at least three more series!  LOL!  I love the input, and will try to cover them.  Iron is special, and deserves its own diary.  Warmest regards, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:40:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh! How about the basics of electricity? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Translator

    Ohms, watts, joules.... what's a watt?

    I really have no clue here.

    •  Electricity is very much like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515

      water in a hose, but I should finish this series about matter first.  You are a valued reader, and I will give you these nuggets.

      Ohms are a measure of how much whatever you are trying to pass electricity pushes back.  The more ohms, the greater the pushback.  It is its own unit, the ohm.

      Watts are a measure of power (energy divided by time).  The standard unit is Joule/time or J/s.

      Joules, properly, Joule, is the basic unit of energy.  It is a kilogram meter squared per second squared.  The standard symbol is "J".

      I will attempt to cover this in more depth in future.  Warmest regards, and thanks for reading, and especially for commenting, Doc.

      Sometimes I feel like Robert Louis Stevenson created me. -6.25, -6.05

      by Translator on Thu Jun 26, 2008 at 07:49:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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