Saturday, January 14, 2017

Living in slow motion

The day is nearly done, and I haven't even gotten started.  Well, actually, I have been doing stuff.  It just doesn't seem like much in retrospect.

Did a little laundry and shopping today.  Came back home and listened to some music, and then played around with my still.  Just now, I made the video I promised, but I haven't run the test.  It is a "static fire test" so to speak.  A static fire test is what Spacex refers to when they light up the engines of their rocket, but don't let it launch.  In the delivery business, we would call it a "dry run".

It looks like it is nearly ready for the big time.  An actual successful test.  I would describe success as substantially clean water, with few losses, and a reasonably efficient use of energy.

But in no case would I consider actually using this device.  It was never intended to be a practical device.  It gives me something to practice with until I understand how to do this well enough to make a real device.

I'm thinking about heat sinks right now.  You need to get the water hot, then the water vapor needs to be cooled in order to get it to condense back into water.

In a still, the water gets to boiling point, becomes steam, and travels down the condensation tube.  The tube needs to be cooled down before it reaches the collection point.  Otherwise, the vapors will escape the system, and you lose water.

A heat sink will do the cooling.  In a solar still, where to put the heat sink?  You would want it to cool the glass so that the water vapor will condense on it, and travel downwards with gravity into the collection pot.  I am thinking of how to get the glass cooled down while avoiding getting in the way of the sun's light, and the water vapor.

That one is stumping me right now.


There was a short break, and now I am back.  Okay.  Here's an idea.  You need to keep the water hot, but the glass needs to be cold.  The heat sinks need to be in contact with the glass, but not the water.  The water is always transferring its heat to the glass, but you want to keep the glass from equalizing in temperature, so it needs to be cooled down.  That's where the heat sinks come into play.

The solar still design needs to somehow incorporate these ideas into a structure that can hold the water, while at the same time keeping the glass cool and letting the water stay relatively hot.

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