Real Heroes Of Science: James Clerk Maxwell

People who watch way too much TV (like me) will certainly remember the “Real Men of Genius” commercials.  Here’s one of my personal favorites:

Local radio stations all over the country made parodies of these, as did sketch comics.  While trying to come up with something for my weekly blog, I saw that today was the anniversary of the passing of 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell.  So, if you’ll try to keep the background music from the video above playing in your head while you read this, let’s see if I can pay proper tribute:

James Clerk Maxwell…even though Albert Einstein is famous for the Special Theory of Relativity, he credited YOU for laying the groundwork.  You not only theorized the relationship between electricity, magnetism, and light, but you also proved it mathematically…so Albert didn’t have to.  He said your work was “the most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton.”

Singer: Albert Einstein pretty much called you an “Einstein” the way we call geniuses “Einsteins.”

Professor Maxwell…you devoted your life to learning.  About EVERYTHING.  As if solving Einstein’s problem with the Theory of Relativity (40 years before he knew he had a problem with it) wasn’t enough, you decided to find out what the rings of Saturn were made of.  Over 100 years before we could send the Voyager spacecraft to find out for sure.  And you were right.

Then you discovered how to take color photographs by experimenting with light filters.

Singer: Not only did you tell us what Saturn’s rings were made of, we have color photographs of them thanks to you….

James Clerk Maxwell…your theory that a “friendly little demon” could somehow separate gases into hot and cold flows, while unproven in your lifetime, did actually come to fruition by the development of the Vortex Tube.  Which does just that.

Singer: That’s right, I just drew a straight line from Maxwell’s Demon to EXAIR’s Vortex Tube & Spot Cooling Products!

So here’s to you, James Clerk Maxwell…may we continue to recognize your brilliance, and be inspired by your drive to push forward in scientific developments.

Singer (building to final crescendo): James Clerk Maxwell, a Real Hero Of Sci-i-i-i-i-ence!

If you’d like to hear the musical parts of this actually get sung, or if you’d like to find out more about Vortex Tube products and their uses (it might be best to stick with that second part actually,) give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Intelligent Compressed Air: Deliquescent Dryers – What are They and How do They Work?

EXAIR has written blogs about the different types of dryers that are used to remove liquid from compressed air systems. In this blog, I will be discussing the deliquescent dryer. This dryer falls under the desiccant dryer category, and unlike the regenerative cousins, it is the least commonly used type of dryer. The regenerative desiccant dryers use a medium that will adsorb the water vapor, and the deliquescent dryers use a hygroscopic material that will absorb the water vapor. This salt-like medium has a strong affinity for water, and it comes in a tablet or briquette form. Placed inside a single unit pressure vessel, the “wet” compressed air passes through the bed to become dry. The size of the pressure vessel is determined by the compressed air usage which allows for the proper amount of contact time with the hygroscopic bed. Generally, the dew point will be between 20 to 50 deg. F (11 – 28 deg. C) less than the compressed air inlet temperature. Unlike most dryers, the dew point after deliquescent dryers will vary with the inlet air temperatures.

Vessel Design

The design of vessel is very important for the function of a deliquescent dryer. A grate is required to hold the medium off the bottom. The compressed air will flow from the bottom, up through the bed, and out from the top. The predetermined space between the bed and the bottom of the vessel is used for the liquid that is generated. When “wet” compressed air passes through the bed, the hygroscopic material will absorb the water and change the tablets from a solid into a liquid. Deliquescent dryers got the name from the definition of the verb, “deliquesce” which is “becomes liquid by absorbing moisture from the air”. Once the material is turned into a liquid, it cannot be regenerated. The liquid must be discarded periodically from the vessel and new solid material must be added. With the single tower design, the deliquescent dryers are relatively inexpensive.

Some advantages in using the deliquescent dryers are that they do not require any electricity or have any moving parts. So, they can be used in remote locations, rugged areas, or hazardous locations. They are commonly used to reduce the dew point in compressed air, natural gas, landfill gas and biogas systems. Without the ability for regeneration, no additional compressed air will be lost or used. In comparing the power requirement to other compressed air dryers, the deliquescent dryers have the lowest power requirement at 0.2Kw/100 cfm of air. (This energy rating is only due to the additional power required for the air compressor to overcome the pressure drop in the dryer).

Some disadvantages in using the deliquescent dryers is that the hygroscopic material degrades. The deliquesced liquid does have to be drained and disposed, and new material does have to be added. Even though they do not have any moving parts, they still require periodic maintenance. The deliquescent material can be corrosive. So, after-filters are required to capture any liquid or dust material that may carry over and damage downstream piping and pneumatic components. Also, the variation in the dew point suppression can limit locations and areas where it can be used.

If you have questions about getting the most from your compressed air system, or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We would be happy to hear from you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photos:  used from Compressed Air Challenge Handbook

Labor Day 2017

What does Labor Day mean to you? Summer’s last hurrah? An extra day to sleep in, extend a weekend trip, or (ugh) tackle a home improvement project? Something else entirely, or all of the above? I neither expect, nor want, this to change any plans or mindset, but as U.S. federal holidays go, I find the history and meaning of Labor Day to be fascinating.

Maybe not as fascinating as Mister Spock preparing to drop the bass, but still pretty fascinating.

1777 – The first unions were organized in the United States by printers, carpenters and shoemakers, seeking better wages and shorter hours.

1825 – The United Tailoresses of New York, the first all-women’s union, is formed in New York City.

1827 – The Mechanics Union of Trade Associations forms in Philadelphia to call for a standardized 10-hour workday.

1840 – President Martin Van Buren establishes a 10-hour workday for federal workers.

1868 – The first federal 8-hour labor law is passed, but only applies to a small group of federal workers.

1885-1886 – Several municipalities around the United States declare Labor Day ordinances – a day of rest to recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers.

1887 – Oregon passes the first state-wide Labor Day observance law.  Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York follow suit this same year.

1891 – Labor Day is established as a national holiday by the Congress of the United States.

I don’t have the space (or the will) to get in to a detailed discourse on the highs (and lows) of the achievements (and setbacks) of the American working class through the 20th Century.  If I did, I’d choose to focus on the positive.  Almost everyone I know who’s in the American work force – family, friends, neighbors, and especially my co-workers at EXAIR – enjoys a safe work environment, fair wages & benefits, and opportunities unavailable anywhere else in the world.  So, Monday, I’ll take the day off that our forebears fought and earned for us.

If you’d like to talk about a compressed air product application, give me a call.  On Tuesday.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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DJ Spock photo courtesy of geraldfordCreative Commons License

Crescent Hammers, Phillips Head Punches, and Other Cautionary Tales

I don’t want to sound “preachy,” but I’m a stickler for using the right tool for the job. Case in point: just the other day, I noticed (OK; my wife told me about) a loose drawer handle. I went to my toolbox in the garage to get a flat-head screwdriver, even though the drawer in question had a selection of butter knives, any one of which could have been used to tighten that screw.

I can trace this, without doubt or hesitation, to my service in the US Navy, under the direction of Senior Chief Cooper.  Proper tool selection & use was VERY important to him.  He stressed the issues of safety, quality, and performance, but if that didn’t work, he’d make his point with an offer to demonstrate the use of a specific tool (a ball peen hammer) on a sensitive part of your anatomy (it’s exactly the part you’re thinking of.)  At that point, it would have been unwise (and unsafe) to question whether that was a proper use of the tool or not.

Only one of these is a hammer………………..….only one of these is a punch………………..…..only one of these is a chisel.
Choose wisely.

Likewise, there are safety, quality, and performance issues associated with compressed air blow offs.  At EXAIR, we’re ALL sticklers about this, and we get calls all the time to discuss ways to get more out of compressed air systems by using the right products.  Here’s a “textbook” example:

A hose manufacturer contacted me to find out more about our Air Wipes, and how they might be a better fit for their various cleaning & drying applications (spoiler alert: they are.)  The blow offs they were using were made of modular hose, designed (and very successfully used) for coolant spraying in machine tools.

Only one of these is a compressed air blow off. Again…choose wisely.

The selection process was two-fold: they purchased one Model 2401 1″ Super Air Wipe to verify performance, and they sent in some of their modular hose assemblies for Efficiency Lab testing.  The first part was just as important as the second because, no matter how much air they were going to save (another spoiler alert: it was significant,) it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t get the job done.  At the station shown above, the Super Air Wipe resulted in superior performance, and a compressed air cost savings of over $400.00 annually.  For that one station.  Based on that, they outfitted TWENTY FIVE stations with engineered product sized for their different hoses, using our Model 2400 (1/2″), 2401 (1″), 2402 (2″) and 2403 (3″) Super Air Wipes.

If you’d like to find out how using the right product for the job can help your operation, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Memorial Day 2017

We’re in the home stretch now…mere hours away from Memorial Day weekend, or, as I call it, the Official Start Of Summer™.  EXAIR Corporation will be closed on Monday for this occasion. To make good use of this time off, I have three cookouts planned: one at the neighbors’, one at the in-laws’, and the third is self-inflicted.

As much as I like my neighbors and my in-laws (really,) I’m expecting that third one to be my favorite, even considering that I’m the one that has to clean up after it. Why, you may ask? Because we’re going to make s’mores. If you don’t know what s’mores are, I have two thoughts: 1) You’re killing me, and 2) Watch this RIGHT NOW (it’ll make you better understand my first thought too):

Whatever our plans, Monday culminates the celebration of this long weekend…Memorial Day. In the midst of our celebration and activities (or lack thereof – I’m all for some relaxation too,) I encourage you, dear reader, to remember the reason that this day was consecrated.

It was thirteen years ago last month that my wife called me at work to tell me the news that our neighbor’s son had been captured by hostile forces in Iraq.  By the time I got home, yellow ribbons were everywhere…trees, mailboxes, front doors, windows…all in support and hope for Matt Maupin.

Four years later was when the next Memorial Day took on an even more united meaning for our small town, when Matt’s family got the word that he had, in fact, been killed in service of his country.  I still see his father around town, and the grief has spurred determination to make something greater come from the remembrance of his son’s sacrifice.   The Yellow Ribbon Support Center:

*Sends care packages to military individuals serving in harm’s way.

*Hosts an annual “Let Us Never Forget” Scholarship dinner to honor local fallen heroes.  Over half a million dollars worth of scholarships have been awarded to date in remembrance & honor.

*Sends & supports speakers at schools, public events, gatherings, etc. to share the stories of our troops’ heroism.

The Yellow Ribbon Support Center is one of many organizations that could use your help, if you’re so inclined to find one, wherever you may be.  I still think, too, that every one of our fallen heroes, and their families, will want you to have an enjoyable holiday weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Social Media Finds Lost Dogs, Helps Save Compressed Air

Lost Dog – Her name is Molly

 

The versatility of  social media is one of its greatest assets. If you have an interest in something you can most likely discover others with the same interests on one of the social media platforms. From Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube to Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram and Reddit – you will be hard pressed to NOT find something you are looking for.

The other day, we lost our dog, and it was a traumatic experience for us.  She saw some deer in the backyard; and in her crazed state, she knocked down the pet gate.  Molly went after the deer into the woods behind our place.  Being that it was raining and approaching the evening hour, I mentioned that when she gets done hunting, she will come back home.  We placed her bed and food onto the porch for when she returned.

The next day, Molly was not on the porch.  We were disheartened.  Being that I am a bit “old” school, we decided to print some flyers with Molly’s picture.  After I returned from work, we started in my neighborhood and worked our way out.  We drove to all the neighbors to see if they had seen her, and we stapled the flyers to telephone poles and community boards.  We were going at it for hours, and it seemed to be getting hopeless.  (Now, I would not have written this blog if it had a sad ending.)

As we continued to make our journey, I went up to a house and knocked on their door.  A gentleman answered, and I gave him the story of how our dog got out of her pen.  As I was still speaking, my significant other rolled down her window and shouted to me that she found Molly.  I was a little confused as I headed back to the vehicle.  She told me that a picture of Molly was on her Facebook.  (Of course Molly was making herself right at home as the picture showed her laying on a couch).  We were extremely happy that we had finally found her.  Apparently, a lady that found Molly posted her picture, and tagged her friends.  Her friends then sent it out to their friends, and before you knew it, we had her picture on Facebook.  With a friend request, we were able to receive her location and start our way to pick her up.  Believe it or not, Molly was over 2 miles away from our house.

Being curious, I looked at the timeline of the post.  I noticed that she posted the picture at 6:44 p.m., and we were looking at Molly at 7:28 p.m. that same day.  This was definitely much quicker and easier than hanging flyers and knocking on doors.  I was amazed at how fast and simple that this social networking reunited us with Molly.

This got me thinking about social media.  Facebook is the largest social network with almost 2 billion users throughout the world.  In looking at the nature of Facebook, it is more than reuniting with friends or finding lost dogs.  It also unites companies.  EXAIR has a Facebook page in which we post videos, photos, and blogs of compressed air solutions.  We can show you how to save money by using less compressed air with our products and how to solve every day problems with your compressed air system.  We would love to have you as a friend at www.facebook.com/exair.  We may not be able to find your dog, but we sure can share some stories, solve compressed air problems, and become good friends.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

 

Refocusing Life with Mud Pit Burpees

This past weekend I decided it was a great idea to sign up for another event through GoRuck.  In case you aren’t familiar with GoRuck they were founded by a retired Green Beret who wanted a way to test the gear he was making and selling.  These events have since expanded to a very extensive team building and fitness event.   The event this past weekend was located in Columbus, OH and was hosted by four Cadre, each from a different branch of military Special Ops.   It is truly amazing what each cadre brought to the table as they shared a sliver of their experiences and expertise.

The event was, so far, the hardest physical event I have done in my life.   The outcome and what I carried with me from the event was worth every bit of the pain.   While most that are on the outside looking in may think this is purely a physical exercise, it is much more than that.   These events not only help you to test yourself physically but mentally as well.  They are designed to get everyone out of their comfort zone and  teach each participant that while one person may be able to complete all the tasks, it only matters if everyone completes them together.  So they also teach an incredible amount of team building.

The event I took part in I only knew one other person there, I came away knowing roughly 32 people and having a better understanding of what it takes to make sure everyone has the same goal in their mind and that everyone knows what needs to be done to get to that goal.

The best part of all is this event was only the LIGHT version.  It was like the sampler of what their main events are.   The biggest reward of everything that happened that day is the fact that there were 72 people from all walks of life that got together in a park and everyone walked away a better person.  GoRuck prides itself in building better people and so far, I haven’t seen anything but 100% delivery on that.

Whether, you are doing a burpee in a mud pit.  (see below)

Mud Burpee
Nothing better than a mud pit Burpee – I wonder if I could convince my co-workers to join in?

Or trying to make it through a seemingly endless leg lift with a ruck on,  the only thing you have to worry about is making sure that you keep the person next to you going because they will in turn do the same.   You’ll be impressed with what you can do when you get rid of the “can’t and won’t” from your vocabulary and learn to ask for help, you can and will achieve the impossible.

ABSOC Light Columbus.jpg
I’m the guy the cadre is walking right behind.  I promise my feet are 6″ off the ground and my legs are straight.

As for me, an event like this allows me to refocus and makes me see the forest through the trees of day to day life.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager / GoRuck “Weirdo”
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF