The Anonymous Widower

Is Cambridge Going To Save The World From Global Warming?

Watch this video!

And then visit Superdielectrics web site.

It does appear to be a  bunch of mad scientists in Cambridge, who’ve come up with the bizarre idea of using the material in soft contact lenses as an energy storage medium.

Link Up With Rolls-Royce

And then there’s this press release on the Rolls-Royce-Royce web site, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Links Up With UK-based Superdielectrics To Explore Potential Of Very High Energy Storage Technology.

Conclusion

I have been observing technology since the 1960s.

This is either one of those scientific curiosities , like cold fusion, that appear from time-to-time and then disappear into the scientific archives or a game-changer

I suspect we’ll know in a couple of years.

But even if it is isn’t the solution to affordable and massive energy storage,, that will save the world, I believe that one of the teams of men and women in white coats, somewhere in the world will crack the problem.

 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

More About Steamology Motion

In Grants To Support Low-Carbon Technology Demonstrators, I talked about a company called Steamology, who were given a grant by the Department for Transport to develop a method of converting hydrogen into energy.

The company is called Steamology Motion and in Issue 872 of Rail Magazine more details are given in an article, which is entitled DFT Hands Out £350,000 Each To Five Rail Green Schemes.

This is said in the article.

Steamology Motion, the final recipient, aims to create a new zero-emmissions power train for a Vivarail Class 230 train. The W2W system generates steam from compressed hydrogen and oxygen stored in tanks. The steam then drives a turbine to generate electricity.

The concept is aimed at being a ‘range extender’ able to charge onboard battery packs.

My mathematical modelling skills for this type of system have never been strong, but I’m sure that others will know how much hydrogen and oxygen are needed to charge a 200 kWh battery.

  • A quick search of the Internet reveals that small steam turbines could be available
  • I very much suspect, that as the system is a ‘range extender’, rather than a power unit to take the train hundreds of miles, that the physical size of the gas tanks will be smaller than those proposed by Alston for their hydrogen conversion of a Class 321 train.

I also don’t think that the DfT would have given £350,000 to the company, if the the physics and the mathematics weren’t credible.

Conclusion

If this technology is successful, I suspect it could have other applications.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Physics

On the One Show on BBC television, yesterday there was a report about a man called Ian Tansley, who has invented a vaccine fridge for use in places like Africa, where the electricity is not reliable.

This Wikipedia entry for Sure Chill Technology describes the technology and this report on the BBC, describes how the invention has been backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physics to many is a dull subject at school, but to me, it’s the key to so many interesting inventions and ideas that will shape our lives in a better way.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Strange Fog

On Monday night, it was hot in the house and I was listening to the radio and typing up a few things for my blog.

The window was open for fresh air and as I often am, I was just wearing a pair of small black briefs for comfort, modesty and to keep cool.

Id been to the vigil by Tower Bridge and I’d had rather a nice ready meal from Marks and Spencer for supper.

I was also drinking heavily, but it was only endless mugs of tea!

So I laid down on the Chinese carpet on the floor and must have dosed off for half-an-hour.

When I awoke and stood up, I found that I couldn’t see very well.

I was worried at first, but after going into my bedroom to the toilet, I found I could see alright in the other room.

I then thought that the living room must be full of smoke or steam like you’d get if you left a saucepan of water on a lighted stove.

But the kettle and stove were cold, all taps in the house were switched off and there was no obvious source of the fog.

I then weighed myself, as I often do before I go to bed and found that I lost a kilo since Sunday night, despite eating well and drinking a lot.

And then it dawned what the fog was.

The temperature and humidity in the room had been such, that it had drawn the water through my skin and I was looking through a fog of my own perspiration.

I should say, that regularly, I lose a kilo overnight.

All very strange, but totally explained by the laws of physics and my extraordinary skin, which baffles medics, as if say they inject me or take blood, I don’t bleed afterwards and don’t need a plaster, despite being on Warfarin.

 

 

June 7, 2017 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

I don’t know all the masses and speeds, but imagine if an Aventra with an IPEMU capability ran at high speed down an electrified main line and then with its on-board energy storage full to brimming, turned on to line with a reasonably high speed, where it might make a number of calls before returning.

A typical line could be London to Norwich via Cambridge, along the Breckland Line, which is not electrified from Ely to Trowse Junction south of Norwich. Parts have a 90 mph speed limit and I’m sure the speeds could be improved.

The train would need to use the energy storage, but this storage would be partially recharged every time the train stopped, by the regenerative braking of the train.

An interesting fact, is that the kinetic energy of a train is given by half the mass times the square of the speed. So if the train leaves the electrified section, as fast as is reasonably possible, it is carrying extra energy.

Because of the regenerative braking of Aventras and for that matter, Electrostars and some other trains. some of this energy can be recovered and stored in the on-board energy stoppage of an IPEMU, every time the train stops at a station

Intuition and many years of doing this sort of dynamic simulation, tells me, that the faster the train goes at the start, lengthens the range if on-board energy storage is available.

It is worth noting the energy levels involved. If you take the energy of a train travelling at 40 mph as one, the energy of a train travelling at 60 mph is 2.25 times as much and one travelling at 125 mph, a massive 9.76 times.

I think that other factors will also help.

  • A track built for speed.
  • Modern signalling.
  • An efficient train.
  • Low dwell-times in stops.
  • Advanced driving aids.
  • Good driving.

I suspect that Network Rail and Bombardier are doing extensive simulations of possible routes for trains with an IPEMU capability.

These calculations will probably show some routes are more suitable than others.

A route that could might be ideal, would be a branch where the line speed was high to a single station, so that by the use of the regenerative braking, the train could start the return journey with a high level of energy in the storage.

London to Norwich via Cambridge, is not a line to a single station, but both ends are electrified, so the trains will start the journey with full storage, probably losing a proportion of the energy at each stop.

I’d love to be doing those simulations. But it’s all physics that Isaac Newton would have understood.

 

 

April 23, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Why Are Some Rails Painted White And What Is Saggy Wire Syndrome?

After reading this article on the Rail Engineer web site, I did think about calling this article something like – Who’d Be A Rail Engineer?

But I just had to include Saggy Wire Syndrome.

The article is a technical article about how using steel wheels on steel rails can be a nightmare for the railways and their engineers in hot weather.

When I was a child, the rails had a length of sixty feet and they were separated by a small expansion gap and connected by fishplates. This gave the clickety-clack. Now rails are continuous for several kilometres to give a smooth ride, so occasionally they buckle. To mitigate the problem rails are made pre-stressed to their length at 27°C, so the problems kick in, when the temperature of the track gets above that temperature.

As switches (points) and crossings are particularly vulnerable in hot weather, they are often painted white in the UK, to reflect the heat.

It’s funny, but after having come across Europe through Poland, Germany and Belgium, I can’t actually remember seeing any rails painted white on my journey. Although, there was no clickety-clack indicating jointed rails. Next time, I go to Germany or Poland I must look.

So what is saggy wire syndrome?

This is where the overhead electric wire stretches in the heat and sags, because the tensioning mechanism can’t cope.

The article finishes with this paragraph.

Summer is a real problem.  Roll on winter, when the rails shrink as they get cold and eventually break, earthworks get soggy causing uneven track surfaces, and S&C gets flooded and won’t work.

Who’d be a rail engineer?

All passengers should read the article!

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Using The Strange Property Of Water To Advantage

Most people, except perhaps those, who live in hot climates, know from their personal experience that ice floats on water. But most people don’t know that water is at its densest at 4°C. So water at this temperature sinks, but it rises at all others.

I once heard somebody use the existence of this property as a reason why God exists. He argued that if it didn’t, then life would have been impossible in water. It was all a bit contrived, but it is still as a strange property.

This morning, I was listening to Wake Up To Money, when a company called SureChill was mentioned. So I looked them up and found that they are using this property to create a new type of refrigerator. This page explains it all. This section describes the solution.

Sure Chill is a brand new kind of cooling system. It doesn’t need a constant power source. In an on-grid situation with intermittent power, it works perfectly well. In an off-grid situation, where a solar panel may be used, a Sure Chill powered refrigerator doesn’t even need a rechargeable battery. It shouldn’t work but it does. And it works beautifully.

Water surrounds a Sure Chill refrigeration compartment. When it has power, the water cools and forms ice above the compartment leaving only water at four degrees cooling the contents. When the power is switched off, the water warms and rises while the ice begins to melt, keeping only four-degree water cooling the contents of the compartment. So it has its own internal and entirely natural energy store that maintains a completely steady temperature. The system can operate like this, without power, for days and weeks.

People think physics is boring. Outside of Metier, I’ve done well in my career and made quite a bit of money by understanding the laws of physics that govern our lives.

My surprise at this idea, is that the technique could have been implemented in a refrigeration system decades ago. Artificial refrigeration was first performed by William Cullen in 1755. My bible; Nelkon amd Parker says that the maximum density of water was first measured by Thomas Charles Hope in 1804.

That is a long time from experimental proof to reality!

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Design, World | , , , | 2 Comments

How Much Water Vapour Is In A Cubic Metre Of Air at A Given Temperature And Relative Humidity?

I needed to know this as if I knew the temperature and relative humidity in my bedroom, when I went to bed and got up, I could work out how much water vapour had transferred to or from the air during my sleep.

One of my friends at school is an expert on these sort of calculations for industrial clients.

He came round on Friday night and we discussed it through, but I don’t think I got more than a basic grasp.

The reason is that he works from charts, whereas all my working life, I’ve started with proven formulae and worked everything out from first principles. But then I trained as a Control Engineer.

A problem I had with the psychometric charts he uses, is that they are all in a measurement system, that is totally foreign to me – Imperial. This is because most of the publishers are across the pond and they still use units, I last used in my early teens. When I went to work at ICI in the late sixties, the company had metricated in 1955 or so.

At least after our meeting and discussion, I now know what I’m searching for.

I finally found this web page, which gives a table of saturated vapour density for water in air. Although, it’s an American web site, at least it gives this in gm/cu. m.

The web page gives the SVP in gm/cu. m. at various temperatures

  • 0°C – 4.85
  • 10°C – 9.4
  • 15°C – 12.83
  • 20°C – 17.3
  • 25°C – 23
  • 30°C – 30.4
  • 37°C – 44
  • 40°C – 51.1

As an illustration, suppose you have a temperature of 25°C and a relative humidity of 50%. I measure it on my Maplin meter.

Maplin Hygro-Thermometer

Maplin Hygro-Thermometer

At that temperature a cubic metre of water can hold 23 grams of water. But as the relative humidity is 50%, it is actually only holding 11.5 grams of water. As my bedroom is about five metres square and two and a half metres high, that means the room contains over 719 grams of water.

Now look at 30°C and the same relative humidity of 50%.

The same calculation gives 950 grams of water in the room.

So if with the central heating, the electric blanket and the fact that each person probably is equivalent to a one bar electric fire, your bedroom, about the same size as mine, goes from say 25°C to 30°C, the air will need another 230 grams of water to be in equilibrium, or in layman’s terms, happy with how it relates to everything.

So from where does the air get this water it needs?

You!

No wonder a lot of people go to bed with a night bucket, so they can replenish the fluid they’ve lost to the air.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Robert Hooke Biodiversity Bell

I passed this work by St. Paul’s Cathedral.

It is mentioned on many web sites, but it doesn’t seem to have a serious entry on the web. This blog gives a good explanation.

To me Robert Hooke is best known for Hooke’s Law, one of the basic laws of physics, that anybody who studied that subject will probably know. But Hooke did a lot more than find the law that bears his name.

He is one of those amazing characters thsat populate the history of science.

June 19, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Lighting The Way Affordably

I have dabbled in the past with photoluminescence and C and myself were once enchanted by the starry ceilings of the Hotel Windsor in Nice, but up to now most of the applications have been small.

So I commend Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s plans to use the phenomenon to light up the path in William Parnell Park, as is reported here in the Evening Standard.

There are lots of places, where the proiperty of photoluminesence can be successfully used, although safety applications as detailed here predominate.

We may giggle at the idea now, but in a few years time, this type of lighting, will be used all over the place.

If you’d like to put stars on a child’s bedroom or something similar, there is this UK manufacturer in Bury.

February 20, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment