Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Engineering some commonsense

These days we keep hearing the phrase..."if they could put men on the moon..." Well yeah they could, now we wouldn't have a hope in hell. The guys that did that are dead or in half way houses waiting to checkout. These days the standards are just not even close to there...To use the quote from Pulp Fiction..."it aint even the same fucken sport".

Since I have some time to kill, I have been looking at proposed solutions and of course BP's brilliant capping solution. Have we really become that stupid? Really this is in commonsense territory...you know that old thing people used to talk about.

So before we continue, we can get the pissing competition out of the way. Yeah I studied bio then engineering and physics at JCU, more engineering at Monash, and finished up with mathematics and some other stuff in London. But so what, in real terms that means shit. I learnt more useful stuff with my father I think.

And one of those things is not to try and block a hose while there is stuff coming through it. Hey but we are talking an oil head at the bottom of the ocean, so it's different....No it's not. The scales have changed and that is about all.

Surely people have seen the problem of trying to connect the garden hose while the tap is running and the other end is turned off? I guess not.

So how to fix it? Well I could think of probably 10 while having my breakfast... You know using real old school engineering with some real mathematics thrown in.... So you simply attach a collar - wait the amazing genius bit - that is open. Then when the collar is attached you shut it down, because you actually thought ahead and have a valve on top right? Yeah easy.

Hey but it can't be that easy...yeah it can if your not mildly retarded.

Ok so how to attach the collar smart arse? err ok two really quick ways, no make that three...

1) Make a compression fitting, just like your garden hose fitting, remember it is open so you can slide it over ...first. Then tighten it. Hell if the tightening is a problem for the robots, you can make it self tightening in probably half a dozen different ways. This way has some benefits in that the force is evenly distributed, so you would get a better seal. Hell make the gasket with lead or something soft.

The trouble is the idiots cut the pipe too short...which is like seriously dumb, since there is less to work with. The other issue of course is since the guts have been ripped out of western manufacturing, finding a decent lathe would be a hassle. Otherwise it would have been a two day job for the guys that used to build real stuff. Think Locomotive workshops.

But the forces are incredible....yeah so incredible that first year engineering no longer applies. Ok to make this really complicated, pick a pressure and to keep it old school we can use inches....say 10k psi is coming out. The pipe is say 2' diameter roughly 144xpi ~ 450 in2 which gives a force of 10k x 450 across it...ooh ...4.5 M (forget old school unit here and too lazy to check...). Anyway the circumference of the pipe is 24xpi giving ~75in. So saying the collar is 1" high then you need a force of 60k per in of collar. Make the collar 6 inches and suddenly it drops to 10k per inch of circumference. Gee we are back to normal surface force territories... Funny how that worked out huh? We can lower that even further by using our brains, after all everyone remembers bolts work on friction right? Not clamping...Remember the Normal force thingy they talked about.

So in other words it is perfectly possible.

2) You could make a split collar to go on that would lock across the flange.

3) You could drill 4 opposite holes through the outlet and secure it that way.

4) You could just use 4 bolts even, like a washing machine coupling...although the forces there would probably be too much.

Just by way of comparison, jet engines used to be held on with 3 bolts...

The point is there are lots of engineering solutions that have been used for centuries on much bigger things...and worked. There really is nothing tricky here at all.


So really since when has shoving things in the hose ever really worked??

And being deep down in this case makes absolutely no difference, and no I am not going into hydrostatics.

On the biology, seriously nuts. It reminds me of the dude in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" who was trying to regrow his leg by sticking in a plant pot. We are at about the same level here.

Obviously from my blog you can see how much I love wildlife, but I also like to think I am practical and realistic.But seriously spraying stuff which is banned in most countries and has as one of it's core ingredients as Arsenic among other things...well how dumb do you have to be to see that is a bad idea?

But from an ecological perspective it wasn't like screwing things higher up was good enough, oh no it had to be used right deep in the guts of the ecosystem.

To explain, consider the case with no dispersant. Yes birds and coastal areas in particular would be very badly hit. But in many ways the oil would be easier to clean up, and it would be confined to certain parts of the ecosystem.

On the other hand, you use these dispersants, and things look pretty-ish. But you have now messed up the microbial ecology, wiped out the plankton, wiped out the fish and marine life...and the birds are still screwed. Hey but if you can't see it guess it's not there right.

When I see the stuff that people come up with today, I am amazed that as a species we ever got passed swinging in the trees.

Even "So long and thanks for all the fish.." No longer makes sense. You know Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy... There won't be any fish and well forget about the Dolphins.

No comments:

Post a Comment