Achoo!

Sorry.  Took a look in here and the dust just flew.  whew.

OK, let’s see if I can’t get this thing cranking along again.  I’ll start with my employment status – still searching.  sigh.  ’nuff said there.

My circumstances have sort of unbalanced everyone in the family.  One of the unexpected problems was with my daughter.  She’s gotten her bump of curiosity armored because “exposing it hurts.”  It’s had some effect on her work at school – anything she does she does well, but she’s sucking at self-motivation and imagination right now.  We – she and I – had a long conversation the other day, and we’re going to try to do something about it.  I’ll drip pieces here as they happen, but anyone wanting to hold their breath shouldn’t.  We’re not going to get heavily into it all until second semester here.  There’s this class – I see I’ve mentioned it before – that is eating up far too much of her time for what she gets out of it.  Still, we are starting part of the mental exercises.

We’re going to study Boom.  Explosives and explosions, theory and practice.  Class one turns out to have been deceptively simple.  “What is an explosion?”  See, it turns out that there are a host of definitions out there, none of which I have found to be definitive.  Some definitions require heat. Others mention physical explosions.  A few say a shock wave is required.  The consistent element is that it is a rapid release of energy. (Some insist on kinetic energy, at which point I have to ask if a nuclear explosion is kinetic or if that definition is also flawed.)  I like that, but still found myself struggling with questions the two of us asked. the most critical, I think is: how rapid is rapid?

I suspect we’ll be returning to this definition several times over the next few months.  We’re going to continue with the rest of the study knowing that we may be refining the definition. In the meantime and for those two or three reading with occasional interest, the general outline of the next few classes:

2) What is a “safe” range?  (In other words what mechanical and procedural things will we require for when we actually make some boom.)

3) How will we measure the explosions?  This, I’ve already discovered, is a bone of contention among folk who do explosives already.  They tend to assume a definition that excludes something generally considered an explosion.  They also make assumptions.  I really like impulse as the critical element but already see a flaw or two there.  Still it’s probably where we’ll go.  Unanswered in my mind are questions related to mechanical explosions.  As in: if I make a bleach bomb, does the size and strength of the container matter/count for measurement of an explosion?  For our purposes, it’ll depend on what the kid and I discuss and determine.

aside about bleach bomb – yes, I know the danger.  The normal result of that sort of bomb is an uncontrolled mix of three outcomes: free chlorine (Cl2), Nitrogen TriChloride (NCl3), and Hydrazine (N2H4).  Depending on our final range conditions I may not make one of those.  hmmm – not to mention the means of combining in controlled fashion so as to be AWAY when the blast occurs, and ensuring the blast is even, and… On the other hand, this is exactly the sort of thing that encourages engineering.  “OK, science says these will happen. How do I most efficiently ensure xxxx? (preferably with efficiency including safety)”

Now to see if I can get this written more than once every couple of months or so.  Need to remember a dust cloth next time, too…

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4 thoughts on “Achoo!

  1. Definitly Mythbusters. The entire premise of that show is just an excuse to make things explode. Just take away all the extra drama, the actual myth part, and you’ve got science and explosions – which sounds like what’s going on at your house. Cool.

    My dad never let me explode anything – he only let me take apart things that were already broken.

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