Thursday, June 16, 2011

Continuous flow coffee computer

Electronics make a lot of heat, because heat is entropic energy. The act of flipping the state of electronics irreversibly converts some of the electrical energy powering the chip into heat. This heat then has to be carried away. This entropy can be converted to good use.

One of the most treasured machines at my company is the coffee maker. The company has to keep going at all times, 24/7, and an energized worker is a not sucking at his job worker, usually. The coffee maker deliberately converts electricity to heat, which it applies to water, and runs over ground coffee beans to produce coffee. This is caught in thermal jars so that the workers can enjoy it hours later, still hot. I try and keep this making coffee at all times, as it makes my surlier coworkers far more pleasant to be around.

This also gave me an idea of an interesting cooling system. Start with a water cooled computer, except instead of water, cool it with industrial refrigerant. This is piped to the chamber below, where it is intensely compressed, and water is continuously poured over it from a faucet supply. This water is quickly boiled from the heat, and compressed, slightly below room temperature refrigerant is brought back to the computer. Just before it hits the electronics, the refrigerant goes through an expansion valve. This makes it intensely cold, and better suited to take the heat off the computer components. So far, this is essentially a refrigerator.

Now with the hot water, we pump this up out of the chamber, and over to another area, in which there is a "switch" pipe that allows it to fall into one of four carafe's, each of which below contains a thermal jar. A scale below the thermal jar determines how full the jar is, and when the jar is full, the system instantly switches to the next carafe over. Full jars should be taken away (and distributed with cups, creamer, and sugar) with an empty jar put in its place. Also, the carafe will need fresh grounds and filter on a periodic basis. This would occur in two hour cycles, and could quickly be changed to capacity in a five minute break.

Assuming that this system is kept supplied, it would produce coffee continuously, which would clearly be a good thing for my company, which is constantly growing and getting thirstier for coffee by the day.

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