Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cooling Fountains

Fountains are a common civic decoration, in front of buildings, in parks, and in all sorts of locations because we humans just can't get enough of that flowing water. Both the visual element of water spraying into the air, and the sound it makes as it trickles back to its source evoke some very pleasant instincts for us. Unfortunately, fountains are surprisingly expensive. The water must be pushed against gravity for a surprisingly high energy cost. The water will quickly grow full of slime and clog the machines unless regular cleaning is involved, or poisonous water. However, fountains give me an interesting idea. Cars and computers are often cooled by a flowing liquid. This is an old technology. The liquid flows through the hot areas, taking heat with it. The liquid then flows through a radiator, which has a much larger surface area and can disperse far more heat. The liquid is then cool, and can be sent back to the hot areas. Hence my next idea. In my idea, a large radiator is replaced with a fountain, which spews hot water out of the ground using a pump, producing a fancy geyser. The hot water cools significantly in contact with air, until it hits the small "lake in the fountain, and is sucked back into the system to cool the machinery again. Algae and mildew can't build up in this system, as the water is routinely heated by well over 50C, and potentially up to boiling temperature. Even if it could withstand the hot end of the scale, the repeated heating and cooling would kill any living thing by thermal shock alone. The fountain is pretty, and the machine is using a house-sized piece of atmosphere as a radiator. It's sort of efficient...and artistic!

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