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First, for reasons that may or may not become clear, the results
a few kitchen-counter experiments:
1) CA (cyanoacrylate) glue, better known as super glue or crazy
glue, sets and hardens when exposed to moisture. Usually
atmospheric moisture is enough, but for a strong bond you can
one of the contact surfaces. If you squirt CA glue into a
glass of water, it will immediately harden into an interesting
squiggly shape. My tests have shown that it will harden just as
readily in saline, which I figured would be the case since it
with exposure to blood and is great for closing wounds.
2) A simple electrode powered by a AA battery will attract not
floating plastic particles (simulated in my experiment using
of styrofoam, chopped-up model sprue, and water filter beads)
also, surprisingly, 'dissolved polymers' (simulated using the
hardening agent from a tube of 2-part epoxy).
3) CA glue is not rhinoceros-compatible.
4) CA glue injected into water in an aluminium ice-cube tray
hardens too fast to adhere to the metal surface, and thus can be
An array of three ships steam against the current of an oceanic
Gyre (see <link>); two ocean-going tugs, running maybe 6 miles
abreast, tow floating booms that trail back in a huge V to a
open-bowed barge. Suspended from the booms are 0.25mm mesh
filters and a series of electrodes that serve not only to attract
floating particles but also to deter sea creatures (perhaps
supplemented by bio-degradable chemical deterrants; propane
cannons will be used to scare off curious albatrosses). The booms
thus collect and funnel wide swaths of garbage into the path of
barge, which sucks the polluted waters into, for a lack of a
description, a giant aluminium ice-cube tray. The sludge is then
further filtered until all but a little of the water is gone. When
tray is full, steel pad-eyes are lowered into each well (for ease of
handling later on) and the CA is injected, making big cubes of
trapped plastic debris and (now encapsulated) dissolved goo.
These are off-loaded
lighters which transport them to the nearest recycling-plant-
adjacent port, where the reclaimed garbage is shredded,
separated, and melted down to be made into baby bottles and
Once the system is proven, huge fleets of Gyre Gluers will trawl
polluted waters of the world, slowly cleaning up the mess and
sending home valuable reclaimed materials which can be made
vital consumer products, used, and tossed back into the ocean.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
It's not the only one, either. [Alterother, Feb 22 2012]
||Have a bun. I promise I didn't put super glue in it.
||I've been trying to think of a gyre-cleaning idea for a while. The main problem is that although there is a huge mass of waste, it is spread over an even hugerer area, so grabbing random numbers out of the air, you'd use a litre of boat diesel to recover a gram of plastic.
||Also, can plastic be used after it is part of a superglue block? I'm pretty sure that most of the plastic in the gyre is so photo-degraded and chemically altered that burning is the best way to get rid of it.
||Where do you put the rhinoceros? They don't swim as gracefully as hippos, do they? No matter! [+]
||Remind me never to buy cheap 'earth-friendly' baby bottles.
||I'm aware that this is not an energy-efficient solution, nor
will all of the material recovered be usable, but something
is better than nothing, which is about what we have right
now. Even burning the waste plastic can reclaim a little
energy from it, even if it's just a fraction of that used to
collect it. And yes, captured plastics can be removed from
the CA, either by heating until the hardened glue becomes
brittle or by using acetone to weaken the bond.
||[Grog], the rhinoceros remains on land, serving the
operation in a supervisory role. Extensive tests conducted
at the Heathen Institute for Inadvisably Applied Science
and Post-Modern Flentology have conclusively shown that
the rhinoceros is not a seafaring creature, nor does it want
||//the rhinoceros is not a seafaring creature, nor does it want to be.//
||I know the feeling. I was not made to be in that much water either, nor do I want to be. If I were meant to be in water deeper than I am tall, I would have come equipped with scales and a vent.