Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Vertical Wet Tunnel

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As you may recall, I have been looking for uses for a former driveway at the Maxwell estate. I decided, in the end, to use part of it for a trebuchet evaluation range, and the remainder for the construction of a vertical wind-tunnel (a.k.a. skydiving simulator).

Mrs. MaxwellBuchanan didn't object to the trebuchet range (as long as I don't make the same mistake I did last time), but wasn't keen on the vertical wind-tunnel. "Couldn't we have another ornamental lake with fountains?" she said. She also pointed out that skydiving simulators were extremely noisy.

I have pondered this, and fortunately have found a way to kill two birds in the bush with one stoned hand. Hence the present modest proposal.

The Vertical Wet Tunnel consists of a large room with a metal mesh floor - not unlike a conventional skydiving simulator. Into this floor are set, on a two-inch grid, a large number of nozzles, each connected to a medium-pressure water supply. When the pumps are turned on, several thousand jets of water shoot skywards (or at least ceilingwards), with a pressure somewhere between that of a garden hose and a pressure-washer.

The ceiling bears a large number of angled slats, cunningly designed to deflect the water jets sideways into a series of gutters, whence the water is recirculated to the pumping system. Likewise, any water which falls back through the floor grid is recovered and recyculated.

Joyous participants will don waterproof suits, and facemasks with wedge-shaped Plexiglass visors. They will then (in an analogous move to that used when entering a vertical wind-tunnel) pitch themselves forward over the gridded floor.

If I have forgotten to turn on the water, of course, things stop very soon after this moment.

If I have remembered, however, then the participants will find themselves buoyed on multiple jets of water, each envigorating yet painless through the waterproof suit. They will tend to float at a certain height, determined by their surface-area-to-weight ratio (and hence body position), and by the fact that the uprising water jets lose some speed as they rise, gravity being what it is. With skill, they will learn to turn, pitch, roll and generally do the sorts of things that skydivers do.

Preliminary tests involving a chihuahua and a domestic pressure- washer proved two things: (a) that these dogs are, in fact, named after the noise they make and (b) a surprising amount of lift can be generated very efficiently with a water jet (far more so than with a leaf blower).

MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2010

(?) With ceiling bears, masterbation just isn't safe anymore. http://encyclopedia...ica.com/Ceiling_Cat
[MikeD, Mar 14 2010]


       // a chihuahua and a domestic pressure- washer //   

       All very well, but add a second participant with a pressure-washer, and a badminton net, and a whole new world of enjoyment opens up ...
8th of 7, Mar 12 2010

       Here's my vision of your vision: it should be swim-on.. circular shaped in the middle lift area, but it all takes place in the center of a large circular pool (resovior) . It is not enclosed like a room, if you drift out of the lift stream then you land in the drink. The pumps and supporting equipment are configured to fill in the corners for a total footprint that is square, top them with soft mats just in case.
AutoMcDonough, Mar 12 2010

       dont cross the streams
Arcanus, Mar 12 2010

       So do I.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2010

       Ah - [FT] has indeed covered many aspects of this before (though at a lower altitude, from my reading). I will happily accept an mfd if anyone feels inclined. Otherwise, I doff my cap to the esteemed Mr. Toaster.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 12 2010

       uninclined, just noting; my lawn would require a custom (possibly magical) nozzle design to avoid some of the problems you've alleviated. I will however take a raincheck on the doff.   

       I think you shoulda kept the driveway posting for reference use. I really enjoy the picture of passers-by double-taking when they notice the craters in the asphalt, painted bullseye and littering of various pieces of cars... then triple-taking when they notice a trebuchet at the other end, silhouetted against the sky.   

       The "Door-to-door Salesmen Parking" sign might be a bit much though as possibly would the recorded "Launch!!" message from a hidden speaker which sensor detects a vehicle has slowed down a bit too much.
FlyingToaster, Mar 12 2010

       //facemasks with wedge-shaped Plexiglass visors// Distinctive-looking kit is key. Sporting equipment manufacturers may smell a new market. Have you taken out a patent?
mouseposture, Mar 13 2010

       [FT] you are a scholar and a gentleperson. [IT] We're working on the paper as soon as we finish the first draft of "Chihuahuas: unexpected ballistic properties." for Nature.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2010

       I think I saw this in a cartoon, the one where the fire hydrant beaks off, and the character is suspended atop the jet of water . . .   

       Except this would work. May I suggest making the jets near the center just a bit weaker, and maybe angle the outer jets in a bit. That would keep the victim centered a little better.
baconbrain, Mar 13 2010

       You may, though we'd have to be careful we didn't get a sort of Coriolis-bathplug-VWT-effect.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2010

       //The ceiling bears//   

MikeD, Mar 14 2010

       //uses for a former driveway at the Maxwell estate//   

       I meant to say "very large scalextric".
pertinax, Mar 14 2010

       That, pertinax, is actually not such a stupid idea....
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2010


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