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Volcanology vehicle

Sometimes speed isn't enough.
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Most films shot from inside vehicles during volcanic eruptions show similar things; wipers struggling to clear ash, dirt and mud from the windscreen, very poor visibility, lumps of rock banging on the bodywork. And if there's a pyroclastic flow on the way, you're in real trouble.

Strangely, even trained volcanologists seem to have these problems, arising from using off-the-forecourt conventional vehicles.

What's needed is a specially designed and adapted road (and off-road) vehicle for volcano research.

BorgCo's latest offering is just right. Based on proven military technology, the spacious interior can accommodate several scientists and their equipment. Periscopes allow safe observation and filming of the surroundings, protected from lava bombs and debris. A recirculating air system protects the occupants from poisonous or asphyxiant gasses; the engine too is provided with special filtering.

The profile of the hull is shaped so as to naturally shed falling ash, with ports for air sampling and other functions. In the event of a pyroclastic flow, the composite insulation protects all critical systems from excessive temperature rise, so the vehicle can continue to move to safety; bottled air allows the engine to run for short periods even when there is little or no ambient oxygen available.

A comprehensive communications, navigation and telemetry package is included as standard.

Both wheeled (6 x 6 or 8 x 8) and fully tracked versions will be offered.

8th of 7, Jun 02 2011

(?) It makes me think of this horrible movie http://wtf-film.com...Damnation-Alley.jpg
[Klaatu, Jun 03 2011]

[link]






       [+] This sounds like it can work, but I'm bunning this because just about 20 minutes ago I had an idea for a volcano toilet!!! (Hah) We weren't exactly on the same wave length...
xandram, Jun 02 2011
  

       please please please link to your vt idea!
pocmloc, Jun 02 2011
  

       And it has an IR vision system which can see through thick smoke. You've invented the American presidential limousine.
mouseposture, Jun 03 2011
  

       (With heavy slavic accent at the used car lot)   

       "Sure, is volcano vehicle, would I lie you? Guarantee extra safe. I know, look like '85 Volvo, but made special to drive in volcano, you drive out no problem. This paint, it not peel to 1 million degrees, have, how you say... scientific formula keep you cool inside. So cool you need heater keep you warm. Unfortunately, heater not work so I cut you deal. I even throw in volcano proof fuzzy dice hang from rear view mirror."
doctorremulac3, Jun 03 2011
  

       The engine would need a special intake filter. Hopefully better than European aircraft have.
Ling, Jun 03 2011
  

       You mean the "European" aircraft that use Pratt & Whitney and General Electric turbofans ?
8th of 7, Jun 03 2011
  

       Actually, I don't know about that. How about Briggs and Stratton? I'm referring to the ones that mostly don't speak Englische.
Ling, Jun 03 2011
  

       The problem is that visible light does not penetrate all that volcano stuff enough. What is needed is a visualization system based on something more energetic, like neutrinos. Those would cut thru the smoke like nothing, and even largish chunks would just look like semitranslucent rain. The neutrinocam would be great for prospecting as well.
bungston, Jun 03 2011
  

       What are the wheels made out of, to stop them melting?
Mrlemonjelly, Jun 03 2011
  

       Probably it just carries spares. Lots of spares.
bungston, Jun 03 2011
  

       Love it.
Mrlemonjelly, Jun 03 2011
  

       If you're not going too close in, then the wheeled option is fine; but if you're planning on driving over hot ash, then go for the tracked option.   

       Do expect high wear rates and short service intervals; ash is very abrasive.
8th of 7, Jun 03 2011
  

       Instead of fighting the heat and ash, work with it. Perhaps the vehicle could travel like a slug, on a slime trail of molten ash.
pocmloc, Jun 03 2011
  

       lava/atmosphere stirling engine.
FlyingToaster, Jun 03 2011
  

       Why not use dynamic motivators to power the wheels/tracks/bogies/whatever, linked to a great big battery charged by a turbine? That way you can run off battery power when oxygen is absent, which I would think to be more reliable and probably longer-lasting than an I-C engine sucking bottled air (especially considering the high- displacement plant needed to shift this beast would suck a helluva lot of air even at idle).   

       I also humbly suggest a small cryogenic plant or other method of artificially cooling the cabin in case thick insulation isn't enough in the middle of those pesky pyroclastic flows; I know I'm pointing out the bloody obvious, but insulation doesn't keep things cold, it just slows down the rate at which the temp changes. If exposed to superheated gasses for too long, the inside of the vehicle could still be an oven long after the outside is cool to the touch.
Alterother, Jun 03 2011
  

       //What are the wheels made out of, to stop them melting? //   

       High-density ceramic, perhaps?
Alterother, Jun 03 2011
  

       The Stryker NBCRV (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle would be ideally adapted to this, save for the tires. Even has soil-sampling equipment. Maybe a tracked vehicle like a Bradley?   

       An 80's Toyota Hilux perhaps?
RayfordSteele, Jun 04 2011
  

       That's right...Top Gear already looked into this.
Ling, Jun 04 2011
  

       Problem with pyroclastic flow, I would suggest, is less the heat (even though it could be 1000 degrees) - but the fact that it is travelling at up to 500 miles an hour (if my Uni geology is remembered correctly).
  

       Not much good being comfortable vis a vis your temperature, if you are rolling down the mountain in you vehicle at a few hundred miles an hour...
goff, Jun 04 2011
  

       Streamlining ...
8th of 7, Jun 04 2011
  

       Automatic Hovercraft Mode:   

       Auto-detect wheel melting.....In that case deploy water sprinklers, not to stop the wheels from melting, silly!   

       The water released under the vehicle will instantly vaporize (rapidly increasing volume), making this a hovercraft!
sophocles, Jun 05 2011
  
      
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