November: Dave

Dave, our token new-comer for November, gave a fantastic first-time report displaying the effects of a polymer solution in dirty water.  Now before I share Dave’s report ala “the telephone game,” let me say that Dave is an engineer.  Your friendly author here is not an engineer.  That said…

Dave brought our attention into the kitchen, where he began to explain his line of work.  I am a little unclear what he does, but I know that the process of his work involves a lot of water running over a lot of dirt and rocks and earth.  When this mysterious process is complete, they are left with clean rocks and dirty water.  Really dirty water.  Dave brought in a clear gallon jug to show us just how dirty.

Back in the “olden days,” there was no knowledge and certainly no legal restrictions to curb the effects of countless gallons of dirty water poured downstream, or in the odd instance, down the road.  Today, engineers like David are both knowledgeable of these effects and naturally, obedient to the legal restrictions put into place.

Now what’s that you say?  If only the water could be made clean again it could easily be reintroduced in a law-abiding way?  I’m glad you brought that up.  Welcome, the polymer!  From what I understand, a polymer is to water what Pac-Mac is to those little “power pellets.”  (Confused? Check out this 2 minute video.)

Dave had with him a container with three large, clear cylinders filled with yucky, sediment-filled water.  The container had a well-sealed lid which enabled him to shake the cylinders and prove how filthy the water was.   Then, using an eye-dropper, Dave put the polymer into each cylinder.  The first cylinder had a tiny amount, the middle cylinder a moderate amount, and the last cylinder contained the largest amount of polymer.  Then we watched.  Within moments the sediment in the third cylinder had fallen to the bottom.  All three acted in accordance with the polymer, but naturally, the one with the greatest concentration was most impressive.  In the end, the third not only acted the quickest in pushing the sediment to the bottom, but even the sediment itself was quite compact–demonstrating the lack of moisture within.  When Dave does this on a large-scale they are no longer left with the useless and obscene amount of dirty water, but instead with a lot of clean water and a lot of mud.   (This is good.)

Unfortunately for Dave, it is hard to imagine how he will top this next month.  (Take that as a challenge, Dave, because it is.)


1 Comment

Filed under Report in the kitchen, Science

One response to “November: Dave

  1. Addendum: Come to think of it, I’m not sure if Dave is an engineer. But whatever he is, he knows more about water, rocks, and polymers that I do.

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