Sunday, August 30, 2015

Waterjetting 36c - Cutting walls

This is just a short video from back in the days when 1/2-inch tapes were still our way of recording, but before we reached the higher quality resolution of today.

We had a problem in that the basement of our building was partially covered with dirt, and concrete window wells held that back from the windows used to light light into the rooms. It would have been prohibitively expensive for us to pay to remove the concrete conventionally, but it turned out that with the construction of a set of simple tools (there were no really good high-pressure swivels available at the time - hence the orbiting action of the nozzle as it moved over the slot) we were able to cut the walls relatively simply and quickly.

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Figure 1. Cutting the window well protecting the wall. (Over 30 years ago)

In this first video segment I mis-spoke when I spoke of the nozzle as rotating, it was actually being moved over the wall in an oval pattern, as will be more evident in the second segment (below the fold).

As noted in the video the support platform for the rig is a simple platform shop lifter and the rig is held on the platform with a couple of G-clamps. There is relatively little reaction force and so the rig can be made very simply out of available tools. The lesson we learned very early on was that the rebounding water carried the removed cement and aggregate particles, so that PPE was important, and keeping folk back even more so.

After the window wells were removed we had to cut an entrance through the main wall of the building - about 14-inches thick.


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Figure 2. Cutting the main wall behind the window well.

Note that it was not necessary to remove the glass in the window until after the walls had been cut, and it was time to remove both window and wall.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waterjetting 36b - Katrina anniversary and the power of water

When I began to write these posts, I wrote about the difference between overall jet force and the focussed effects of a very high-pressure but small diameter jet. At the time I made reference to the relatively low pressure, but huge flow rate effects when Katrina hit New Orleans.

I specifically wrote about the damage to the Lower Ninth Ward when the levee collapsed and a wall of water, carrying a barge, suddenly flooded into the neighborhood. Though there was little water pressure, perhaps 20 or 30 psi, the volume of flow and the fact that it applied that pressure over the full face of a building, resulted in sufficient force to destroy the buildings and leave only the concrete slab, if that.

I was part of a survey group that went through the area after the Hurricane and made several hours of video which I summarized in a short review. On the occasion of the anniversary it is, perhaps appropriate to put this up. This comes with the sound, as I recorded it at the time. It begins in the Lower Ninth Ward, and then goes back to the start of the trip.

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After visiting one of the smaller breaches in the city, we drove down the Delta to the point where the boats went out to service the rigs, and where the hurricane had come ashore as a more powerful force. Yet it was the water damage that was prevalent, as can be seen from those buildings that had survived because they were on stilts and thus out of the storm water.

We then returned to the Lower Ninth Ward, mainly near the breach. This is where the barge went through the breach, obviously at some speed, since it was carried beyond the main channel of the flow and then dropped onto the school bus as the flood waters passed further into the ward.

As I mentioned there are hundreds of photos and hours of video that we shot, but this gives some sense of the disaster.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Waterjetting 36a - Jet stripping of tires

Stripping tires to recover the rubber has been one of the topics that has come up on a number of occasions, and through a number of different tests we have been able to demonstrate that water jets can remove the material in a range of sizes depending on the desired output.

The work has ranged from cutting steel-corded truck tires, for subsequent rubber stripping, through to the simplest removal of rubber to separate the cords and to then separate the rubber from the water and use that as a subsequent feed stock for a variety of uses. The control on the marketability of the product comes through a guarantee of the size range of the product, and while this can be achieved in part through secondary processing, it is an advantage if the rubber can be controlled in a certain fine-particle size range. Which is why, in this movie, you will see the nozzle assembly rotate as such a high speed.

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Figure 1. Short video of a jet stripping rubber from a tire.

As the video notes, by changing the jet pressure between 10,000 and 13,000 psi one can control whether one is just removing the rubber, also removing the fiber cords, or going all the way through the tire and also removing the rubber material behind the cord.

The economics of the operation also involve the tire size, the speed of the operation, which is controlled by the relative rotation speed of the tire, relative to that of the jets, and the resulting product size of the crumb rubber that is removed - as well as its cleanliness. Those are subjects that are much more job specific than we need to get into at this stage, since the object of the video was rather just to show that, without a huge investment in equipment, it is possible to recover the rubber.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Waterjetting 35e - A low cost version of the soil sucker

Posting will run just a little slow for a few weeks, as I run-through and catalogue the some 200 hours of video that I have amassed over the decades showing our waterjet research. There are a number of different review reports that I will insert over the next few weeks, as I find the good copies and then convert them from the earlier form into a digitized version. But I ask for your patience as I do this, since the conversion has to be done in real time.

To end the current thought over the removal of material through the addition of vacuum to a waterjet soil dislodging system, here is a short segment that shows us uncovering some inert mines. As it was part of a Humanitarian Demining Effort we had to make the system as inexpensive and simple as possible.

The pump therefore is one that you can buy at the local hardware store - operating at about 2 gpm and 1,000 psi and we have used a simple Shop Vac to provide the suction. The rest of the parts also came from the store, apart from the very small fractional hp electric motors that we used to turn the head and traverse the head over the ground. The excavation unit was, as you can see, mounted on a camera tripod. The idea being that if the mine reacted then the part destroyed would be so simple and inexpensive that it could be replaced within a few minutes for relatively little money.

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Video of a small unit being used to uncover inert mines and other objects.
 

Mines are relatively sensitive things and so we had to be sure that the very low thrusts that the jet would exert in disaggregating the soil would not set the mine off. This required a combination of pressure, jet size and rotation speed considerations. The effectiveness of the combination selected is shown by the pebble sticking out of the side of the excavation which is not disturbed, although with only a little finger pressure it could be lifted out of the side wall.

We would then cut the mine apart, through the fuze, using an abrasive laden jet and in another post I will show the pictures of how we cut detonators apart and other sensitive explosive-laden materials, without their reaction, as well as showing pictures of what happens when we got a waterjet to ignite explosive.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waterjetting 35d - More video on hydro-excavation

In the evolution of the design of a waterjet/suction tool described in the last post I commented on the ability to balance the jets so that they did not spray material beyond the suction shroud. At the same time the shroud, to be most effective, has to be within a quarter–of-an-inch of the final surface, which means that the jets have to cut clearance for the head as it moves. Bearing in mind that the head will be manipulated around the excavation, this means that clearance has to be maintained on all sides.

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Figure 1. Pass of a cleaning head over a 2-inch sand layer sitting on a set of concrete blocks that are not confined. The video shows the removal of the sand, without water escape.

I apologize for the quality of the tape, but these were research records that we were making of the experiments, merely to get certain data from them and they were not intended for transmission when made.

The second point I wanted to include was that of the ability to use the same design to cut a trench in harder material, again without the spreading of water beyond the trench. The material is a relatively weak cement.

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Figure 2. Four passes over a weak cement to show that all the material removed can be aspirated at the time of excavation.

The tapes show how one can cut trenches in either soil or light rock fairly quickly and without making much disturbance outside the slot. Obviously the material removed can be collected in a vacuum truck and poured back into the trench after the trench work is complete.

In a later post I will show how this can also be used as part of a tool we developed to find, expose and then neutralize landmines.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Waterjetting 35c - Developing a waste removal shroud - video.

The short videotapes in this segment show the evolution of a combination of a waterjet and a suction line as a way of easily removing soil or sand relatively quickly. It is a subject covered in an earlier post. These video clips show some of the tests that helped us to develop that design.

As mentioned in that earlier post the central tube connects to a vacuum line which removes the loosened debris and water. An earlier series of tests had shown that the suction nozzle had to be within quarter of an inch of the surface for the suction to be most effective. The jets had, therefore, to clear a way for this nozzle by cutting down through the material and pushing it into the mouth of the tube, before the tube arrived.

For the first test a single nozzle (out of the three on the head) was used at relatively low pressure.

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Figure 1. Clip showing a single jet cleaning through 2-inches of sand.

However if the jet pressure is raised to cut harder material, then the jet has enough power to wash the material under and past the suction tube so that only a small part of the solid is picked up and the path fills back up with the washed sand.

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Figure 2. A higher-pressure cutting jet does not give the debris time to be sucked out of the tank.

If three jets are used, but with the jets directed so that the paths hit each other within the suction zone this stopping each jet going further for a long enough time that the suction can remove both water and debris. 



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 Figure 3. A three-jet combination where the jets are held within the shroud, leaving a clean path.

For those unable to see the video the configuration of the jets meant that they met under the shroud as shown.



Figure 4 The jet configuration around the shroud.

When this is combined with a protective (flexible) outer shroud the final result was a tool that removes material without over-spraying into the surrounding sand and destabilizing it. Leaving a clean channel.

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Figure 5. Larger head design removing a 2-inch thick layer of sand.

In a subsequent post I will include (when I can find it among the 200-odd hours of material) a video of a similar (though smaller) tool cutting a clean channel into a soft cement, and leaving a clean path behind it, as shown in the earlier post. For those interested the parts for these cleaning heads were assembled from plumbing supplies from our local hardware store at a cost, per head of around a hundred dollars or so. (back in 1995 when we ran the tests).

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Waterjetting 35b - Cutting the Missouri Stonehenge video

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The video that I posted last time did not fare as well as had been hoped, in making the trip from my computer to the blogger post, and so this week, to see if there are other ways of peeling the apple, I have also posted a copy of the video to Youtube, to see if this works better.

The video is of the making of the Missouri Stonehenge for which, as I have mentioned in a previous post, we used a jet pressure of around 15,000 psi with a flow rate of 10 gpm.

The video makes the point that a high-pressure jet system can, with relatively little support, cut a straight edge down the side of a block, even if there is only a very thin layer of rock to remove. It is normally very difficult to do this with a conventional cutting saw, or similar tool, which requires more material on the free side to stop the blade from being deflected away from the cut line.

If this new posting works as I hope, then I will be posting a number of different videos that have been collected over the years, but on Youtube initially, though I will provide the link as I have above.

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