Sunday, August 31, 2014

Global oil supply and Bárðarbunga

Some time ago magma started rising in the rocks near the Bárðarbunga volcano in Iceland, and after weeks of increasingly intensified earthquake activity, the first signs of eruption were found to have occurred under thick ice within the last week. These were not that visible to the general public. That eruption was followed by a second, where there were some streamers of magma across the surface, without causing any significant airborne dust to interfere with aircraft.

The delays in dramatic eruption footage, and the early decay in immediate activity has led a number of folk to anticipate that the risk has declined and for some the risks from the eruption are over, with one scientist commenting::
"If this eruption persists it could become a tourist attraction, as it will be relatively safe to approach, although the area is remote,"

Figure 1. The eruption at Bárðarbunga (from the first webcam) at 5:40 pm Aug 31.

Figure 2. The eruption at Bárðarbunga (from the second webcam) at 9:00 pm Aug 31.

The eruption is continuing and will likely continue, and potentially significantly worsen, over the next several months. Yet, in the world of instant highlights, headlines and Twitter the risks from the long-term eruption (which can be horrendously severe) are immediately glossed over as the eruption fails the “dramatic event” test.

This is uncomfortably similar to the situation that one sees when writing about “Peak Oil”. One can, on any individual day, find comforting headlines that tend to gloss over the longer-term problem that is being written, in increasingly large letters on the predictive wall of our future. But that does not hide the potential disaster that it presages, it merely conceals it from the general public.

The headlines are those that are short-term, and deal with the drivers for the daily fluctuations in oil price, rarely do they back off to look at the overall threat that the situation may presage. Similarly the eruption in Iceland looks relatively tranquil at the moment, but may be of a similar nature to that of 1783, which created, over a period of months, an absolute disaster in Europe, and may have been one of the contributing causes to the French Revolution. The problem with the oil crisis is that there is no similar history to look back on. (Not that this would matter to those “editors of the moment” who control the daily press).

If one were to step back from concerns over daily price fluctuations for oil and gasoline, and consider the import of the trend in international politics one could very easily be aghast at the situation. Not that one might tell this from the headlines.

Consider that, of the three international leaders in oil production, one – Russia – is currently set on a course that may well lead the rest of us into World War 3. As a consequence is likely to be unable to attract the financing that will allow it to even approach the current levels of oil production that it need to retain current production levels in the years to come.

The second of the three is Saudi Arabia. Glossing over any problems that the Kingdom may run into in the next couple of years with the terrorism that is sweeping though its neighbors, it is a country that has realized that today’s cornucopia is about over, and it must seriously invest in exploration and development. The KSA recognizes that if it is to have a chance at being able to even meet the bills for domestic consumption, let alone export income, as the years move onward, it must find new oil. Again it would seem that global commentators fail to realize that, while KSA is recognizing the problem, any finds of “elephantine fields” would require huge investments of money and time, given that they are now likely to be off-shore and sour (as with Safaniya and Manifa, even if such fields exist, which is very doubtful).

The Kingdom has repeatedly stated that it will not increase its production over current levels, despite the assumption of many commentators that they will have to, if global balance is to be retained between supply and demand. Put bluntly, their analysts have realized that, without new reserves that are currently still to be found, they will be unlikely to be able to meet even current targets without major new field finds. Yes, they have fields that are found and available, but in relative terms they are tiny when set against the current levels of production. (Bearing in mind that a 5% reduction in production per year from existing fields, a level now increasingly found to be overly optimistic, would still cut existing production by 450 kbd).

And so, gentle readers, as we have so often in the past, we return to prognostications of future American production. This should, realistically, be focused on the production from the USA, since that in Canada is tied to production from the oil sands and that is only likely to change at a slow (one might suggest geological, but that would be a little harsh) time frame.

And in the United States hope continues to focus on an assumed linear increase in production, month on month, from the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shales. That this is denied by even the local authorities (who also note that the Bakken is named after a local farming family). Their current estimate (assuming more than 200 drilling rigs, and there are currently only 192 is that the fields will peak in 2017, and will start to decline in around 2026. The problem with that estimate relates both to the number of rigs employed (which have to be higher) and the quality of the remaining reserve (which is highly unlikely to be of equivalent value to that which is now, or has been, developed in the past.

I would venture into the second tier producers, but they include those that lie in the MENA (such as Iraq and Libya) and are in even worse condition than KSA, and yet, as documented here repeatedly, these states seem increasingly unlikely to meet projections and thus are an ongoing and significant threat to a balance between global production and demand.

The global economy, and particularly the economies of the Western countries, are tied to a cheap source of energy and power – on which their industrial clout is based. Remove that underpinning, and the writing is clear on the wall about this, and current levels cannot be sustained.

But, as with the wish of the press to get “beyond” the “yesterday’s story" of Bárðarbunga, so the reality of the energy situation is unlikely to be recognized until, as with the Iceland volcano. its effects become too evident to ignore.

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Bárdarbunga erupts again

Just a quick note that the eruption has re-started. This is from the Webcam:

Figure 1. Eruption from the webcam at 5:40 pm Eastern, Aug 31 2014.

UPDATE 1 Sept 2014: The Icelandic Met Office has noted that the eruption is producing around 100 cu m.second of lava, which has now travelled more than 3 km at its furthest point.

There is concern that the eruption may extend to the pipe under Bárðarbunga, which may result in an explosive part to the eruption, which has already ejected more material than Eyjafjallajokull. Of more concern
Gas measurements indicate a high level of sulphur dioxide. People could be exposed to highly dangerous gas levels close to the eruption. It is essential that those visiting the eruption site are equipped with gas sensors and gas masks.

No more yet.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Waterjetting 24d - Impulse breaking of concrete

The most popular applications of high-pressure water on concrete deal with the removal of dirt and undesired coatings from the surface, or the removal of layers of the immediate surface for repair, hydro-demolition. There is, however, also an application where the concrete has to be removed in its entirety. Most often, this is done with jackhammers, wrecking balls and impact breakers of varying description. And yet, superficially, it might seem that waterjets might play a similar role in breaking the concrete pad into small pieces that can be removed.

There were a number of projects, back in the day when waterjet technology was first being developed, where a number of tools were developed aimed at generating the high-energy pulses that can be used to break the concrete slab. Yet none of them found a niche in the marketplace. It is perhaps instructive to explain what the different tools were, and the reasons why they never fully succeeded.

When waterjet technology was first being developed in the United States and in the UK, many of the devices used to generate the ultra-high pressures relied on the sudden release of large quantities of gas behind relatively small slugs of water in order to create the jet stream. In the extreme this was exemplified by the (then)* UMR water cannon. A 90-mm howitzer had been converted into a waterjet generator, and after filling the barrel with 12 gallons of water, a cartridge with about 4.4 lb of black powder was placed in the breech, and the charge ignited. Pressures of up to 50,000 psi were generated, and the jet drilled holes more than 6 inches deep into limestone test samples.

Figure 1. The UMR* Water cannon

The use of the large volume of water in the cannon was an attempt to overcome one of the disadvantages of similar devices which had been developed at the Safety in Mines Research Establishment in the UK, at IIT Research Institute in Chicago, and by William Cooley at Terraspace. The disadvantage was that, while the initial impact of the jet was at the very high pressure, as the driving gas expanded, so the pressure dropped dramatically, and the pressure in the water fell accordingly.

Figure 2. Pressure pulse from the UMR water cannon

The result was that while the initial impulse would generate a large number of cracks around the impact point in the surface, there was not enough energy in the water slug that followed to grow the cracks to the point that large volumes of rock were broken out.

This was illustrated when Bill Cooley took his water cannon underground to try and drive a tunnel in a limestone mine.

Figure 3. The Cooley cannon in a mine

The cannon generated pressures of up to 500,000 psi, determined by measuring the speed of the leading edge of the water slug as it broke successive pencil leads. Yet the fragments produced were not of great volume, relative to the energy expended.

And yet there was an application that did, for a short while, seem promising, and that was developed in Germany. There are a number of situations in the mining industry where large boulders can get into the transport system, and where the conventional application of a small stick of dynamite can have collateral damage effects that can be expensive. German investigators therefore developed a small tool, where (as with the UMR cannon) a deflagrating cartridge was used to generate the gas behind a slug of water, and this could be driven into the boulder, and split it, without damaging any of the equipment surrounding the rock.

Figure 4. The German impulse boulder breaker

Figure 4b. Schematic of the boulder breaker

An alternative approach was developed by Briggs Technology in Pittsburgh, following a different concept – a line of development that others had also developed (as will be discussed in a late post). Rather than generate a single pulse of very high energy, the concept was to develop a simpler tool that could be rapidly recycled. In this way, while the individual cracks from single impacts would not liberate that much material, by having a series of these it would be possible to get the individual crack patterns to intersect and in this way to break out the concrete pieces. (This is a similar concept to that of an impact breaker, although using water as the impacting device).

Figure 5. Schematic of the Pittsburgh device

Single shot tests of the tool were promising, as were the early tests on slabs of concrete. Unfortunately the high-pressure pulses travelled both ways, and thus the valves and fittings that were necessary to allow the tool to rapidly recycle were also exposed to the high-pressure loading. The materials that were in use at the time, for these parts, was insufficient to give the long-life under the loading cycles that it saw, and as a result the project, unfortunately, never reached the commercial market.

This problem of high-cycle loading is made worse where the pressure is allowed to decay back to ambient pressure between cycles, and the more modern tools that use a cyclic change in pressure to improve on jet performance (such as those from Mohan Vijay in Canada) do not drop the pressure within the delivery line and thus get around the problem of the earlier systems where it was the high range of pressures seen in a cycle that led to the valve problems. Although I should be careful there to differentiate the impulsive cannon type devices from the early ones where the flow to the nozzle was intermittently stopped. In the latter case it was the hydraulic shocks to the delivery line from the flow blockage that pulsed back down the line and (as rumor had it at the time) drove the pump pistons through the cylinder wall within the first few minutes of operating time.

As a result of these past developments there has been less emphasis on developing ultra-high pressure impulse devices over the last few years, particularly as the pressures of continuously operating equipment have risen, and the use of abrasive in the water has meant that most objectives can be effectively met with the new equipment.

*The University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) has changed its name to Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) – since the tests were carried out some decades ago, the older designation for the cannon has been used.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Iceland volcanic eruption may be under the ice

The BBC are reporting that small "cauldrons" have appeared on the glacier over the growing dyke of rock that is penetrating upwards in the Bárðarbunga region of Iceland. This suggests that the magma has reached the bottom of the ice, and causing it to melt, with the overlying cap then collapsing into the cavity. Jón Frímann notes that the water in Grímsvötn Lake has risen about 15 m, so that presumably is where it is flowing at the moment. That rise is equivalent to the melting of around 45 million cubic meters.

Figure 1. Location of the "cauldrons". Note also the progression north of the quakes over time, as the dyke extended. (Ice News)

The migration has also reached the Askja volcano, which might be a second path for the magma to reach the surface.

Erik Klemetti has written about the different scenarios that might happen should the magma reach that point, with there being some risk of an Eyjafjallajökull type eruption as one of five possible scenarios for the region.

As with the previous post on this activity, I will update below the fold for future developments.

UPDATE: 29th August.(There is a second under the fold(.
An eruption has begun in the northern end of the dyke. Because it is neither in the Askja caldera, nor under the ice, there is little ash cloud at the moment. According to the Ice News report:
Shortly after midnight a fissure eruption started between Dyngjujokull glacier and the Askja caldera in the Northern region of lava field Holuhraun. It is a fissure eruption on what appears to be a 300 metres long rift with a NA-SE direction. No volcanic ash has been detected with the radar system at the moment. The wind field conditions in the area are wind blowing toward NW at 12 m/s at 5 km altitude. Seismic eruption tremor is low indicating effusive eruption without significant explosive activity.
UPDATE #3: Here is a picture showing the outflow of magma, from Reuters via The Daily Mail.

Figure 1a, Magma flow out along the fissure.

2nd update on 29th August.
Watching the eruption on the on-site cameras, the Bárðarbunga 2 camera appears to be continuously shaken by earthquakes at 10:52 am Eastern, and the map of the quakes shows strong activity back at the Bárðarbunga caldera. It really depends on where the initial magma entry is into the dyke, which is most likely to be back at the south end of the dyke. This would increase the risk of at least some of the magma breaking through the ice cap and projecting an ice cloud.

Figure 2. Earthquake pattern on the morning of the 29th. (Icelandic Met Office via Wattsupwiththat).

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Poser and different forms of Digital Art

My apologies for the hiatus on Energy and Waterjetting for another week, but as the sidebar notes I do, on occasion, write about Digital Art. This is a hobby that is taking on a life of its own.

This Spring four pieces made it into an Art Exhibit (or is the right word Show?) on Digital Imaging and resulted in an invitation to submit a dozen images for a Fall Exhibit on Digital Art that will soon open at the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Castleman Hall. That is the background to this piece, which discusses the work produced for the show and, to a limited extent, why those images were chosen.

The campus is not that familiar with Digital Art, despite being at the leading edge of many technical fields, somehow art has fallen a bit behind, and so one of the objectives was to display some of the variety of the art that can be produced using software, which in this case was largely Poser, with a little help from Photoshop and Alien Skin. I should hasten to clarify that I am much the junior exhibitor, Paula Sanders, a local resident, is way more experienced and talented, and has the major part of the show. Much of my expertise over the last year has come through taking and then trying to repeat the very useful Webinars on the technology from 3DArtlive, after starting out not that long ago with "Poser for Dummies".

To make life more interesting, of the needed twelve there were seven pieces that were available (with family and friends from whom they could be borrowed back) and that meant that, starting Sunday morning (Aug 17) and with a deadline of 4 pm Friday (August 22nd) five more pieces were needed, covering a bit of the waterfront on what Digital Art could do. Nine of the pieces were to be sized at 8.5 x 11 inches, and three would be 12.5 x 18.5 inches.

The first image that was printed on my “professional quality” printer could be borrowed back. Based on Alexsander Kokular’s “Drawing Room in the Artist’s Home,” it was an interesting challenge, since one had also to produce all the smaller paintings in the picture. So “Artist’s Drawing Room” became the first.

Figure 1. "The Artist's Drawing Room.

Along the way it became clear that the paintings on the wall had to be moved around, and since this is done on a 3-D modeling program they had to come off the wall first. Showing this helps with the concept of this being a partial reality, so an image taken during the move was included (it is now owned by the show’s curator, and named after her.)

Figure 2. Luce’s Dilemma.

Over the past three years I spent a fair bit of time researching what America’s inhabitants pre-1491 looked like. Paula has pointed out that most pictures were made up or colored by folk with no knowledge, but it is amusing to try, particularly since Blackthorn has produced physiognomies of the men and women of the different tribes. George Catlin has produced some paintings that are as close as one may get to some of the tribal customs, and his work provided a start.

Two of the images previously created were still available, and the first was one of a woman of the Commanche, and so in went Carrier Crow. The series was trying to put the tribal members into hair, paint, clothing and settings of the time, but getting the skin texture accurate , which is sometimes hard to get right for Native Americans, just seemed to work this time.

Figure 3. Carrier Crow

When it came to creating an image of a male member of the Commanche, the original render that was created wasn’t that striking, but in playing around with the variations that can be achieved to an original piece of digital art by using Alien Skin’s Snap Art, the way the image changed when selected as an oil painting made it a favorite, and so "Horse Talker" was included.

Figure 4. Horse Talker.

This was framed without glass, in a frame that thus suggested that the work was an oil, it should be interesting to see the comments.

Being able to change the format of an image is one of the great advantages of doing Digital Art, and there was another example of this available on loan-back, again using Snap Art, with the inspiration coming from a painting on the wall of a Pizza restaurant in Silicon Valley.

Figure 5. Dancing Chez Marcel.

This did not end up the way expected, mainly because working with large sets of buildings was a bit of a challenge until it was realized that, after getting the couple in the right poses, that if the male were then parented to the female then they could be moved around together (to get them against the blank wall) a lot more easily than by adjusting them as individuals in the scene.

A friend plays the flute, and after going through back issues of Spectrum seeking inspiration, there were two illustrations that led to the piece, that again could be borrowed back for the show.

Figure 6. If Music be the Food.

The next choice had been created for a talk on Digital Art for the local Rotary Club, and small 3 x 5 inch versions were given out at the talk. Folk seemed to like it, so printing this at 12.5 inch x 18.5 inch seemed only fitting for it to be the first large piece for the show. (And although it was an electric lamp, rather than a candle, I have been in this sort of situation once).

Figure 7. By the Guttering Light.

These were available pieces that could be used toward the target twelve needed for the exhibit. And that in turn, brought me to last Sunday morning and the need to create 5 pieces in six days. Two ideas came to mind to illustrate the capabilities of Digital Art and the first was to expand on the tribal theme and to have six different tribal heads, showing their different hair, physiognomy and paint. (Note that all of the people in the images started out either as the same original male, Michael 4 , or the female equivalent, Victoria 4, and were then morphed to give the final versions.)

Unfortunately, after creating this image, a mishap with the mat size sent to fit the larger frame meant that it could not be printed on paper that would match the hole size. So.o.o , as a hasty fix (at 2 pm on Friday) the background was turned into a leather texture and Photoshop engaged to transfer the images to the master page, and then they were merged and the paper edge torn (physically) to suggest home-made stock.

The heads were first shaped and aged, using the Blackthorn males on Mike, and then moved into Blacksmith3D for projection painting. Working with a tablet made this a lot easier, and the bear tattoo on the Algonquian warrior is from a record of the time.

Figure 8. Hair and Paint.

Another friend is interested in Ballet, and so, starting from an intent for a piece that might be in the style of Degas led, through learning how to make and move curtains with the Fun with Flat Things tutorials, and failure to find a good model of a theater, to making first a curtain, then a drawn curtain, and then the first of the “Ballet Maine” series. This became the second new creation of the week.

Figure 9. Ballet Maine Suite 1.

The member of the Corps de Ballet holding the curtain is supposed to look envious, but it is too dark to show her expression, though Gamma Correction helped to lighten her up a bit.

Which brought up some thought for including historical mischief as part of the show. Sitting in church a couple of weeks ago during the sermon, a chorister was seen to be nodding off. Put with the Pope’s recent comment on the high life of some in the church led to the start of the third piece.

But the only Cathedral interior of any use, from either a vendor or in the library of material that had been collected over a decade, was the Cathedral Construction Kit which DAZ sold many years ago and the textures no longer rendered well. To get around a somewhat garish render, the fix was to use Photoshop to convert the image into a half-tone piece, and overlay this over the initial render, so that by erasing the overlay over the Cardinal and the Hospitaller, only they would appear in color. This drew attention to them, in an otherwise very busy scene.

Figure 10. Plus ça Change

The fourth piece was inspired by a picture of a mermaid smoking in one of the Spectrum volumes (Leuyen Pham’s Shino). It raised the question as to why a mermaid might smoke? And when? The answer came that when the Vikings arrived around 928 C.E. mermaids could be smoking, and that in turn raised the question as to which was the “Filthy Savage.” (Native American opinion of early European arrivals were that they were indeed filthy, wearing clothes for days, not bathing enough, etc)

Figure 11. Filthy Savage.

The image has a number of faults, which could be hidden by post work and a change in format through Alien Skin, but chose not to because of the puff of smoke from the cigar. With more post work, for which there was no time it could have been a lot less amateurish.

The final work was to show the ability of Poser to age folk, and since in an earlier life my group had carved the Millennium Arch for Edwina Sandys I skipped over there on Thursday night, took the shot, and then used Lucy Zepp by jamminwolf to give the basics. The T-shirt had to be textured for the logo of the Center where the Millennium Arch was cut by high-pressure water, and where I spent my career, and ta-da at 4 pm on Friday it was printed, framed and turned in – phew!

The age of the senior version was reduced from the original version, since too many wrinkles and age spots looked out of place and character. With more time the pose of the central character, which looks forced, would have been changed, but there was no time.

Figure 12. The Transition Years.

From September 5th, the complete set should be on view in the lobby of Castleman Hall, in Rolla.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

A small eruption, so far (but the threat is getting bigger)

Jón Frímann is reporting that the eruption has started, but as yet is small. There are some web cameras and in the comments on his post there is some discussion of what they show, with the picture below showing what appears to be the start of a fissure eruption. This is consistent with an intrusion of the magma in the form of a dyke which is traceable from the earthquake patterns.

Figure 1. Webcam view of the start of the Bárðarbunga volcanic eruption.

The activity seems to be occurring in several places, with that part that is under the ice not being visible, were it be occurring, though if it breaks through the ice then this is where the larger plumes might be generated.

Figure 2.Earthquakes around the site (Icelandic Met Office)

The condition has been changed to RED, with the Met Office reporting that there are 150 to 400 m of ice above the surface in the region of maximum activity, and it will take some time for the magma to burn through this to the point where it ruptures, if it is big enough to do so. However the latest earthquakes include one of over 4.5 which is quite a bit bigger than earlier ones.

This has been UPDATED on 24 August

And on August 25th.

And on August 27th, as the quakes continue and approach the surface


The activity is continuing to grow.

Figure 3. Later on the 23rd. (Icelandic Met Office via Jón Frímann)

The eruption is definitely occurring along a rift in the rock. The development can be seen from a picture of the developing earthquakes from the 16th August, as Jón Frímann shows.

Figure 4. Development of the eruption as the magma moves along a rift to form a new dyke which is rising to the surface, prior to the eruption on the 16th August (Icelandic Met Office via Jón Frímann)

The growing size of the potential eruption can be seen from the latest picture of the earthquake activity, with it spreading away from the caldera.

Figure 5. Overview of Iceland showing the increasing scope of the activity on 24 Aug. (Icelandic Met Office)

The dyke is reported to be 40 km long already, and the magma, outside the ice cap may likely flow without much of it generating the high clouds of ash that are a threat to aircraft, and future weather patterns in Europe. (These eruptions can last some time). However if the bit under the icecap breaks through then the combination of water turning to steam and thermal shock on the rock can generate the very small particles which become a threat to both.

25th August Most of the activity is still occurring about 5 km below the surface, and the question becomes where, if anywhere, will the eruption reach the surface.

Figure 6. Earthquake activity 25th August 2014 (Icelandic Met Office).

The latest quake above magnitude 3.0 is at the northern end of the activity, suggesting that perhaps the magma is flowing in that direction, so that if it were to migrate to the surface then it would not come out under the ice cap. Which would be good news from the viewpoint that it is less likely that this will generate the high clouds of micro particles that might have occurred, as they did with the Eyjafyallajokul eruption in 2010.

There is, however, another concern that comes from the basaltic flows of lava, and was at its likely worst in 1783 when the nearby rift at Laki opened. The gases produced are toxic and were of sufficient volume that a large portion of the livestock and crops died, leading to the death of a quarter of the population from famine. The impact on Europe was also severe, with some suggesting it as a partial cause of the French Revolution. In part this was because of the resulting haze (which spread globally)which dropped temperatures around the world.

It also lasted eight months.

August 27th - The activity continues with quakes above 3.0 along the dyke, and with the earthquakes seeming to be approaching the surface.

Figure 7. Earthquke activity 27th August 2014 (Icelandic Met Office)

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tech Talk

This series will be on hiatus for a couple of weeks as I travel and fulfill a couple of other commitments. Expect to start up again at the beginning of September.

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