Why I No Longer Crack My Knuckles
One of my favorite web sites is Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works (www.howstuffworks.com). The basic premise of the site is that Marshall Brain (yes, that's his real name!) explains how ordinary things work, from capacitors to the world wide web.
One of my favorite sections is topics on how the body works. I was looking through that category the other day when I came across "How Knuckle Cracking Works." As knuckle cracking is a habit I abhor (and yet cannot help but do myself sometimes), I immediately clicked the link to see what all that cracking was doing to my index finger joints. Imagine my surprise when I realized the science behind knuckle cracking (cavitation) was a topic we were covering in this issue of Process Heating.
In "Understanding Cavitation," Dave DeClerck of MP Pumps Inc., Fraser, Mich., explains that cavitation is a phenomenon of first vaporization, then collapse, of vapor back to the liquid phase. Cavitation can be damaging to the pump components as well as other piping and system related parts. Understanding cavitation and how it can be controlled is beneficial to any pump user.
In "How to Install an Infrared Thermometer," Vern Lappe of Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill., notes that there are many ways to measure temperature in a process. Lappe explains one noncontact measurement method -- the infrared thermometer -- and offers tips on how to select, install and maintain you infrared temperature measuring system for optimal performance.
In "Cleaning Organic Heat Transfer Fluid Systems," Conrad Gamble of Solutia Inc., St. Louis, explains that heat transfer fluids will give long and trouble-free service in properly designed and operated systems. However, less than ideal operating conditions can result in degradation of the heat transfer fluid, formation of solids, and even deposits on heat transfer surfaces. Gamble outlines methods for cleaning your heat transfer fluid system and keeping it clean.
In "Making a Great Gumbo," Christopher C. Lanham of Single Iteration, A Division of Watlow, St. Louis, likens specifying thermal components to making a great gumbo stew. Lanham notes that a common mistake made when specifying thermal components is to fail to adequately consider how a component interacts with its environment and with other components in the system.
Finally, in "Reduce Energy Costs with a Fluid Bed Dryer," we take a look at how one construction dry products manufacturer realized energy savings and improved productivity following a switch to fluid bed drying.
Since reading both Marshall Brain's knuckle cracking story and Dave DeClerck's article on cavitation in pumps, I've become a reformed knuckle cracker (most of the time). Hey, if cavitation can cause pitting in pump impeller blades, I'm not taking any chances with my web-surfing hand.