Random Stuff I Learn At My Other Job....

The More You Know....

March 25, 2017

Hey Friends,

So during the week I have another job as Program Manager of an Aerospace company in Jupiter. We build Metal Hoses, Piping, Tubing and Machined Parts for the Aerospace and Power Turbine Industries. Anyways one of our owners Mike D is a WEALTH of Knowledge and I am constantly learning random things from him. So I figured I will share the wealth of knowledge with you..........That way you can feel a little smarter after reading this. :)

Today's random topic - Hydrogen

Mike D spent most of his life in cryogenics, including building the launch pads at the space center so he has dealt with things like Liquid Hydrogen, Liquid Oxygen, Liquid Nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids for most of his life. This week he was teaching me about Hydrogen and this is some of what I learned.....

-Hydrogen is the lightest and smallest element on the periodic table.......... At work we have to pressure test our hoses usually with water but sometimes the customer wants to make sure small elements like Hydrogen and Helium or Nitrogen cannot leak out of the hose if it is going to be used for a rocket where things can go Boom Boom. Hydrogen would be the best because it is the smallest molecule but it is VERY flammable so not a good idea to use for pressure testing so we use the 2nd smallest molecule which is Helium to pressure test hoses used in Aerospace applications.

-You cannot see a Hydrogen Flame..................Hydrogen doesn't burn incredibly HOTT but it does burn Incredibly INVISIBLE!  At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, nonmetallic, highly combustiblediatomic gas. If you were in a room with a Hydrogen fire you could not smeel it, taste it, or see it which makes it very dangerous. The Space Shuttle's fuel is made up of Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen so if you remember seeing the shuttle take off you can barely see any flames coming out of the main engines VS the boosters that use solid rocket fuel where you can see LOTS of flames and fire coming from them.

Mike told me a story of one time he was working at a plant and his co-worker kept asking him if he smelt something burning over and over again and he said no?? Eventually they saw a HUGE solid metal structure GLOWING RED! Why? A Hydrogen fire had been burning for some time and while they couldn't see the flames you could see the glowing red hot structure and knew what had happened. 


Did you know that at a power plant the actual turbine itself is spinning in a Hydrogen atmosphere?? Why you ask?? Well because Hydrogen is such a small molecule it has less "wind" resistance than the air we breathe. In the power plant business efficiency is EVERYTHING so if you can take some of the resistance away from the turbine spinning you get more efficiency right? Therefore the turbine is spinning in the least resistance possible...A Hydrogen Atmosphere!

BOOM! I just blew your mind!

So do you feel any smarter? I do....

Let's see what random stuff I learn this week from the one and only...Mike D :)

Thanks for reading