(Lab) Climate Change

April 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm | | grad life, stupid technology

The centerpiece of operation “Spider Monkey” was a DPSS pump laser to replace our old, post catastrophic cooling loss YAG. Everything was great until it was discovered the chiller lacked a secondary cooling loop to discharge the waste heat into the house cooling water. Needless to say, the 1kW localized heat source and accompanying thermal gradients didn’t help the laser stability. To mitigate the problem until the new chiller arrives, we decided to do a little home HVAC. Behold:

I actually felt a little dirty on this particular jury rigging adventure. We were using duct tape… to tape a duct. I’m sure there is some sort of warning label on the tape stating, opposite to your spray paint and OTC pharmaceuticals, that “Using this product for its intended purpose is a violation of Federal law.” The duct tape functioned rather poorly, I might add. Without the appropriate flashing, the process of sealing the duct to the box involved a round peg / square hole type problem of the duct tape folding over on itself.

The whole apparatus seems to work pretty well. I was finally able to get my Ti:Sapph under control, all while staying within the ambient operating temperature values for the chiller.


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  1. It’s kind of amazing just how versatile duct tape is, isn’t it? The other day I was similarly getting ready to fix up a duct and I caught myself thinking, gee, what am I going to use on this. Duh.

    Comment by Tela — April 14, 2008 #

  2. From Forbes magazine:

    “Of course, for all its versatility, perhaps the most interesting thing about duct tape is also the most ironic: It’s lousy for use on ducts.

    In 1998, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicists Max Sherman and Lain Walker tested a variety of sealing materials on sheet metal ducting, then heated and cooled the ducts to simulate the aging process. They soon found that duct tape leaked air so badly much of the cooling and heating was wasted–and that the tape frequently shrunk, dried up or separated.

    “It failed reliably and often quite catastrophically,” said Sherman. “And nothing else except duct tape failed.””


    Comment by MRW — April 15, 2008 #

  3. Quick! Get your duct tape! Here we go:

    Comment by Ilya — April 16, 2008 #

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