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uses include:
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nano-water-heater with hand-powered pressure?  RSS feed

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Just had this idea--what if I wanted to boil a tiny tiny quantity of water, just enough to sterilize a jam jar lid or a metal mouth-pick or something, couldn't this be done with human-powered hand-crank pressure, with enough leverage?  Has this been done?  
 
Gilbert Fritz
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That is an interesting idea; it reminds me of the compressive ignition used in diesel engines and some fire starting devices. 
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks Gilbert.

Well, I did a little research, and to boil 1 millileter of water (starting at about room temperature, 20 degrees Celsius) takes about 80 calories.  SO--makes you kinda appreciate fossil fuels or the sun a bit more.

BUT--what if steaming were all that was needed to sterilize? what if the quantity of water could be 1/10th of 1 millileter? Burning 8 calories takes walking up a flight of stairs approximately.  That's not trivial--it's not like pumping a pump.

Still, I'm finding value in exploring this line of thought. 

At some point I'll look up how hydrogen peroxide is produced.

 
Rebecca Norman
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I've often heard, as a general rule of thumb, that when you power a tool with pedal power, you get about 100 Watts when pedaling pretty well. How much water could 100 W boil, in how much time?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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"The tap water started between 65 and 70 degrees F and boiled in an average of 1 minute 44 seconds, consuming an average of 39.3 watt hours."--from random website "https://www.plotwatt.com/2011/05/21/plotwatt-labs-boiling-four-cups-water/"

That was for 1 cups of water, or about .25 litre (250 ml).
.039 x 4 = .16 watt-hours to boil 1 ml.
.16 x 60 = 10 watt-minutes to boil 1 ml
so about 600 watt-seconds to boil 1 ml.
***or about 6 seconds at 100 watts.***

Did I do this math right?

Is it worth getting on a bike for even 6 seconds to boil something for sterilization?  seems like no.  better just store some energy in the daytime.

It could be that capacitors--the less-destructive cousin of batteries--would come in handy here for micro-disinfectings.

Or we could just forget germ theory entirely. (The things we do for other people, man!)

 
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