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Uneven Compost Heat? Solution: Schauberger Copper Water Implosion Technology  RSS feed

 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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I am experimenting with methods of controlling compost temperature passively.

For those of you who are familiar with Schauberger's work already, you'll know what I'm talking about already. It's a simple principle based on how copper heats.

If you apply heat to one part of copper, the entire piece of copper wants to heat evenly. This is why chefs love copper. Steel does not heat evenly: some of the food is undercooked, some of it is burned.

In my case, I soldered an end cap to a copper pipe, filled it with "imploded" (stirred) water, and placed a second cap (loose and not affixed) onto the other end. The loose cap means you can always change it, clean it, etc. This pipe can be inserted into a compost pile. What does it do?

The copper pipe crosses varying zones of heat in the compost pile. The copper pipe is always warmer than the cold zone and cooler than the hot zone. The water inside the copper pipe constantly stirs, accumulates heat, and wants to radiate to the cooler parts of the pile.

This is a cheap and easy way to stimulate a more vigorous self-stirring of a compost pile. I hypothesize that careful placement of one of these (or several) might mean that you would not have to turn a compost pile, but you would have a superior product as if you had turned the pile.

Yes, a twisted vortex shape would probably work better -- and if you can make them, contact me -- but there's little reason for a fancy and expensive contraption inserted into a compost pile. It is compost we're talking about after all!

It's up to you what kind of water goes inside the pipe: do you add biodynamic preparations? Or is water enough? How well does air (which obeys fluid dynamics too) work instead of water? It's too easy not to try.
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Copper Pipe Implosion Technology Compost Insert Water Biodynamic
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Barrel Compound BC Cow Pat Pit CPP Biodynamic Implosion Manure Compost
 
Mike Jay
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Well that's interesting...  I believe compost is also highly dependent upon aeration so just getting a cold spot warm may or may not encourage it to start decomposing. 

One question though....  What is "imploded" water? 

Regarding the twisted vortex shape, how about a 10' coil of soft copper tubing?  It comes in a coil and you could just stretch it into a slinky shape, cap one end and have a spiral heat transfer device. 

Thanks for the idea!
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Even with enough air, a pile rarely heats consistently. The outside will usually have more air (and often too much air) and the inside will almost always have less, but possibly more warmth. How a compost pile heats depends greatly on the care put into assembling it. Even with great care, you'll find a "perfect" zone of compost towards the outside and an unfinished zone within. If aeration is more of a problem, a copper pipe with holes punched in it would utilize the fluid dynamics of air AND the heat distribution quality of copper. Worth comparing.

There is no reason you couldn't use soft copper tubing, but extracting your investment might be tricky, especially if you don't want to damage it. I think a solid pipe is the easiest to remove and replace.

Water changes its behavior once it has been agitated enough. The effect seen when you can jars (cooling water contracts) also happens when you stir water in a vortex -- the water contracts in on itself. A pipe filled with this behaves quite differently. Hope that helps... it's a lot to address here. I recommend looking at Schauberger's work with compost, copper, and water.

People already run water through compost piles using copper, but to heat outdoor showers. The same copper pipe, shut off within the pile, can be used to circulate warmth within the pile itself. I suspect piles using this approach will need fewer "turnings"
 
wayne fajkus
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What is the theoretical benefit of doing this?
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Consistent warmth throughout means that parts won't overheat and other parts that might've cooled off will stay more active. A more homogenous final product without the burden of turning a pile physically.
 
William Bronson
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Sounds like a heat pipe:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pipe

If I were to use it for this application, I think I would run a tube down the center and connect it with a spiral that went around the outside.

I would probably take a derelict refrigerator and use that. Aerate with an auger ,the kind for planting bulbs.

Warm and aerated.
 
Stewart Lundy
Posts: 77
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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William Bronson wrote: Sounds like a heat pipe


Exactly.

Your thought of spiraling around the outside is interesting, but that would bring the overall temperature of the pile down towards ambient temperature if it is exposed to the air. If the entire contraption is buried in the compost, it would maintain even heating without heat loss. On the other hand, if you intend to lower the temperature of the pile, your way would assist in dissipating heat quickly. 

I like this, though its purpose is to remove heat (not what I personally would be after): http://smallfarms.cornell.edu/2012/10/01/compost-power/ Water alone in hoses would do this work, though water in copper would do it better (and far more expensively). When I have more results, I will share them. The single pipe will make a considerable difference.
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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In the diagram below is a regular compost pile. The central red area (Zone 1) has a tendency to go anaerobic & cold because of the collapsing weight of the pile and poor access to air. A simple way to handle part of that is to pile wood very airy/light substances at the core. But in order to bring the heat down from the hottest point (the peak), something that wants to move heat downward is helpful. Physically turning a pile can do this by moving the outer zone to the inside and inside to the outside. Or you can take a shortcut with a copper heat pipe, provided you have established good aeration and want to keep the humus-building thermophilic stage at its peak longer.

Some of you might already be familiar with Viktor Schauberger's recommendations for building compost piles around already established fruit trees. Such a tree already serves a number of these functions of moderating temperature (see image attached).

The gentle swaying of the tree is a perpetual aeration of the pile, maintaining an open channel from top to bottom.
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Compost Diagram Zones
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Schauberger fruit tree compost pile egg
 
Henry Jabel
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Schauberger was obvious keen on copper for plows, garden tools etc. However copper also kills bacteria they even use it in hospitals for door handles to prevent infections. However does anyone know if it kills all bacteria (and fungi) or perhaps just the undesirable ones?
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Henry Jabel wrote: Schauberger was obvious keen on copper for plows, garden tools etc. However copper also kills bacteria they even use it in hospitals for door handles to prevent infections. However does anyone know if it kills all bacteria (and fungi) or perhaps just the undesirable ones?


That's a good question. I do not think copper knows how to discriminate. However, once copper has turned green, I don't know if it has the same effect anymore. Copper is a stimulant in small doses, and a poison in (relatively) high doses. I will see what happens in this pile, but I can already say that it is not killing the pile so far!
 
Henry Jabel
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Stewart Lundy wrote:
Henry Jabel wrote: Schauberger was obvious keen on copper for plows, garden tools etc. However copper also kills bacteria they even use it in hospitals for door handles to prevent infections. However does anyone know if it kills all bacteria (and fungi) or perhaps just the undesirable ones?


That's a good question. I do not think copper knows how to discriminate. However, once copper has turned green, I don't know if it has the same effect anymore. Copper is a stimulant in small doses, and a poison in (relatively) high doses. I will see what happens in this pile, but I can already say that it is not killing the pile so far!


I would think that it may not be discrimate too but interestingly if you go to Wikipedia: Antimicrobial properties of copper it gives one of the possible reasons why copper is antimicrobial.

Elevated copper levels inside a cell causes oxidative stress and the generation of hydrogen peroxide. Under these conditions, copper participates in the so-called Fenton-type reaction — a chemical reaction causing oxidative damage to cells.

Now if this is the way it works (which may be clutching at straws because you would be ignoring the other possible ways it could do it) the aerobic bacteria like oxygen and saprophytic fungi exude hydrogen peroxide which suggests they would survive. Next time I get some mushroom spawn I will put it in a polished copper based vessel and see if it survives as a very non scientific test.
 
Stewart Lundy
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Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Henry Jabel wrote:Elevated copper levels inside a cell causes oxidative stress and the generation of hydrogen peroxide.


I didn't know that. Thank you for sharing. Viktor Schauberger himself indicates that if you want to simulate "enlivened" water from dead well water, you can enliven water in a copper vessel with vortices OR you can put the water in the full sun OR you can add hydrogen peroxide. He considered H2O2 an important aspect of living water and your comment about copper and hydrogen peroxide reinforces that image.
 
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