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Project HELIOS - Invocation Begins 10.01.10

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SO it turns out making large aerogel monoliths is an incredible challenge in engineering, patience, and chemistry.

 

I can make little beads and small pieces all day long... I'd even go so far as to say I have the 'gel' making process down to an art. BUT, Manufacturing the large chunks I envision is proving somewhat unobtainable... but I'm getting through it.

 

The process of making Aerogel with any level of precision or clarity requires a pressure vessel (called a supercritical dryer) which can handle about 75bar, or about 1000psi. And if you know anything about pressure tanks, a 1000psi is one hell-of-a feat.

 

This has not phased me however... I've been endeavorering to acquire the necessary materials to build my own "supercritical dryer". My design features an internal area large enough to allow the creation of parts 26"x10"x2". Bare with me on that front as it needs extreme care and caution - else it will become a very impressive bomb.

 

Also, I've gone through about a grand worth of chemicals now, and I'm awaiting another delivery of the base elements which go-into creating this magnificent material.

 

i'll quote a section from my recipe so you can get a better idea of the process:

9) Once gel has set' date=' soak under ethanol for 24hrs.

 

10) Replace ethanol and allow to soak for 5-7days, changing ethanol every 36hrs

 

11) Supercritically dry the gel.

a) Transfer gel into the super critical dryer (at your own risk).

b) Replace the atmosphere with CO2 (at your own risk, lol).

c) Begin to heat the atmosphere in the dryer. (you're not reading this are you?)

d) Heat the CO2 past its critical point (31.1°C and 72.9 bars) to ~45°C . (goodluck)

e) Maintaining a pressure of ~100 bars. (???)

f) Depressurize at ~7 bar h-1. (profit)

 

12) If you're still alive, remove gel from the supercritical dryer and machine to spec. [/quote']

 

 

 

As a poit of reference the tiny dryer I have now with a chamber just 0.8"x0.8"x1" (made from a high-pressure pipe X joint) ran about $800 with all the valves, fittings, gauges, and such.

 

The dryer I'm currently using is based off this reference:

helios-supercritical-dryer-ref.jpg

***THESE ARE NOT HOME DEPOT FITTINGS!

THEY ARE SPECIALIZED HIGH PRESSURE FITTINGS!

DO NOT TRY TO BUILD A SUPER CRITICAL DRYER WITHOUT EXTREME CAUTION!***

 

The big dryer I'm working on is seeing some extreme manufacturing, redundancy, composites, and fittings... I wont be blowing it - I'n fact I plan to start selling Aerogel monoliths (nomenclature for big pieces of this stuff) to offset the incredible project costs.

 

 

 

Since the Aerogel is taking longer than expected...

I'll let you in on the next step

...LEDs are so 2010.

 

I decree that 2011 be the year of radioactive isotope case lighting!

helios-tritium-inserts-01.jpg

 

Various pieces of custom formed Tritium as well as off the shelf tritium inserts will be the illumination feature for Helios.

 

Tritium requires no "charging" and glows entirely passively without the need for power or electricity of any kind.

 

Gun buffs may have seen this stuff before in high-end tactical sights.

helios-tritium-inserts-02.png

 

Read more on the stuff here: http://www.mbmicrotec.com

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