Melting the Snow
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Youíll notice that the first snow of the winter, melts very quickly. Why? All summer long, heat has been flowing into the ground from the sidewalk or driveway. It comes out very slowly, and melts what it can.

What if you could make that heat soak in deeper, and store more heat than normal? You can, with the help of specially designed heat pipes that would take more heat, down deeper, and bring it back when you want it? You might even throw away your snow shovel.

Actually, it depends on where you live, so I canít tell you how many pipes, or how deep, but a couple of feet down should do the trick in most places. However, in the far North, permafrost goes down 1500 feet all by itself.

The Alaska Pipeline has heat pipes to keep the permafrost frozen. You just have to use a working fluid that wonít freeze.

Homemade heat pipes are not difficult to make. A pipe is bent as needed, then a wick material, you have to test what you have locally, is used to line the pipe. It can be held against the outer walls, with a spring, or spots of glue as shown. But it should be held against the pipe wall.

Put an extra portion of working fluid, usually water, inside the pipe, then use a propane torch to boil the water, and let it blow out the top until the air has blown out, and the pipe is filled with steam. Put in a smaller tube to make this easier.

Then seal off, the outlet tube.

Check for operation by feeling the pipe, it should be hot all the way up. Then remove the flame, and let the pipe cool off. When you grab it, it should feel cool, as it takes the heat from your hand, and spreads it over the whole pipe.

The heat actually moves via convection, so several methods of returning the water to the top in the summer are shown. Then burry it where you wish.

What happens is that water will boil at a temperature that depends on the pressure. Thatís why clouds form at high altitude. The higher you go, the lower the pressure, and the lower the boiling point of water.

If you boil out all the air, the sealed pipe will allow what water is left inside, to boil at whatever temperature it is, as long as itís above freezing and it isnít so hot that the pipe explodes.

It will also condense at that same temperature. So the heat of vaporization will deposit the heat input from anywhere along the wick, to everywhere else along the pipe.

The concrete or black top is heated by the Sun all summer. That heat is removed by the Heat Pipe, and stored in the earth below. Then in the winter, that heat returns back up the pipes to melt the snow, and let you relax.

Neat huh!




    Thanks for your interest.

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