Ontario weather changes faster than a set of tires in a Formula 1 pit stop. It can go from Louisiana Bayou to Bengal wet season to Greenland coast all in about two hours. This spring has been especially annoying, with nearly every day providing the experience of visiting a new climate, especially if those climates have periods of random rain.
It turns out that rain is just water (who knew?). Water is great, if you’re one of the plants or flowers in my front garden with names I cannot pronounce. Dolichandrone looks great, but I just call it “that one with the white flowers.” A law needs to be passed so that only physicists can name things, like plants, dinosaurs and chemicals. Their flair for under-complication needs to be shared with other scientists:
Physicist Steve: Hey Bert, you know how our calculations show the universe appears to be full of more matter than we can see. What do you think we should call this mysterious, unseen matter?
Physicist Bert: How about Dark Matter?
Physicist Steve: Epic! Why didn’t I think of that?
Physicist Bert: Beats me, but while we’re on the topic, I have something I’ve been working on I haven’t quite been able to put a name to.
Physicist Steve: Okay, let’s hear it.
Physicist Bert: I’ve discovered a couple new types of quarks, you know, the building blocks of protons and neutrons. One seems to exist for a strangely long time, and the other one I discovered after a new equation worked like a charm. Any ideas?
Physicist Steve: Hmm … how about Strange Quark for the first one and Charm Quark for the second?
Physicist Bert: Brilliant, I love them!
I doubt, however, “The One With the White Flowers” would have stuck as a valid name for the Dolich-whatever. Anyway, as usual, I am off track. This blog is supposed to be about water. Spring is here, it rains in the spring, and water is bad for hydraulics. You know the drill.
What you really need to know is how to get rid of it. I’ll break it down like this; there is the expensive way to remove nearly all water from hydraulic oil, including the humidity dissolved within the oil, or there is the cheap way to do it and be lucky to remove all the free water.
To remove the dissolved water from oil is an expensive circus trick requiring some fancy machinery. The less-expensive method uses a mass transfer dewatering system to use air introduced into the oil to cause the dissolved water to vaporize into that air. For twelve large, you can have this type of machine in your shop to remove 90% of the humidity in your oil, including all free water.
The more expensive unit is almost three times the investment (that’s about thirty large, if you don’t feel like doing your large math), but will also remove up to 95% of the dissolved gases in addition to the 90% of dissolved water. This system uses vacuum dehydration, which heats up the hydraulic fluid while exposing it to a serious partial vacuum. Liquid water normally converts to gaseous state a hundred degrees centigrade, but can boil at thirty degrees at a vacuum level of 28.9 inches of mercury. The vacuum also pulls out that gaseous H2O - as well as dissolved atmospheric gases - out of the oil. Less oxygen in the oil means less oxidation, as it turns out.
Finally, if you want the cheap way to remove just free water, you can use the basic water absorbing filter element. Free water is any water not dissolved, moving around as droplets or even clouds. If you can see it, it’s free water. The water absorbing elements are typically a cellulose fibre or similar product, and all you can do is essentially hook up the filter and let it run continuously to exchange the oil many times in hope of getting as much water out as possible. We’ve done our own testing with these elements, and we’ve been able to make cloudy oil go clear. These filters are typically low quality in the particle removal category, but they can “clog” with water quickly which results in increased backpressure the same as if they’ve been clogged with particles.
Okay, enough about aqua for today. It’s supposed to rain here tomorrow, so I don’t have to worry about watering the “Pink, Tall-ish” flowers or the “Purple Ones the Cats Make Beds On.”