Chas Jones, Ph.D.

Burning trash with water

Burning trash with water

Apparently NASA has some innovative scientists at their disposal.  I have always been one to use water to extinguish fires, but NASA scientists are using water to start fires.  Seriously. They are actually doing experiments on the International Space Station that use water to “consume” or burn organic mater, thus disposing of it…  Using water!

[shaking my head, confused.]

They are compressing water at 217 times atmospheric air pressure (at sea level) and heating to a temperature of 703.4 Fahrenheit, so that it reaches its “supercritical” phase. At this point, water  is not actually a liquid, solid, or a gas, but is more of a liquid-like gas. In this state, water oxidizes organic material on contact (oxidation = burning), but there is no flame.  Strange huh?  The products of the “burning” process is primarily CO2 and water.  Why is this a big deal? Well, it helps space scientists dispose of garbage and sewage.  It ends up that the City of Orlando, Florida is actually using this technology to dispose of municipal waste.  Cool! There are still some complicating factors that NASA is tackling as I type, but check out this video!


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