Alicat Scientific was happy to exhibit our portable flow calibrators for the first time at the National Ambient Air Monitoring Conference in Atlanta last week. We met many wonderful people who are helping to make our outdoor air more breathable and contaminant-free for the rest of us!
At NAAMC, we debuted a “How fast can you flow?” contest, in which conference attendees competed to induce the highest peak flow rate through our portable flow calibrator. When the steel ball is held by an individual, the warmth from his or her hands heats the ball and the air inside it, causing its volume to expand. Since there is no other way out, the air flows through the tube to the flow calibrator, which measures the flow rate. Thanks to Alicat’s Whisper technology, the very low pressure of these flows is not lost going through the flow meter.
As the heat continues to transfer from a person’s hands to the air inside the ball, the flow rate increases until it peaks as the transfer rate slows down. When the ball is released, and the heat source removed, the flow rate dwindles as the ball begins to cool. Flow ultimately reverses direction as the air returns to ambient temperatures and compresses inside the now-cooling ball. Alicat’s bidirectional flow measurement reveals these directional changes in real time. The whole system reaches equilibrium when the steel and the air inside it have returned to ambient air temperature.
During this contest, we found that an individual’s peak induced flow rate was influenced by a number of factors, including current ambient air temperature, the surface temperature of the individual’s hands, the surface area of the hands and the time since last flow attempt. Higher flow rates often were achieved by people with larger hands and/or hotter body temperature, which tends to increase throughout the day and peak in the evening. On the other hand, the first attempts in the morning benefited from a long overnight equilibration period and lower ambient air temperatures.
And the winner is…
Alicat Scientific is proud to congratulate Tim D. for winning Alicat’s “How fast can you flow?” contest, and a free portable flow calibrator, with a peak flow rate of 43.7 sccm.
The top five finalists were:
- Tim D., 43.7 sccm
- Gary C., 37.5 sccm
- Seth C., 34.1 sccm
- Scott D., 33.3 sccm
- Craig P., 32.8 sccm