There’s an old saying by a wise fluid handling guru that goes something like
this: “Fluid engineers are only as good as their tools.” Or maybe it was a carpenter that coined that phrase … I’m not sure. But the sentiment is the same. In the spirit of this mantra, here I’ve provided a short list of fluid handling tools that have been recently released or updated with links to where you can find more information. These resources can be used to help you start building your own fluid handling toolkit. If you have additional resources you’d like to recommend, send me an e-mail, and I’ll mention them in future issues of the magazine.
EPA Updates Water Quality Monitoring Tool
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, www.epa.gov) released a new version of its acclaimed watershed management program, making it easier to use and more readily available. “Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources” (BASINS) is a multipurpose system that integrates environmental data, analytical tools, and modeling programs. BASINS is designed to help regions, states, and local agencies develop cost-effective approaches to watershed management.
NIST Updates Popular Fluid Modeling Database
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, www.nist.gov) released an expanded and upgraded version of its “Reference Fluid Thermodynamic and Transport Properties Database,” a computer package for calculating the properties and modeling the behavior of fluids. Data on key components of alternative fuels, such as ethanol and hydrogen, are among the new additions to the latest version. The database provides critically evaluated property values needed to evaluate fluids and optimize related equipment and processes. (See page 8 for more on this story).
Corrosion Software Helps Plants Save Energy
A new software tool that predicts corrosionin advanced materials could save the chemical, petroleum, and power generation industries up to $1 billion in annual cost and enable the use of advanced energy-saving alloys, according to the Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP, www.eere.energy.gov). The tool, named the “Corrosion Analyzer,” was developed by OLI Systems (www.olisystems.com) and Southwest Research Institute (www.swri.edu) with support from the ITP. It is designed to help plant personnel evaluate advanced energy-saving materials in real-world environments and selects an optimal alloy for specific applications.
DOE Program for Industrial Energy Savings
The Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (www.eere.energy.gov/industry/) is touting its Save Energy Now initiative as a tool to help American businesses, factories, and manufacturing facilities save energy in the face of diminished supplies and rising energy costs. As part of this effort, the DOE is sending teams of qualified efficiency experts to the nation’s most energy-intensive manufacturing facilities to identify immediate opportunities to save energy and money. In addition, the DOE is providing information to plants, detailing ways to reduce natural gas and electricity use.
NIST Launches Ionic Liquids Database
The NIST published an online database, detailing the physical properties of ionic liquid solvents. The solvents, which are characterized by salts that melt below the boiling point of water, are gaining significant interest from chemical engineers and others designing green industrial processes. Ionic liquids are unique because they don’t have a measurable vapor pressure at room temperature. Ionic liquids have essentially no vapor emissions, which, according to NIST, makes them excellent candidates to replace hazardous, air-polluting organic solvents.