Brown's gas is the name given to a stoichiometric mixture of oxygen and hydrogen gas (oxyhydrogen), produced by the common-ducted electrolysis of water, as used in machines designed by Bulgarian-born Yull Brown. These machines supply the gas to a type of water torch, used for welding, brazing, and cutting.

It is sometimes claimed by others to have special properties that defy the laws of physics.

Welding Edit

In standard oxy-hydrogen welding (using separate tanks for each gas), the ratio of each gas in the mixture must be very carefully controlled before burning, as excess oxygen will result in oxidation of the metal, and excess hydrogen will result in hydrogen embrittlement.[1]

Since Brown's gas is generated directly from water in a closed container, it is already in the perfect mixture required for this type of welding. Brown's welding devices use water electrolysis in a common chamber to generate a stoichiometric mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, which is then passed through a flash-back arrestor and into a burner, where it is ignited to create a flame.[2]

This oxyhydrogen flame is also more convenient than fuels like acetylene due to the generation of gas on demand, instead of buying and transporting containers of fuel. Brown's gas generators only require a source of water and electrical energy.[1] While acetylene burns at 2670 °C, which is hotter than a hydrogen-air flame (2400 °C), the oxyhydrogen flame theoretically burns at a hotter 3100 °C (according to Brown's patents).[3]

Atomic welding Edit

Brown also describes "atomic welding" in his patents, in which an electric arc is passed through the mixture of gas before burning, so that the gas molecules break into atomic oxygen and hydrogen, using the electrical energy to produce a hotter flame when the atoms recombine ("218,000 cal. per gram mole").[1]

Safety Edit

Usual oxy-hydrogen welding apparatus keeps the gases in separate tanks, due to the danger of explosion if the mixture is ignited inside a container. Brown includes a number of safety devices, however, such as porous plugs that allow gas through but not the heat of a flame, and claims that his welding device is safe. The current is varied so that gas is only generated as it is needed.[1]

Waste disposal Edit

The high temperatures from burning Brown's gas can also be used for the vitrification of incinerator waste, turning the ash into a safer glass-like substance that doesn't leach.[4]

According to a lecture by former New York State assemblyman Dan Haley, a demonstration showed that vitrification of nuclear waste actually reduces the overall radioactivity, even when the resulting glass is smashed into powder. Haley mentions nuclear transmutation and encapsulation as possible causes of this effect. The U.S. Department of Energy also viewed the demonstration, but three months later rejected the technique.[5][6]

Anomalous effects Edit

Many other dubious claims about the gas are made by proponents, such as a "self-adjusting" temperature, in which the flame becomes hotter when directed at tougher materials, but becomes cool when touched briefly by a finger.[7] This has been attributed to misinterpretations of infrared thermometer readings and the flame not emitting enough energy to burn the finger in such a short duration of time.[3]

Brown's gas is claimed to be fundamentally different from oxyhydrogen because it implodes when ignited, rather than exploding. South Korean Hung-Kuk Oh of Ajou University, for instance, claims that the implosion effect cannot be explained by modern physics, and proposes that the effect is caused by a "strong gravitational cavity" from "crystallizing π-bonding of hydrogen".[8] Don Lancaster points out that the effect can be explained simply by the rapid condensation of the resulting steam on the container's walls.[3]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Template:US patent reference
  2. Template:US patent reference
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Don Lancaster (1998-02). "Investigating Brown's gas, a tiny TV generator, and more". Electronics Now 69 (2): pp. 22. Archived from the original on 2013-03-06. 
  4. Vitrification of Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator Fly Ash Using Brown's Gas. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  5. Dan Haley (speaker). (c. 1992) (Google Video). Information on Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal. [Videotape]. Colorado Springs. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  6. Michrowski, A. (1996-09-13). "Advanced transmutation processes and their application for the decontamination of radioactive nuclear wastes". Proceedings of the Second International Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Conference. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  7. Rodgers, Will, Clearwater man puts technology to work., Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 6 June 2007. (highlight)
  8. Oh, Hung-Kuk (1999-10-15). "Some comments on implosion and Brown gas". Journal of Materials Processing Technology 95 (1-3): 8-9. 

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