giant vat of non-newtonian fluid

giant vat of non-newtonian fluid

Postby dagfooyo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:00 am

You know that cool stuff you get when you mix corn starch and water? The stuff that acts like a solid when you move it fast and a liquid when you move it slowly?

We want to set up a GIANT VAT of it on the playa next year, and get people to run across it as a "rite of passage" thing. We'll do it up like a parody of those corporate retreats where they walk on coals, with tiki torches, mock inspirational speakers etc.

Visitors will get a chance to try and dash across the gloop without falling in - and we'll have a hose ready to slosh off anybody who does drop into the goo, accidentally or on purpose :-)

So far it's just myself and my roomate who've come up with the idea. We camp with Black Rock Roller Disco so this vat'll be right on the esplanade. We need volunteers to help plan it out, build the components, set it up, and of course help with the cost and transport of large quantities of corn starch and water :-)

You know you've always wanted to run across a big vat of non-newtonian fluid. Help make it happen at burning man!

Bonus idea, if we get a ton of support for this: Line the bottom of the vat with giant subwoofers - then blast super bass up into it and turn it into the world's largest dancing fluid sculpture! (search "corn starch speaker" on youtube to see what I'm talking about)
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Postby lucky420 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:05 am

sounds fun to do and watch as others try. Keep us posted and i will see what i may be able to help out with. Where are you coming from?
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Postby jkisha » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:14 am

Hey, I'd have fun trying to run across it.

I only have one question: How do you anticipate keeping all that corn starch residue/goop off the playa?

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Postby weirdscience » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:30 am

jkisha wrote:Hey, I'd have fun trying to run across it.

I only have one question: How do you anticipate keeping all that corn starch residue/goop off the playa?

JK
ide say he tarps the bottom of it with about 10 feet on each side and a little evap pond where u hose people off
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Postby Tin Halo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:40 am

Yes, and then at the end of the Burn, how do you get it off the playa?
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Postby jkisha » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:44 am

weirdscience wrote:
jkisha wrote:Hey, I'd have fun trying to run across it.

I only have one question: How do you anticipate keeping all that corn starch residue/goop off the playa?

JK
ide say he tarps the bottom of it with about 10 feet on each side and a little evap pond where u hose people off


I'd say that's a start. But I'll bet this would be a popular event, especially being that it will be right on the esplanade. He'd probably need to make arrangements for the 'rinse' water to be hauled out. Definitely needs to spend time on thinking about fund raising and logistics.

Not trying to put a damper on the project, it has potential to be a great attraction. But as with all great things, it won't be as easy as it appears on first blush.

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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:22 am

I think this can be done and is a great idea.
Depending on how "huge" the vat is, you'll probably have to make arrangements with the water truck people to get your water.
That part is easy, you just need money.
I'd start by researching whether the greywater hauling truck people can and/or will haul out the corn starch/water mess.
If not, you can obtain a trash pump (gas powered dirty-water-full-of-debris pump) and pump the vat out yourself into barrels.
A hot tub is generally something like 400 gallons and is a lot smaller than I'm envisioning your vat, so I'm guessing you're talking about thousands of gallons of water, especially when you include hosing off a bunch of people.
I'm not sure but I think any public water immersion tank or rinsing station will also have health department issues to make sure you get squared away too.
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Postby dagfooyo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:28 pm

Yeah, we're well aware that it's gonna be all kinds of messy and is going to require serious precaution to prevent the corn starch from getting loose.

Weirdscience, that's spot on with what we were thinking.

lucky420, we're based in SF.

Captain Goddammit, seriously awesome ideas - I hadn't considered enlisting the water truck or the greywater people, if those will work that solves the two biggest logistics problems in one go, as long as we can raise the money for it :-) And if that doesn't work, the trash pump sounds like the way to go.

Yay - I'm glad people are into this idea - we're totally gonna make it happen :-) I'll keep you all posted with further developments!
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Postby Tin Halo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:38 pm

You could set up an area just off the side, where the people who don't make it across--and subsequently find themselves starched up--could cruise over to a series of lawnchairs and basically make a mudbath drying station for them. Y'know, good for your skin and all that.
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Postby dagfooyo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:41 pm

[quote="Tin Halo"]You could set up an area just off the side, where the people who don't make it across--and subsequently find themselves starched up--could cruise over to a series of lawnchairs and basically make a mudbath drying station for them. Y'know, good for your skin and all that.[/quote]

Totally! That would save a lot of water since most of the gloop would run off on its own given time.
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Postby jkisha » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:18 pm

dagfooyo wrote:
Tin Halo wrote:You could set up an area just off the side, where the people who don't make it across--and subsequently find themselves starched up--could cruise over to a series of lawnchairs and basically make a mudbath drying station for them. Y'know, good for your skin and all that.


Totally! That would save a lot of water since most of the gloop would run off on its own given time.


Actually, according to my understanding or the 'leave no trace' policy, you couldn't do this. Just turning the playa into a mud bath itself would leave a huge scar and then you have the corn starch solution mixed in to boot. You're not even supposed to dump water on the playa other than on the roads, and it's supposed to be sprinkled. One year, coming in I was yelled at for driving behind the truck that sprays water on the roads to keep the dust down because of scaring. I thought I was being considerate and driving in a place that would keep the dust down.

I think Captain Goddammit is on the right track in his thinking on this.

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Postby Bob » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:15 pm

One obstacle is the health dept because it's essentially public bathing.

Doubt your average septic contractor is going to want to haul anything like cornstarch. A dump might take it if you can solidify it, otherwise might have to drum it and dispose as hazardous waste.

You haven't put two seconds worth of thought into this at all, have you?
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Postby dagfooyo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:34 pm

[quote="jkisha"][quote="dagfooyo"][quote="Tin Halo"]You could set up an area just off the side, where the people who don't make it across--and subsequently find themselves starched up--could cruise over to a series of lawnchairs and basically make a mudbath drying station for them. Y'know, good for your skin and all that.[/quote]

Totally! That would save a lot of water since most of the gloop would run off on its own given time.[/quote]

Actually, according to my understanding or the 'leave no trace' policy, you couldn't do this. Just turning the playa into a mud bath itself would leave a huge scar and then you have the corn starch solution mixed in to boot. You're not even supposed to dump water on the playa other than on the roads, and it's supposed to be sprinkled. One year, coming in I was yelled at for driving behind the truck that sprays water on the roads to keep the dust down because of scaring. I thought I was being considerate and driving in a place that would keep the dust down.

I think Captain Goddammit is on the right track in his thinking on this.

JK[/quote]

jkisha, I think either you or I misunderstood what Tin Halo was suggesting. I was imagining an area covered with plastic sheeting, basically an evaporation pool but with lawn chairs. The whole point of this is to keep the corn starch off the playa.
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Postby dagfooyo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:53 pm

[quote="Bob"]One obstacle is the health dept because it's essentially public bathing.

Doubt your average septic contractor is going to want to haul anything like cornstarch. A dump might take it if you can solidify it, otherwise might have to drum it and dispose as hazardous waste.

You haven't put two seconds worth of thought into this at all, have you?[/quote]

We've been experimenting on a small scale, and the mixture dries out really quickly (in a moist climate no less) so in the desert it should turn to powder in no time and be quite easy to remove.

That's a really good point about the public bathing thing. Can anybody think of a way around this? We could forbid people to sink into the goo but that would take some of the fun out of it and would also be difficult to enforce. We could cover it with a layer of plastic? But then that takes even more of the fun out of it.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:32 pm

How about making it only knee deep? The goal is to make it across? Right? Sinking in knee deep would be a definite indication of failure on the runner and would not possibly drown a small person.
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Postby Bob » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:27 am

Try enabling BBCode in your profile.

Can't speak for the health dept, but last I heard public access to showers or anything the size of a kiddie pool or larger constituted public bathing. Ask the theme camp people for clarification.
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Postby ibdave » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:58 am

Bob wrote:Try enabling BBCode in your profile.

Can't speak for the health dept, but last I heard public access to showers or anything the size of a kiddie pool or larger constituted public bathing. Ask the theme camp people for clarification.


Yup, Bob is right. unless you make a new batch up when the current goo is not considered safe for contact. I think 1999 was the 1st year open shared "wet" area's got shut down. They said in the case of the rain tree in 98' which ended up being a mud bath was not safe for people and the rest is history. Even now swimming pools are not allowed even with proper filtering and sanitizing, and that's easy to do even on the Playa.

Like the idea, but lots of thinking and planning for sure.

8) 8) 8)

start saving those plastic shopping bags and use them for booties might help make it stay cleaner longer.... :idea: :idea: :idea:
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Postby jkisha » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:04 am

Bob wrote:Try enabling BBCode in your profile.

Can't speak for the health dept, but last I heard public access to showers or anything the size of a kiddie pool or larger constituted public bathing. Ask the theme camp people for clarification.


I'm guessing this is probably only going to be about 6" to 12" deep max, no? And probably like 3' across and maybe 10' long or so? Would that count as a pool or shower? I would anticipate more people's feet just sinking in to the bottom than people actually falling over. Am I wrong on this? I've never run over a solid liquid before.

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Postby sputnik » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:30 am

For those who want to know what this looks like

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GWhOLorDtw[/youtube]
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Postby jkisha » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:30 pm

This was closer to the setup I was picturing:

http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2 ... =fullstory

Plus it explains how they went about doing it and how much cornstarch they needed and how they mixed it, etc.

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Postby sputnik » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:07 pm

That looks totally doable.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:25 pm

It's going to be uber messy.

We did one of these for our Idiotretard. had a 6" by 1' by 10' trench, filled it with the junk and had people run across. Well generally speaking, everyone sinks the first time because it is so strange. when you sink you get covered in sticky white goo. It also has the tendency to splash a bit.
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Postby Bob » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:40 pm

Hosing people off is definitely where state health would expect potable/sanitized water in approved containers, if not the entire douche pit.

But the moop factor is where you're going to piss off DPW. A few ounces of that crap escaping your tarp arrangement is a potential red-flag cleanup issue. Anywhere else, you could hose stray gobs into the gutter, but the playa has no sewers (yet).
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Postby Bounce530 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:46 pm

TomServo wrote:Pickles are cucumbers soaked in EVIL!
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:03 pm

neat idea, serious logistical and legal issues (as have been pointed out).

The MOOP issue can be beaten with enough barrier material (2-3 tarp or billboard vinyl layers say covering your entire area, with a large carpeted zone on top of that).

The Health Dept. issue is trickier. I imagine even foot contact between persons in a 6" deep bath would be considered public bathing, and thus forbidden (and if so, they WILL shut you down). So you again have to have a barrier between the people and the stuff (baggies?) That would also help with the MOOP/hosing down part (although unless you re-use them, they will quickly become a MOOP problem of their own, and if you re-use them, there is that pesky Health Dept. again...)

Hauling the stuff out is another issue. I doubt the grey water folks will pump it, but if they did their prices start at $1 per gallon. If they won't pump and haul it, you have to do it yourself. You can find used 275 gallon bulk liquid tanks for ~$100, a few of those plus a trailer and a good rig (and pumps, etc) and you can haul it out yourself.

Assuming you have 2 big rigs and trailers, this is doable for maybe $2-3k (get the carpet for free on Craig's List). The baggies for the feet are the hard part IMHO.
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Postby Bob » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:54 pm

And you're assuming people aren't going into the douche pit just to decorate themselves for the day.
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Postby dagfooyo » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:02 pm

Great analysis, thanks everybody! I like the idea of the baggies, that sounds like a good solution - would require a lot of 'em though, two per person, plus rubber bands or something to hold 'em on people's feet. I wonder if we dunked the baggies in sanitizing liquid in between uses if that would satisfy the health department. 'Cuz otherwise that's a TON of baggies.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:12 am

When I said it was a great idea and could be done, just to clarify, I was assuming you understood it will cost a LOT of money to make happen.
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Postby velocirafter » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:16 am

dagfooyo wrote:Great analysis, thanks everybody! I like the idea of the baggies, that sounds like a good solution - would require a lot of 'em though, two per person, plus rubber bands or something to hold 'em on people's feet. I wonder if we dunked the baggies in sanitizing liquid in between uses if that would satisfy the health department. 'Cuz otherwise that's a TON of baggies.


You could use those blue shoe cover things you see at public swimming pools, no idea how much they would cost though.

The speaker thing would be cool even if people couldnt walk across, maybe you could put drops of food colouring in and watch it spread out.
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Postby ibdave » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:53 pm

velocirafter wrote:
dagfooyo wrote:Great analysis, thanks everybody! I like the idea of the baggies, that sounds like a good solution - would require a lot of 'em though, two per person, plus rubber bands or something to hold 'em on people's feet. I wonder if we dunked the baggies in sanitizing liquid in between uses if that would satisfy the health department. 'Cuz otherwise that's a TON of baggies.


You could use those blue shoe cover things you see at public swimming pools, no idea how much they would cost though.

The speaker thing would be cool even if people couldnt walk across, maybe you could put drops of food colouring in and watch it spread out.


and then pipe in some gas and then make the flames dance...... :shock: 8) 8)
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