Monday, June 18, 2012

water to burn

When I was in junior high, I belonged to the science club.  Saturdays all the “A” students and a few geek “D” students (that’s me) loaded up for field trips.  One trip was to a lab specializing in cement.  They had vaults of core samples, some in water, some frozen, some at room temp, cylinders of cement about 4” diameter in various lengths.  The cores cut from bridges, hiways, dams, building foundations, runways you name it.  From time to time they get one out and break it in a machine that can tell how much energy it took to fail, and in what way it failed.  With this info they could forecast the life of our infrastructure.  I remember from that visit a couple of things, some cement gets brittle, so it breaks easier, and some cement types kind of rot and the edges just crumble away  Cement is not forever, extreme temperatures, vibrations, humidity, salts, chemicals, gases, all contribute to speed it’s ultimate failure.

A few days ago I was stalking some industrial/technical fossil fuel sites when I read warnings coming from within the industry sounding an alarm about cement.  If you left the remote across the room you may not be able to avoid one of those industry propaganda adverts that tell you how wonderful and safe it will be to dig up carbon and throw it in the air, they often include a microsecond view of a drawing showing how pipes extend below the ground water and cement is pumped in around the pipes to seal off the gas and chemicals rise to the surface or the water table.  And, in perfect advertising logic, since they have a nice drawing of it, and the lady smiles, then that’s all the proof you need.  Right?  Some in the industry are saying the cement will fail, it must fail, that’s the law of cement physics, and when (not if) it will allow gas and chemicals (in the event they did not already rise as we know they are doing in many locations) will percolate to the surface.   Fracking is a disaster now, it will continue to be a disaster for decades to come as the cement seals fail with age.

Can anyone dispute the fact that gaskets and seals fail, be it on your engine block, garage door, or a glob of cement a mile down surfing the pressurized caustic earthquake and tectonic wave action in the earths fluidic crust?      All this is OK if you’re an oil company, or an absentee land owner living high off the lease payments. 


  1. Well, with the selling out of all of our politicians there's really no one left to complain to because if we elect new and different reps and senators they'll sell out also. The law makes it too easy for them to do so. So, I for one, feel there's not much to be done about it until things start failing. Then, perhaps people's eyes will open and something will be done--if it's not too late.
    Regardless, it is good to see someone talking about the fracking who understands.

  2. Rubye Jack;
    I don't understand fracking competely, but I read enough from industry and environmental sites I have a good idea of how it's done, and a fair idea of what the results of it are and will be. Aside from the pollution there is another problem. It is driving the price very low. Well, this is both good and bad. Good that the country can have low price local energy. Bad that it is subsidized. Bad that it is low enough that it risks pushing advances in wind and solar out of business as happened 30ish years ago. Good that it does not pollute but 1/2 the CO2 as coal, and without particles of soot. Bad that if we switch to natural gas over alternatives we will continue to poison our water and fill famr houses with gas. Bad that like coal gas needs water to produce steam, all energy that boils water for turbines is a net loss of ground water. And it goes on.
    Industry and wealthy people own much of the government at the moment thats clear. We can test it by calling the Senators office and asking to talk to him.
    I have enjoyed looking at your blog, I am glad you find this interesting enough to contribute.

  3. And now we aren't going to get a transportation bill because the idoits in Washington can't cooperate and fucking legislate.

    I wonder what that does to I-69 from Bloomiington to Indianapolis?


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