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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: NBC News WACO "update"
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 93 03:50:37 GMT (Jim De Arras) writes:
> (Eric A. Schwartz) writes:
>> Your understanding of heat transfer is lacking.  The kiln was a uniform
>> cavity of approximately 400 degrees.  The air was the same temperature
>> as the surfaces.  Air simply does not transfer heat energy nearly so 
>> well as surfaces do.  
>Of course.  But air was the transfer medium for heating both the humans
>and the bullets in Waco.

Jim, is it just me or are you too noticing that the most screaming, 
agonizing, truly ignorant posts seem to come from RPI?

Eric, to use an overworked term, you don't have the faintest clue and have
been caught telling an urban legend as fact.  Those of us who have worked
in hot industrial environments are laughing our asses off at your 
ignorance.  Let me give you an example.

Back in the 70s when I was working at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, we
had to change a thermocouple on one of the main steam pipes.  These
36" pipes that carry 630 degree steam are insulated but since the steam
is radioactive, are run in a heavy concrete tunnel.  The tunnel environment
normally runs about 250 degrees F.  The plant had to be shut down to 
change this thermocouple but it had to be restarted within a couple of
hours or else it would sink into a Xenon well and require several days
to restart.  The procedure was therefore to shut the plant down, run
the ventillation fans until the ambient dropped to no more than 160 degrees
and then the entry was made.  This job was considered hazardous enough that
volunteers were sought.  That would be me.  Let me describe to you what
such an entry was like.

First came the heavy cloth anti-contamination coveralls taped at all
joints and to surgical rubber gloves.  Then comes the metallized fabric
heat suit just like you see the firemen wearing on TV.  This was a special
suit designed for prolonged stays.  Small pockets were sewn all over
the inside of this suit into which were placed ice packs.  There was a 
Hilsch air refrigerator that supplied refrigerated air to a special 
full face supplied air respirator and to the arms and gloves 
of the suit.  And attached to the belt was an air bell designed to 
go off if triggered or if I fell down.  This would alert the safety 
team to come in and rescue me.

During the pre-entry safety briefing, we were given the details of the 
hazards involved.  One of the more serious hazards was to breathe
the 160 degree air.  As little as one lungfull of such air would blister
the bronchae and other lung tissue.  The majority of reported cases
resulted in pneumonia and a significant number of deaths.  If the air
supply failed, we were instructed to try to hold our breaths while we ran
to the exit.

When we entered, the control room reported ambient temperature - 165.
I entered with a helper whose only duty was to watch over my safety.
The job entailed climbing down a 3 rung ladder, walking about 50 yards,
disconnecting two wires from the thermocouple peckerhead, unscrewing
the peckerhead, replacing said peckerhead, reconnecting the wires and
getting the hell out.  Maximum stay time was 10 minutes.  Both of us
towed a tag line so that if worst came to worst, we could be dragged out.

By the time I walked the 50 yards, I was drenched in sweat and the breathing
mask was burning my face, as were the sleeves of the suit and the back
of the jacket despite the ice packs.  The job took right at 10 minutes.
By the time we got back to the ladder, we both lacked the energy to 
climb it and were in agony from the burns. We were dragged up by the ropes.  
I literally couldn't stand and was helped to the decon area where I was hosed 
with a water hose to help remove the heat and contamination.  As the 
suit was removed, sweat literally poured from the rubber boots.  Several
things became obvious.  First my arms and back were burned pretty severely.
My back later developed water blisters.  Second, all the ice was melted
and many of the packs were hot.  When I weighed in back at the health-physics
office, I had lost over 15 lbs.  

Now, Eric, based on that experience, if you can show me an unprotected
person who can withstand a 400 degree ambient for even a minute, much
less long enough to cook and eat a steak, I'll kiss your ass and won't
even ask you to wash it first.


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