CO2 enrichment 'for dummies'

scottward

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Oct 26, 2007
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I was thinking the other day, wouldn't it be handy if the whole CO2 enrichment (diffusion, concentration, circulation etc etc) thing could be explained in a 'for dummies' style?

Obviously no offence intended with the 'for dummies' bit!

Imagine trying to explain the concept to somebody who doesn't know anything about it by using analogies with other real-world objects to explain how the whole CO2 thing works.

For example, when describing electronics to somebody, the 'garden hose' analogy works very well - whereby the current is the water flowing through the hose, resistance is a kink in the hose etc etc.

Can we do something similar with CO2 such that when explaining it to newcomers they can readily understand the difference components/concepts and there importance?

Let's pretend I'm trying to explain it to my grandmother....

Scott.
 

scottward

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Oct 26, 2007
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We could start of talking about the importance of evenly distributing the CO2 through the water (initially pretending, in this hypothetical tank, that there aren't any plants in it). Could we think of the CO2 as drops of 'ink' rather than a gas, just to start off with? We would want to evenly distribute this ink (CO2) throughout the tank such that the water is uniformly tinted with the colouration. Obviously the better the circulation in the tank, the more efficiently the ink will be distributed througout the tank. Increase the rate of ink and the water gets darker in colour (a certain 'darkness' could related to a certain level, ppm, of CO2).

Is this 'ink' concept a good analogy to start off with? Obviously there are side issues like surface turbulance, water temperature etc, but I think we could discount these at least initially.

Does CO2 difuse through water as easily as ink? Or is a bit more like oil? ;-)

Scott.
 

VaughnH

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Both ink and CO2 go into solution with the water, unlike oil, so the analogy is pretty good. Now you need an analogy for the loss of ink at the water surface, and the absorption of much of it by plants. I suppose filter paper could equal the plants, but I'm not sure what works for the surface.
 

scottward

Guru Class Expert
Oct 26, 2007
958
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Brisbane, Australia
VaughnH;37171 said:
Both ink and CO2 go into solution with the water, unlike oil, so the analogy is pretty good. Now you need an analogy for the loss of ink at the water surface, and the absorption of much of it by plants. I suppose filter paper could equal the plants, but I'm not sure what works for the surface.

Hi VaughnH - thanks for embracing my little idea here!

How close is the way ink disperses in water to the way CO2 disperses in water? If, hypothetically, CO2 did show up as a colour once dissolved in our water (I know this wouldn't be a good think of course), would it behave exactly the same way as ink does? I'm guessing that it probably does?

As you mentioned I now need something to act as an 'ink consumer' in the same way that the plants do.

To keep things simple, I could assume that all the plants in this hypothetical scenario are all the same and have the same uptake rate.

Perhaps bags of activated charcoal positioned in the tank?

But I have to remember - our dummies need to also know what activated charcoal is!! ;-)

Scott.
 

shoggoth43

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Well, if your "ink" is instead something like tinted rubbing alcohol then you have it. The "ink" evaporates out of the water all by itself so you keep having to add more. Not quite accurate since anything evaporating out will leave behind the color additive, but you could introduce it as a Concept #2. i.e. "If we replace the colored ink with something smelly like rubbing alcohol or ammonia..."

-
S
 

scottward

Guru Class Expert
Oct 26, 2007
958
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Brisbane, Australia
shoggoth43;37189 said:
Well, if your "ink" is instead something like tinted rubbing alcohol then you have it. The "ink" evaporates out of the water all by itself so you keep having to add more. Not quite accurate since anything evaporating out will leave behind the color additive, but you could introduce it as a Concept #2. i.e. "If we replace the colored ink with something smelly like rubbing alcohol or ammonia..."

-
S

Yeah, I was thinking something along those lines myself.

If I visualize the CO2 entering the water as drops of ink (or tinted alcohol), I can fully appreciate how the rate at which it is injected into the tank and how well it is circulated comes into play.