Tuesday, April 8, 2014

INDN 341: Materials Research

Since the deadline for this proof of concept is looming, I decided to get down into the physical stuff. One of the most important aspects of my design is the functionality, and getting it to work properly. The proof of concept is all about showing how your project could be done, and to show that it can actually be done.

Eventually this project will develop in a full-blown group project, so I need to have all the data on the whole thing if my project gets picked for creation. Since I'm going to be creating a shower of water, I want to use something that will work well with that medium. I don't want to spray people with ink and then have them hate me, but a small amount of water most people can deal with.

Image acquired from: www.c-spray.com

I discovered this awesome stuff called water-sensitive paper. When exposed to water droplets, the spots where the aqueous drops touched goes blue (from an original yellow). It's used a lot in agriculture to test the consistency of pesticide/fungicide spraying. I think it has the potential to be perfect for my project. If I used this stuff as the backing paper for the installation, when the user sprays the water creating a stark silhouette on the paper. Then they could inscribe their confession onto the paper and then hang it up.

To test the potential of the spraying system, I went out and got a cheap pressure sprayer. (It was only $13, damn that's cheap!) It had a long straight rod that acted as the spraying wand. To get this facing the angle I wanted, I had to create a bend in the metal piping of the wand. I did this by running the pipe between rollers until it had the curvature that I wanted it to.

By pumping the handle of the canister, I can create high air pressure which forces the water out through the nozzle when the trigger is squeezed. I discovered this can also be emulated by plugging a high pressure air hose into it. When I say plug, I really mean frantically hold hand over hole, with air hose clasped tightly in fist. That part was fun. But it does work. By creating pressure, regardless of where it comes from, the spray wand is able to work.

I gave the whole set-up a test on my hand onto a sheet of cardboard. As you can see, it actually works pretty well! Hopefully I'll test the whole thing on my head soon too.

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