Sunday, November 13, 2005


Two Pictures Today

Every day many transport trucks pass through the center of Pell City on Hwy 231. One of the trucks that most impress me is in the picture above. This particular truck is carrying an empty container on its North bound return to be refilled. To see what it carries on the South bound journey, look closely at the label in the next photo.
My understanding is that these containers travel in the neighborhood of 150 miles each direction, and they appear to pass through about one every six hours. This liquid, by the way, will soon become engine blocks and heads. Perhaps your car once passed through Pell City in its molten state.

How about some fun with numbers?

If the Aluminum is at the point of turning solid, about 660 Deg C, how much energy would it release when it does solidify?

Let's say the amount of Aluminum in the container is approximately 2 meters (m) high and 2m in diameter. That is a volume of 6.28 cu m.

2 x 1^2 x PI = 6.28 cu m

and with a density of 2698 Kg/cu m, that is 16943 Kg of Aluminum.

Now, the heat of fusion is about 10.67 kJ/mol.
There are 26.98 grams in a mole of Aluminum and
.9478 BTU/kJ. So that makes the heat of fusion 0.3748 BTU/g.

10.67 x .9478 / 26.98 = 0.3748

Altogether, for 16943 Kg, that is 6,351,000 BTU, or about the amount of energy in 50 gallons of diesel fuel. Does that seem like a lot?

(Lots of estimates and simplifications in the above. Corrections welcome.)

No corrections here, you are clearly smarter than I am :)
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