Thursday, March 17, 2011

Upgrading the tertiary glycol system

Last week one of the huge jobs at SALT was the long-sought tertiary glycol system upgrade.  This is the system responsible for cooling most of the igloos, the tracker & the top hex - the places that need to be kept within +/- 2 degrees of ambient.

The old system was inadequate & so it was always a juggling act to get enough glycol to the places that needed it most at a given time.

Not to mention the awful leaky pipes & general mess of it all...

Pipes run underground from the utility building (the place our glycol calls home), across to the dome.

Where they pop up in the spectrometer room.

From there they go up to the telescope floor (below the structure) before branching off to the igloos & the top end of the telescope.

Serious manual labour was the order of the week as all the old pipes had to be cut up & removed before the new ones could be installed.

This involved some spectacularly hard-to-reach places that left everyone aching & grumbling for days about their now-apparent decrepitude.

&, of course, plenty of glycol ended up all over the place...

An impressive heap of old pipes & junk now adorns the area between the dome & the utility building, perhaps to serve as a warning to any other sub-systems that just aren't quite making it.

E-Bay time?

Or maybe these could work as a nest site for a colony of carmine bee-eaters?

The boys chose a tasteful shade of blue for the new PVC pipes.

These now run aross the roof of the spectrometer room, instead of around the perimeter.

Before popping up below the telescope pier.

The whole ensemble's subtly accented with charcoal coloured corners & connectors...

Just Splendid - wouldn't you say?!

Once everyone had regained most of their mobility, a celebration was in order - extra credit going to Eben for leading a hugely successful mission.

Although we managed to miss the "real" fun of SALT's 2nd best ever team-building exercise, Ockert, Henry (see next post) & I were privileged to get to enjoy the glycol-inspired festivities - thank you chaps! :)

As usual, Sutherland obliged with a beautiful sunset & a great night was had...

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