By Amy Kraft
Posting in Design
Futuristic washing machine levitates clothes and cleans them in minutes without the use of water.
The Orbit is a concept waterless washing machine that levitates clothes and cleans them with dry ice in minutes.
The machine is powered by a battery-filled ring that produces a magnetic field. A superconductive, supercooled metal laundry basket inside of the ring is chilled using liquid nitrogen. As the temperature drops, the basket floats within the ring.
Then sublimated dry ice is fired at high pressure into the dirty clothes. The CO2 reacts with the dirt in the clothing and breaks it down. Dirt gets filtered out through a tube and the CO2 is removed and re-frozen.
"At this point it's just a concept by designer Elie Ahovi, but it's not hard to imagine these types of cleanerballs in apartments of the future. Anything that will cut down on time spent doing laundry."
Photo: Elie Ahovi
Feb 19, 2012
Liquid Nitrogen... dry ice... CO2... Sounds like an energy hog that produces greenhouse gas... one that the EPA has labeled a pollutant.
I am so tired of reading chemistry double speak. One more mention of dihydrogenmonoxide or sublimated DryIce and I will scream!
Actually, in theory, what is being proposed is a large supercritical extractor. Liquid CO2 is a fairly powerful solvent, on the order of dichloromethane or diethyl ether. You can use it at room temperature and only use the cryogenic part for recovering the CO2. That much liquid nitrogen has some problems. First, you would need regular replacement. Even the best dewars blow off a few percent per day. That can get expensive. Second, a breach in either the LN2 or CO2 can suffocate you and your family fairly quickly. Third, if any part of the LN2 side is exposed to the air for a long time, at least once a year you need to let the entire system come to room temperature or risk an explosion. Oxygen condenses from the air into the liquid nitrogen and you get this blue layer under the nitrogen that is a very strong oxidizer. Anything organic (read organic chemical, not food) that it touches may explode. I just can't see it. You could probably pay someone to do your laundry for less than the energy cost to maintain the system.
No. A concept is an idea apparently viable using existing data - until new data can either confirm or disprove it. Using either liquid nitrogen or frozen CO2 on synthetic fabrics - nylon, polyester, acrylics would necessarily freeze them, causing them to become very brittle and to break with any tumbling motion necessary to remove dirt from the fabric fibers and the clothing mass - this is already known information. This isn't a concept - it's just very incompetent proposal - other wise known as a bad idea. That's before we discuss the environmental impacts of another leaky CO2 driven technology - or the huge amount of energy wasted on it - compared to plain soap and water.
Can you imagine every house in the US, China and India with one of these wash machines? Looks like an environment bomb.