Drying Laundry

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...unless we also added plenty of ice.

After 15 minutes of agitation, I turned off the O'Reilly Factor and went back to the experiment.


We stopped the washer before the spin cycle and pulled the laundry out for another visit with the spring scale.

A spring scale measures weight by indicating how compressed a spring becomes. The spring sits hidden inside this T-shaped tube, with a cross bar (yellow arrow) across the top of it.

The bright brass bar at the bottom is weighed down, compressing the spring, bringing the cross bar along a row of numbers, from zero to 55 lbs.

The saturated laundry weighed 41 lbs.

While the laundry was out of the washer, I was able to fish out some stuff I had left in my pockets. 

My matches had dissolved, but the Turkish Delighter dried out and was fine.

After a final rinse, the spin cycle kicked in for a few minutes, pulling most of the water out of my laundry.

Miraculously, the Gatorade came out of my pranks tee shirt.

I have a plan to keep those sticky, pink stains out of my clothes: From now on I'll fill my sports-bottle with cool, refreshing chlorine bleach.

The damp clothes still weighed 19 lbs., which means that they still contained more than a gallon of water!

I wanted this gallon of water, hidden deep within the fibers of the clothes, to leave immediately!

Here is a photo of 8.3 pounds (3.8 kg) of water boiling on the stove. This should help illustrate how much energy it takes to vaporize a gallon of water.

In scientific circles, this is a well-known (or at least easily calculatable) figure. It is going to take 1,251 kilojoules to bring my 3,786 grams of water to 100C, then it will take another 8,560 kilojoules to convert the water into vapor.

If I used the gas range to heat the water, it would reach 100C in about 16 minutes, and use about a cubic foot of natural gas. I think it would take another 109 minutes to boil the water away completely..

Ever since California suffered through the energy-challenged summer of 2001, everyone here has been on their toes to find ways to conserve electricity, but I wanted these clothes dry in a jiffy. I needed my jeans to be dry in time for the Sonic Youth concert.

Most clothes dryers in the United States are like the Kenmore 64212, which uses a heating coil that draws 5400 watts of power. If it were perfectly efficient at vaporizing water with electric heat, the Kenmore would only take 30 minutes to dry up a gallon of water, but I'll bet it takes at least 45 minutes.

Which, by the way, would cost about 32, because electricity is 8 per kilowatt hour in Sacramento.

In search of a more efficient way to dry the jeans, Brooke tried using the gas oven. This worked pretty well, but the smoke alarm kept going off.

Please read Drying Laundry Page Three.

Laundry 1 2 3 | cockeyed science club | cockeyed homeContact Rob  

November 19, 2003.

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