Undercurrent: The Alden Blog

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Industrial fluid dynamics insights


Andrea Giles
Andrea Giles

Andrea works on all things marketing and communications at Alden. She is especially focused on content development and works closely with Alden's engineers, project managers, and directors to help promote their work. That's where her marketing experience of nearly 20 years (she claims she started her career when she was 10) becomes extremely valuable. In a sea of engineers and science-y types, Andrea stands out from the crowd with her B.A. in English from The College of Wooster.

Keep tabs on the work Andrea and the Alden team are doing by following along on your favorite social media channel.

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Computational Fluid Dynamics: Examining Guinness Bubbles
We know we aren’t the first to ponder the phenomenon of watching bubbles sink when a pint of Guinness is poured. Is it magic within the stout that causes this defiance again the laws of physics? Or is there something else going on with this tasty elixir? And really, what good is keeping all our scientific knowledge bottled up if we can’t pop the top off it and apply it to more social pursuits? In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we did just that. Bubbles are the circulation engine More studies than you realize have been conducted about the sinking bubble phenomenon that occurs within a freshly poured pint of Guinness. In one recent study, three Irish mathematicians investigated the shape of the glass. In their flow simulations, they found the rise or fall of the bubbles is directly related to the shape of the glass into which the beer is poured. A glass with a smaller base (like a stout glass) is going to result in a higher bubble density near the middle, causing entrained bubbles ...

Deep Breath: The Impact of Alden's Work on Power Plant Emission Controls
Each year, National Engineers Week falls on the week of February 22 — George Washington’s actual birthday—in part to commemorate a man who is considered the nation’s first engineer. But not only that, the week is meant to highlight the contributions engineers have made to the world as we know it. Just think about that for a minute as you read this on a display screen that wouldn’t exist if not for engineering ingenuity. The list of accomplishments engineers have made to our society and the history books is massive. From our perspective, we can highlight many areas in which Alden engineers have contributed to the annals of history. From testing airplane propellers and missile ballistics to the work on dam safety and fish passage and protection programs, we’ve had a hand in shaping our world throughout our 125 years of continual operation. But trying to find a singular project to discuss for this week? That task is nearly impossible. So, that’s when I asked Dave Anderson, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer to weigh in.  Besides wanting to ...

Preventing Ice Build-Up on Wet Stacks
Preventing Ice Build-Up on Wet Stacks
Ice chunks the size of Volkswagens falling from the sky! Sounds like a Hollywood special effects scene in an action movie, right? Unfortunately, this is a real-life danger that can occur just about anywhere, but especially on wet stacks running in cold weather. It should go without saying that ice falling from a tall stack can have damaging, even catastrophic effects on process equipment and personal safety. But with some situational knowledge and attention to design details, you can prevent ice build-up on wet-stacks before it becomes a problem.  Icing and the Downwash Effect Essentially, to operate an ice-free wet stack system, you need to properly handle the discharge of wet flue gas during prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Units running at low loads on cold, windy days can see a dangerous icing develop from an effect called plume downwash. Plume downwash occurs when a cross-wind at the top of the stack deflects the plume from its vertical path. This phenomenon is more likely to happen when flue gas exits at a lower velocity—like, for example, when units aren’t running ...