Fog Gun! Shower!
March 9, 2005 5:53 PM   Subscribe

One of the features of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Bathroom was a fog gun shower. It was supposed to spray atomized water at high pressure, over 200 psi, and get you clean with less than a cup of water. Would this work? Has this ever been made?

Bucky supposedly built some prototype, mentioned in this interview. (Starts half-way through paragraph 12.) There's an illustration here (warning: ugly).

If not workable as a shower, could a fog gun be applied to cleaning dishes, cars, and such?
posted by hydrophonic to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
I don't think it could work. Two major problems: the water would immediately cool; the water would cut like a knife.

I have a pressure washer, something around 1100psi. I can put scalding-hot water straight from the tank to it, and the mist is cool within a couple feet of the nozzle. The water is so atomized that it gives up its heat to the air instantly.

I exaggerate re: cuts like a knife. The pressure washer hurts when you get your hand in the way, but it doesn't actually pierce the skin. But it certainly isn't pleasant.

Most of that pressure is gone after a foot or two distance, but there's still a lot of wind buffeting.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 PM on March 9, 2005

Response by poster: fff, I think the idea was to stand under a heat lamp to offset the cold of the water. (See the yellow box in the illustration.)

The pressure would be a little over 200 psi, not up in your range. And the water would be atomized, so it wouldn't carry the same force as a stream of water. I think it'd be safe to spray it on skin. I dunno if safety goggles would be recommended, though.

Assuming it's feasible to apply ~200 psi to skin, I wonder if such a system would get you clean. Would you be spraying oils and dirt off yourself (and on to the shower wall) or would you just be moving the stuff around on your body?

I'm toying with the idea of cleaning dishes with this, particularly for using it to remove food gunk before the dishes go into low-flow dishwasher.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:52 PM on March 9, 2005

I don't think it would work. Imagine a very very thin layer of water on you. ... There, you're in a fog shower.
I don't even think I'd rely on it to get the soap off of me.
posted by blacklite at 10:21 PM on March 9, 2005

According to the illustration, these "guns" are held quite close to the body. That changes the equation a bit, especially if the gun was supposed to actually come in contact with the skin, or float a fraction of an inch away on a cushion of fog. That sounds reasonable.

We sure could do something to make water use more efficient. Hobart commercial dishwashers say they have.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 12:04 AM on March 10, 2005

Volume is as important as pressure when it comes to washing. 10000psi at 0.001CFM isn't going to get things as clean as 10psi at 100CFM. There's a middle ground somewhere in there where correct pressure allows for great volume savings and acceptable efficiency.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2005

If it worked, it'd take a lot of effort as you'd have to pass over your entire body in strips instead of just letting the water run over you. Also, the fact that the article you link says that there's no drainage makes me wonder where the dirt and grime is supposed to go if not down the drain…

The term atomisation as you use it here (and as it is commonly used) is very odd by the way. You're not atomising, you're molecularising.
posted by fvw at 9:19 AM on March 10, 2005

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