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Test One, 14/9/08

Setup
The refrigeration team constructed two zeer pots on September 14, 2008. A large and small pot was created with ceramics from Home Depot; there were concerns that the pots may not have been porous enough in their walls. The bottoms, on the other hand, had quarter-sized holes in them for water drainage. The team did their best to seal the holes with painters tape and duct tape. Some water was still leaking as the 14-hour temperature testing began. The tests were performed in the Teer basement labs overnight. These labs are kept fairly cool so the team decided to shine two 100W, incandescent, reflector-equipped lamps on them through the testing to encourage evaporation. 20mL of water were placed in each pot and their temperature measured every five minutes via a LoggerPro device. A control water sample of ~200mL was placed under the lamps as well as a probe to measure the air temperature.

Preliminary Results
At hour four, it was observed that water leaking from the large pot had soaked the dangling t-shirt covering completely. There were also yellowish rings forming above the sand on each pot; possible proof of some evaporation.

Data
Just after shaking off the screensaver the morning after data-collection, the laptop taking the temperature data went to a blue screen. The attached LoggerPro file, zeer_test1.cmbl, shows the initial data point (which was autosaved) and the final temperature data, roughly 17 hours after the test began. The actual collected data can be visualized with an asymptotic rise in temperature over a four hour period from the initial to the final data point (the data was briefly seen before the computer crashed).

time (hr)

T1 (deg C)

T2

T3

T4

0

25.6

22.3

23.1

23.0

17.8

27.0

28.0

30.1

27.1

(warning) need info from Toni as to which Ti belongs to which probe and pot dimensions

Conclusions
The pots in test one showed no cooling effect. T1 seemed to be somewhat insulated from the heating effects but none of the probes showed a drop in temperatures. In all likelihood, this is due to the loss of water through the bottom of the pot. Incidentally, the leaking water didn't really do much for cooling the pot. Sand in both pots was dry to the touch. By the test's end, the leaking water was gone and the cloth coverings had dried. It was qualitatively observed to be somewhat warm in the large pot, difficult to tell in the small one.

Improvements

  • employ clay as a hole-plugger
  • attempt to keep the recorded data...maybe set up an autosave routine?
  • use a covered pot with no water or no sand as control

Test two, 21/9/08

Setup
This run was very similar to the first trial; plumber's putty was used to plug the hole in the bottom. This still may not have formed a good seal, however, as the putty did not adhere very well to the clay. The cloth coverings were also cut to cover the hole but not the ring of sand.

Results
See the attachments tab for the LoggerPro file of the data. After about two hours, the pots had reached roughly equilibrated to the ambient temperature. The odd curves in the large zeer pot's trace are due to the temperature probe falling over, being readjusted, and then falling again down again.

Further Work

  • Toni's contacted an MIT group studying the zeer pot design; they were unable to bring the pot below 60degF (15degC).
  • There still may be leaking problems. We could attempt to better seal the bottom by actually using clay or by making our own pots.
  • Nothing in our research indicates that this design can take an object to below 10degC so the group will likely move on to other designs like the insulated box.


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17 Comments

  1. were you able to get the temperatures of the two outside controls? we should also check to see if the heating lamps did their job in heating up the outside water, or if the pots just leaked out all the water over a 12 hour period.

    - Ankit

    I believe T3 and T4 are the outside controls. And I'm pretty sure T3 was in the water sample; it's the dark red line in the plot and was heated the most. I think the water was gone in a few hours, maybe less. – Matt

  2. Sorry guys, I won't be able to make the meeting this weekend, I have a big Orgo Test the next day, so I need to study! Best of luck with the modified experiment!

  3. Anonymous

    i want to design kind of  zeer fridge

    could you guys help me with any information you collected for this project?

    could you give me the contact of this MIT group, toni?

    nice help full link!

    p

    please contact me over 

    peter  @   muskelshirt.de

    greetings from germany

  4. Anonymous

    This experiment was performed in Georgia in September - was it humid, perhaps? Zeer pots only work in dry conditions. You should have noticed a dramatic cooling the instant you added the water. Try plugging your holes with rubber corks. That's how I made mine. It also takes a surprising amount of water to fill it up.

    If you want to try again, put the pots outside when it's hot and sunny. It works with little pots too, so you could try making several smaller zeers which would be a lot more portable.

  5. Anonymous

    You're supposed to cover only the center pot, not both. That slows the evaporation from the sand, which is the cooling mechanism. You also add water to the sand twice a day and try this without using the light for a heat source. The dynamic of that last may not be as simple as you think.

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  11. Anonymous

    Hello,

    I was looking through your data and set up. You need a fixed, closed chamber to allow for heat and light to penetrate the zeer. Also, the zeer system can cool effectively for a duration of over 12 hours in an environmental chamber at 40 degrees Celcius. Also, make sure both air and zeer temperature probes are at the same distance from the light. In addition to this, you have to be more patient when saturating the zeer system, don't use a squirt bottle, more like a 1000mL grad. cylinder. A few pointers from personal experience.

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