We’re testing our skills now

My kid came home from charter school last week, and told me something I’ve waited many years to hear. “Dad, can you help me with our science fair project?” See, most parents would roll their eyes, sigh, or flat-out refuse to help, abandoning their spouse to help their kid. Me, on the other hand? I was obsessed with the science fair every year I was in university, because I loved seeing all the cool or silly projects that my classmates came up with… Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see what our kid wanted to do for his project. For a few afternoons, he struggled to come up with a really fantastic idea, until a single boiling Sunday when our home’s heating and cooling system went out of commission. However it presented us with the perfect opportunity to use the scientific method, and test our son’s question: what’s the most effective, cost-efficient way to cool down? My son and I started with his idea first, which was to place a metal soup bowl full of ice in front of an oscillating fan! While it worked for about a half hour, the ice melted too hastily for this to be an effective way to cool off. Next, we tried using ice water, and pushing it through a hose with a special nozzle that would mist the chilly water in front of the fan; This worked incredibly well, but many concerns came from it: the mist dampened and eventually caused our clothes to get wet, and we ran out of ice water too hastily! Finally, with our supervision, we tried running a small flow of real R134 refrigerant that would disperse into the oscillating fan and be spread out through the room. This cooled down the entire room almost immediately, but the refrigerant was still too dense when it came out, and was dangerous to breathe in for too long. However ultimately, our kid decided that the ice water he tried first was the best of the three possibilities due to minimal steps in setup. It was a fun experience for both of us, and an unbelievable way to cool down parts of the beach house until the central heater and A/C contractor came to repair our AC system.

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