December 11, 2013

Advent Chemistry: Hot Filtration

Filtration, like recrystallisation, is about physically seperating things. It’s not about doing a reaction. It’s just a way of getting the thing you want in a pot on its own. If what you want is solid, and everything else is liquid, this is quite easy,...

December 10, 2013

A line drawing showing many interlocking cogs and wheels, some with numbers and indicators marked on them, with a hand crank at the top

Advent Computing: A historical divergence: Babbage and Lovelace

Back in the 18th century, a “computer” was a person who performed computations. They would calculate mathematical tables by hand – long lists of numbers that could be referenced for calculations. It would be a slow and arduous process prone to error, but was vital...

Advent Oil & Gas: Processing 3 – gas gathering and treatment

Natural gas is processed in a broadly similar way to crude oil, but with a number of important differences. Significantly, the first stage is the cooling of the gas to separate condensate – the liquids that are naturally present as vapours in natural gas.  These...

Advent Chemistry: Recrystallisation

Once you’ve collected your product, in its lovely freshly-grown crystal form, you need to purify it. This first version is full of bits of unspent reactant and solvent and side products and waste products, and everything would be better if it were not. Washing it...

December 9, 2013

Numbers changing numbers

Advent Computing: Numbers changing numbers

The Turing machine we saw has its instructions, which we often think of as its program, and its tape, which is its memory. That’s not really accurate, though, and hasn’t really been accurate since we stopped writing programs by punching holes in bits of cardboard....

Advent Oil & Gas: Processing 2 – refining

Once stabilised, crude oil is processed at a refinery to turn it into useful products like petrol, diesel, and heavy oil.  This is a fiendishly complicated chain of operations – but there are not that many basic processes, and individually they aren’t too hard to get...

December 8, 2013

Link to Precipitation

Advent Chemistry: Precipitation

Precipitation, when it doesn’t mean rain and snow, means roughly the opposite of dissolving. It means taking a solution, and persuading the interesting thing to come back out of solution and be a solid. We already covered rotary evaporation, which is one way of doing...

Programs without compilation

Advent Computing: Programs without compilation

Both assembled and compiled languages require some form of translation to convert them from a language a human programmer can (more-or-less) understand to the machine language the computer can understand. But what about if we could skip that step? That’s where interpreted languages come in....

Advent Oil & Gas: Processing 1 – stabilisation

As I’ve already mentioned, the exact composition of petroleum and natural gas is very variable.  In order to produce high-quality fuels a lot of processing is needed; this takes a number of steps, starting at the oil and gas field. When extracted from the ground...

December 7, 2013

Advent Oil & Gas: Components

Having spent millions and millions of dollars surveying, exploring, appraising, designing, and developing a site, what do we have to show for it?  This depends very much on the type of reservoir.  ‘Oil and gas’ isn’t just one category (or even two), but covers a...

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