Monday, January 14, 2008

Vacuum Cleaners and Your Submarines

Submariners know the benefits of clean, fresh air better than most.

With that in mind, consider this familiar advertising quote:

The Oreck Air [video] uses the same air purification technology as the US Naval submarine fleet.

The Oreck Corporation began as a company manufacturing upright vacuum cleaners for the hotel industry in the U.S. ... The idea proved so successful that now over 50,000 hotels throughout the world use Oreck vacuums.

One reader, SonarMan commented (here)... I've been on a couple brit boats, and they were filthy. We have all seen what he described. Insofar as general hygiene is of concern to military submariners, what kinds of vacuum cleaners (or rechargeable 'dust buster') did your submarine use for Field Day (scrubbing and cleaning of ship's spaces)? Please feel free to comment below.

Now, consider the International Space Station (ISS). Hygiene concerns of this space platform are similar to that of self-contained submarines. Well, not quite. Consider that subs are surrounded by cold and enormous sea pressure while the ISS is surrounded by greater temperature extremes and enormous vacuum. Would the ISS ever need a vacuum cleaner?

Technically, yes. Ideally, No. Submariners might prefer utilizing the natural vacuum of space in a valved external tank to provide a central vacuuming facility. Internal piping might be flexibly hosed. Dust and debris (wet-vac?) could be sucked into the external tank, which would be purged to space between vacuums.

Answer to the space station vacuum question tomorrow. Meanwhile. I know you guys have some bottled up feelings about submarine vacuums. Let's here them.

-------------- --------------------------------------------------
As to hygiene, well, if you must ....
Notes on what hygiene can be like on the ISS:

One of the cosmonauts told me, 'We are all very close to each other, like brothers and sisters, it is very unique because we drink each other's sweat.' source

The Waste and Hygiene Compartment is intended as the primary facility for metabolic waste management and personal hygiene on the United States segment of the International Space Station. The Compartment encloses the volume of two standard ISS racks. Long-duration space flight requires a departure from the established hygiene and waste disposal practices employed on the Space Shuttle. source

Valery Polyakov, who completed a flight that lasted 437 days, used wet towels and found them effective. He even said his skin and hair were in better condition after the flight than before. Bill Shepherd, the first ISS crew commander, also likes wet towels very much. source

Remeber, what kinds of vacuum cleaners (or rechargeable 'dust buster') did your submarine use for cleanups?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



At 15 January, 2008 16:38, Blogger cheezstake said...

If I am not mistaken, the reference to "as used on U.S. submarines" was for Oreck's air purifiers, not their vacuum cleaners. Their air purifier is nothing more than a electrostatic precipitator with a fan (sound familiar?).

We used ShopVac... and they didn't suck very well...

At 16 January, 2008 21:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the boats I was on had these generic canister style vacuum cleaners. They were haze gray, squat - cylindrically shaped, no wheels, and had a handle on the top. When we used them, we had to isolate them from the deck using either a foam rubber pad, or hanging it by it's handle from the overhead.

At 16 January, 2008 21:26, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thank you, Sonarman. Odd that cheeztake did not mention any sound isolation effort for his SSBN.

At 17 January, 2008 14:28, Blogger cheezstake said...

vigilis, Sonar never complained about the noise from the shop vacs.

Back in '98, we did sound cuts up in the North Atlantic and we couldn't make enough noise for the tests. We slammed deckplates, dropped wrenches in the bilge, etc and they barely heard us.

I just remember that the vacuum hoses always seemed to disappear when the other crew came back in. So on the first field day, we were scrambling for 1 1/2" tygon tubing and EB Green to make a sucker hose...

At 17 January, 2008 15:28, Blogger Vigilis said...

cheezstake, thanks for the comments about your SSBN vacuum experience.


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