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Frequently Asked Questions...

Can a vortex separator purify a mixed stream of gasses? It doesn't have to be practical or cost-effective.

I just want to know if there is any way that could work. For example: a mixed stream of 50%/50% hydrogen and carbon monoxide comes from a container of heated coke when water is brought into contact with it (producer gas).

Can a vortex precipitator of the type usually used for removing dust separate the two gasses to any significant degree? Any idea how efficient this might be?

Similarly [I know, I know, this is almost a separate question] could such a vortex device separate a mixture of silica (SiO2) and alumina (Al2O3) particles in water?

Any ideas, suggestions that might work? A filter column won't work for insoluble substances, will it?

This is for an S/F story in a primitive setting with modern knowledge but without modern resources. But I want it to work right. Thanks, everybody!

Best Answer...


I love sci fi-and have questions like this myself from time to time...Ill give it a shot.
The only way it could work for gases is if it were incredibly powerful-enough to seperate the gases based on mass and inertia (like the centrifugal purificaiton of isotopes)....though the masses of hydrogen and CO are so different, it may work..
Again, the vortex purifier would work with particles to an extent- bases upon size and mass. But, the effieciency would be similar to panning for gold-each run would partially purify the particles, but it would require multiple repetitions.
A column can seperate insoluble substaces based on size separation, certainly- but you have to have some way of cleaning the column, or otherwise getting rid of the particles which do NOT pass.