The discovery of a gold-encrusted bathtub on an Adelaide property has inspired researchers to explore the concept of “iron resurrection”.
Key points:The iron bathtubs found at the home of Adelaide property owner, George Jones, have been dubbed “an example” of how “simple ideas can become science”Researchers from the University of Queensland say the discovery of the bathtub is “an indication of how simple ideas can be adapted to be more efficient”.
Mr Jones said he found the iron-laden bathtub in his front yard when it rained in April last year.
“It’s a bit like a washing machine, you can use a bucket, you’ll get all these bits of iron and they’ll just soak up water,” he said.
“You put a bucket of water in it and the water is getting turned into steam.”
He said it was a “great idea” to make the tub a “steam iron” for heating water to create steam and then a “battery of iron” that could be stored and used as a steam furnace.
“I thought it would be interesting to put a little bit of steam into a bathtub,” Mr Jones said.
“I’d just go to the back, put the water in there and then you get a little heat from the water.”
The iron tub was found in a bedroom at Mr Jones’ home on the corner of a cul-de-sac and an industrial property on the city’s eastern outskirts.
It is likely to have been used as storage for iron scrap iron and it is not known if the iron was from the same source as the bathtub, or if it came from outside the area.
“If it’s from somewhere else, that would be a little hard to get to it,” Mr Moore said.
Dr Moore said he and his team were now looking at the idea of how the iron could be used for electricity generation, or possibly other uses.
“The idea is that we’re going to go out and get the iron, then when we’ve got enough of that, we’re actually going to get steam into the bath,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“So what we’re trying to do is get as much of the steam as we can, get as close as possible to the steam iron, and then then get as little of the water as we possibly can.”
Iron resurrection theory proposedThe concept of iron resurrection is a “simple idea”, said Dr Moore.
A number of iron-based materials have been discovered around the world, including copper, zinc, gold and silver.
But they all require the addition of a lot of heat to make them work, and they can’t be stored in a hot area.
Dr Moore’s team is working on “an iron resurrection” method for the iron bath tub, but is yet to make a concrete model.
“We don’t know how much it can be stored, how many times you can put it in there, how much heat it can get from there,” he explained.
If successful, the researchers said the technique could be put to use in power generation, as well as heating homes and industrial areas.
“In my own experience, I’ve got three households, a few businesses, I’d like to see it be put into some form of commercial applications,” Dr Moore said, adding he had no interest in the idea being used to turn metal into energy.
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