How to use math to build the perfect camp

How to use math to build the perfect camp

  • To build a good torch, you should stack your wooden structure the same height, like a pyramid.
  • This approach was first identified in 2015 paper Posted in Scientific Reports.
  • If you don’t have a fire pit, build the fire on the soil or near the fire blanket.

While fire may be one of humanity’s oldest technologies, building fire – and keeping it safe – isn’t always an easy task. After collecting dry wood or twigs from around the camp site, you must decide how to arrange them for the best burn. Is arranging them in a stack, like a log cabin, the right call? Or maybe just throw them in a pile and see what happens?

In theory, there are endless ways you can arrange your fuel source, but accordingly Adrian BejanD., professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University, there’s one surefire way to shoot: Your fuel stack should be as high as it is wide, like a pyramid. Bejan says that it is no coincidence that the Holocaust and the pyramid are linguistically similar.

Although this ideal solution had been hiding in plain sight for thousands of years, Bejan first formulated his mathematical formula in 2015 paper in the magazine Scientific Reports. “I was able to solve it as a homework problem for my students,” Bejan says. “It took about two hours one night.”

Why is fire like Swiss cheese

The answer, he says, begins with understanding the kind of science that dictates how fires start. This is a very multifaceted question, but it goes back to two big competitors: thermodynamics and fluid dynamics.

“Thermodynamics is the science of force, [in this case] Bijan says popular mechanics. “Which is then used to move things [like air] … This airflow fuels the combustion reaction, and the heat generated is then carried away by the airflow itself. “

You can think of a kind of fire like a piece of Swiss cheese. Between the different pieces of fuel (whether you’re using coal, wood, or some other source), there are plenty of holes or gaps for air to move through. If the fire is too intense, no air will flow through it to drive the combustion; If your fuel is packed loosely, the air won’t be able to get enough energy to move quickly. The scientific term for this type of porous form is “porous medium,” Bejan says.

However, Bejan says that cone-shaped fires are not the same Just Active form. As long as this aspect ratio is maintained, he says there is no real limit to the shape of a fire. Too flat or too long and the fire won’t be able to maintain its heat for too long, or even start properly.

Tips from a firefighter

He says understanding the mathematical principles behind making a fire is only the beginning Daniel Jimenez, a research engineer at the Missoula Fire Science Laboratory. After you start a fire, understanding the math used to keep it safe — and put it out effectively — are important skills not only for firefighters, but nature lovers as well.

As part of his job, Jimenez helps facilitate Online course To teach firefighters the math behind the fires they are fighting.

“Most of the math in our course is just basic engineering,” Jimenez says. popular mechanics. “But it gets more advanced when you start to think about volumes and pressures and [water] distribution systems. “

Jimenez says that while some firefighters come to work after college and have a basic knowledge of physics and math, it’s also common for others to become firefighters immediately after graduating from high school. This online course helps provide a common ground for science and math-based knowledge to keep firefighters safe and alert on the job.

Jimenez also designs mathematical modeling software to help firefighters track the development of wildfires. These application and computer-based programs could include landscape and wind modeling and replace what were once pocket-sized physical guides. This not only helps firefighters contain fires but also helps treat prescribed safe burns which can help prevent uncontrolled fires later in the season.

In terms of how to keep the perfect campfire mathematically safe, Jimenez says the answer is pretty straightforward: containment. An excellent way to ensure your fire doesn’t accidentally spread out of its base, Jimenez says, is to make sure the fuel source is off, which means there’s no stray fuel near the fire.

A metal fire pit is one easy way to do this or you can build a fire on the soil or near a fire blanket. And before you leave your fire, be sure to shut off the thermodynamics at work by pouring the water well.

“If I had any advice for anyone suffering from campfires, it would be to drown them out,” Jimenez says. “You can’t put a lot of water on a campfire.”

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