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Use of liquid nitrogen for utility repair?

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  • Tad Grosvenor
    This is a little bit off-topic, but given the backgrounds of the people on the list, it seems appropriate. On my way home tonight I passed some utility repair
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 8, 2004
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      This is a little bit off-topic, but given the backgrounds of the people on
      the list, it seems appropriate.

      On my way home tonight I passed some utility repair work being done. It
      was an underground line of some sort, and they had dug a hole (and setup
      the temporary fencing, etc). What struck me however was that there were at
      least 5 tankers full of liquid nitrogen, and one of the utility trucks (I
      couldn't see what it was, it was behind 2 of the nitrogen tankers) was
      venting something into the air. (I'd probably be safe in assuming that it
      was the nitrogen). It was quite a production at the site with many trucks,
      and a police car there as a warning to motorists.

      I seem to remember natural gas pipeline markers along this road, and it's
      probably just a coincidence, but there is a cell tower about 100' from the
      dig site.

      So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?

      -Tad
    • David Lesher
      ... Well, on products [i.e. gasoline/fuel oil/etc] pipelines, we would blow lines dry with N2. You d need some way to make N2 gas out of the liquid; an
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 8, 2004
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        Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
        >
        > I seem to remember natural gas pipeline markers along this road, and it's
        > probably just a coincidence, but there is a cell tower about 100' from the
        > dig site.
        >
        > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?


        Well, on products [i.e. gasoline/fuel oil/etc] pipelines, we would
        blow lines dry with N2. You'd need some way to make N2 gas out of
        the liquid; an endothermic reaction.

        But multiple tankers?




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        A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
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        Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
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      • Mike Doughney
        ... That much nitrogen might mean there s a need to freeze unstable/water saturated earth to safely work underground.
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 8, 2004
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          > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?

          That much nitrogen might mean there's a need to freeze unstable/water
          saturated earth to safely work underground.

          http://www.linde-gas.com/International/Web/LG/COM/likelgcomn.nsf/DocByAlias/
          ind_soil

          http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=309530 might also be of
          interest, but it's not responding as I write this.
        • David Lesher
          ... It s OK from here. Note N2 *gas* K bottles are a regular fix for cracked jackets/casing of cables. You pump in N2 to keep water out. It used to be you d
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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            Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
            >
            >
            > > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?
            >
            > That much nitrogen might mean there's a need to freeze unstable/water
            > saturated earth to safely work underground.
            >
            > http://www.linde-gas.com/International/Web/LG/COM/likelgcomn.nsf/DocByAlias/
            > ind_soil
            >
            > http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=309530 might also be of
            > interest, but it's not responding as I write this.

            It's OK from here.

            Note N2 *gas* K bottles are a regular fix for cracked jackets/casing
            of cables. You pump in N2 to keep water out. It used to be you'd
            KNOW you'd crossed the line into GTE-land as every other pole
            had one....deferred maint. at work.

            But liquid N2 is another matter. The only response in the google
            thread that made sense was the:

            "They dig holes on both sides (20-30 feet each way) of the
            [230 KV] fault, wrap the pipe with giant (asbestos-looking)
            blankets filled with all kind of tubes and wires,
            feed LN-2 through the tubes, and *freeze* the oil.
            Viola! Programmable plugs! The faulty section is drained,
            sliced, the bad stuff removed, replaced, welded back
            together, topped off, and the plugs are thawed. I was
            amazed."

            Was the OP in a highly urban area likley to have underground
            HV cable?


            --
            A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
            & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
            Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
            is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
          • Tad Grosvenor
            Sorry for the long link, but here s the full post containing that quote:
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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              Sorry for the long link, but here's the full post containing that quote:

              http://groups.google.com/groups?q=underground+cables+repair+%22liquid+nitrogen%22&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=301120002331577597%25NewsgroupPosting%40John-Wasser.com&rnum=2
              or: http://tinyurl.com/5vjyg

              Seems possible that that was what they were doing. I'll swing by this
              even and see if they are still at it. Maybe a residual truck with a name
              on it will still be there.

              Thanks,
              Tad

              On Mon, 9 Aug 2004, David Lesher wrote:

              > Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
              > >
              > >
              > > > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?
              > >
              > > That much nitrogen might mean there's a need to freeze unstable/water
              > > saturated earth to safely work underground.
              > >
              > > http://www.linde-gas.com/International/Web/LG/COM/likelgcomn.nsf/DocByAlias/
              > > ind_soil
              > >
              > > http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=309530 might also be of
              > > interest, but it's not responding as I write this.
              >
              > It's OK from here.
              >
              > Note N2 *gas* K bottles are a regular fix for cracked jackets/casing
              > of cables. You pump in N2 to keep water out. It used to be you'd
              > KNOW you'd crossed the line into GTE-land as every other pole
              > had one....deferred maint. at work.
              >
              > But liquid N2 is another matter. The only response in the google
              > thread that made sense was the:
              >
              > "They dig holes on both sides (20-30 feet each way) of the
              > [230 KV] fault, wrap the pipe with giant (asbestos-looking)
              > blankets filled with all kind of tubes and wires,
              > feed LN-2 through the tubes, and *freeze* the oil.
              > Viola! Programmable plugs! The faulty section is drained,
              > sliced, the bad stuff removed, replaced, welded back
              > together, topped off, and the plugs are thawed. I was
              > amazed."
              >
              > Was the OP in a highly urban area likley to have underground
              > HV cable?
              >
              >
              > --
              > A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
              > & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
              > Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
              > is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > !DSPAM:41178b69283921278549406!
              >
            • Paul J Zawada
              ... The really bad leaks would drain the standard bottles quickly though. You need to switch to the vent tap on a LN2 dewar to provide enough gas for a larger
              Message 6 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                On Aug 9, 2004, at 9:30 AM, David Lesher wrote:

                > Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
                > ix for cracked jackets/casing
                > of cables. You pump in N2 to keep water out. It used to be you'd
                > KNOW you'd crossed the line into GTE-land as every other pole
                > had one....deferred maint. at work.
                >

                The really bad leaks would drain the standard bottles quickly though.
                You need to switch to the vent tap on a LN2 dewar to provide enough gas
                for a larger leak without having to replace the bottle often. While
                not as prevalent as the N2 bottles, it was not entirely uncommon to see
                LN2 dewars throughout GTE of Florida's service territory in the 1980s.

                > But liquid N2 is another matter. The only response in the google
                > thread that made sense was the:
                >
                > "They dig holes on both sides (20-30 feet each way) of the
                > [230 KV] fault, wrap the pipe with giant (asbestos-looking)
                > blankets filled with all kind of tubes and wires,
                > feed LN-2 through the tubes, and *freeze* the oil.
                > Viola! Programmable plugs! The faulty section is drained,
                > sliced, the bad stuff removed, replaced, welded back
                > together, topped off, and the plugs are thawed. I was
                > amazed."
                >
                > Was the OP in a highly urban area likley to have underground
                > HV cable?

                LN2 has a lot of welding applications, but from the volume involved it
                almost certainly sounds like they were trying to freeze a large volume
                of something. If they are freezing the oil in a pipe-type electrical
                cable, I wonder if they run the risk of splitting the pipe?

                --zawada
              • Tom Filecco
                When I visited New York City, I d see liquid nitrogen tanks marked New York Telephone , and the explanation I was given by a lineman is that it was what they
                Message 7 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                  When I visited New York City, I'd see liquid nitrogen tanks marked "New York Telephone", and the explanation I was given by a lineman is that it was what they use to pressurize underground lines with in order to keep water out.
                • Rob Walker
                  We use tanks of N2 to pressurize helix transmission line at the radio stations I work at to keep the line dry. rw __________________________________ Do you
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                    We use tanks of N2 to pressurize helix transmission
                    line at the radio stations I work at to keep the line
                    dry.

                    rw



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                  • Chris Ness
                    On Monday 09 August 2004 02:20 pm, Tom Filecco scratched his head, bit his ... Not generally LIQUID nitrogen, just compressed nitrogen. It was fairly standard
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                      On Monday 09 August 2004 02:20 pm, Tom Filecco scratched his head, bit his
                      pencil and wrote:
                      > When I visited New York City, I'd see liquid nitrogen tanks marked "New
                      > York Telephone", and the explanation I was given by a lineman is that it
                      > was what they use to pressurize underground lines with in order to keep
                      > water out.

                      Not generally LIQUID nitrogen, just compressed nitrogen. It was fairly
                      standard to see an orange and black nitrogen tank like a welding tank chained
                      to a telephone pole back in the old lead and paper insulation days. It didn't
                      take much pressure either. Just a few ounces above ambient. The tanks would
                      last for months.
                    • Bill Smith
                      They could have been using it to freeze the ground to stabilize it for digging. That would take a lot. ... From: David Lesher [mailto:wb8foz@nrk.com] Sent:
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                        They could have been using it to freeze the ground to stabilize it for
                        digging. That would take a lot.

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: David Lesher [mailto:wb8foz@...]
                        Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 0:29
                        To: coldwarcomms@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [coldwarcomms] Use of liquid nitrogen for utility repair?

                        Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
                        >
                        > I seem to remember natural gas pipeline markers along this road, and it's
                        > probably just a coincidence, but there is a cell tower about 100' from the

                        > dig site.
                        >
                        > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?


                        Well, on products [i.e. gasoline/fuel oil/etc] pipelines, we would
                        blow lines dry with N2. You'd need some way to make N2 gas out of
                        the liquid; an endothermic reaction.

                        But multiple tankers?
                      • Mike Jacobs
                        The tanks I have seen in Manhatten are, in fact, usually Dewars with liquid nitrogen. There is a heat exchanger to make sure that the stuff that leaves the
                        Message 11 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                          The tanks I have seen in Manhatten are, in fact, usually Dewars with
                          liquid nitrogen. There is a heat exchanger to make sure that the
                          stuff that leaves the tank is in fact gas. Liquid nitrogen is used
                          because it will last longer (ie, more volume of nitrogen in liquid form
                          than gas) than a standard gas cylinder. I don't know if this means
                          that the cables use a large flow to keep the pressure up...maybe the
                          underground sheaths have lots of holes in them, or if they just don't
                          want to be bothered to go back and change the cylinders too often.

                          Ma Bell chains it to a lamp post and runs a pressure hose down into
                          a manhole. This is quite common if you look for it. Must be the
                          sewer rats or alligators chewing up the cable sheaths.


                          Mike



                          On 9 Aug 2004 at 17:21, Chris Ness wrote:

                          > On Monday 09 August 2004 02:20 pm, Tom Filecco scratched his head, bit his
                          > pencil and wrote:
                          > > When I visited New York City, I'd see liquid nitrogen tanks marked "New
                          > > York Telephone", and the explanation I was given by a lineman is that it
                          > > was what they use to pressurize underground lines with in order to keep
                          > > water out.
                          >
                          > Not generally LIQUID nitrogen, just compressed nitrogen. It was fairly
                          > standard to see an orange and black nitrogen tank like a welding tank chained
                          > to a telephone pole back in the old lead and paper insulation days. It didn't
                          > take much pressure either. Just a few ounces above ambient. The tanks would
                          > last for months.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Steve Schindler
                          ... I ve heard on liquid nitrogen being used the freeze the insulating oil used in underground high voltage transmission lines to allow splices or repairs to
                          Message 12 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                            > So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?

                            I've heard on liquid nitrogen being used the freeze the insulating oil used
                            in underground high voltage transmission lines to allow splices or repairs
                            to be made on the lines.
                          • kb9yku
                            live water can be frozen to stop it from leaking wile reparing 12/2 in lines can be frozen with a like 20 or 50 lbs co2 tank so a 10-24 in pipe mite
                            Message 13 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                              live water can be frozen to stop it from leaking wile reparing
                              12/2 in lines can be frozen with a like 20 or 50 lbs co2 tank
                              so a 10-24 in pipe mite need tons of cold gas to frozen it
                              co2 = 100 some below 0 f
                              nitrogen = 278 or soo below 0 f
                              i mite be off some on the nitrogen
                              butt it should be close
                              ken
                              kb9yku


                              At 08:22 PM 8/8/2004, Tad Grosvenor wrote:
                              >This is a little bit off-topic, but given the backgrounds of the people on
                              >the list, it seems appropriate.
                              >
                              >On my way home tonight I passed some utility repair work being done. It
                              >was an underground line of some sort, and they had dug a hole (and setup
                              >the temporary fencing, etc). What struck me however was that there were at
                              >least 5 tankers full of liquid nitrogen, and one of the utility trucks (I
                              >couldn't see what it was, it was behind 2 of the nitrogen tankers) was
                              >venting something into the air. (I'd probably be safe in assuming that it
                              >was the nitrogen). It was quite a production at the site with many trucks,
                              >and a police car there as a warning to motorists.
                              >
                              >I seem to remember natural gas pipeline markers along this road, and it's
                              >probably just a coincidence, but there is a cell tower about 100' from the
                              >dig site.
                              >
                              >So, the question: what's the nitrogen used for?
                              >
                              >-Tad
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • David Lesher
                              ... I m dumbfounded that anyone would put dewers out where vandals could get to them. Can you imagine the suits if someone tipped one over and froze little
                              Message 14 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                                Speaking on Deep Background, the Press Secretary whispered:
                                >
                                >

                                I'm dumbfounded that anyone would put dewers out where vandals
                                could get to them. Can you imagine the suits if someone tipped one
                                over and froze little Jimmy's head off?




                                --
                                A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz@...
                                & no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
                                Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
                                is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433
                              • Bob Vaughan
                                ... Probably no more of a risk than leaving a tank of compressed gas chained to a post.. At least the liquid isn t going to cause the tank to become a
                                Message 15 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                                  > From: David Lesher <wb8foz@...>
                                  > Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 21:36:42 -0400 (EDT)
                                  > Subject: Re: [coldwarcomms] Re: Use of liquid nitrogen for utility repair?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > I'm dumbfounded that anyone would put dewers out where vandals
                                  > could get to them. Can you imagine the suits if someone tipped one
                                  > over and froze little Jimmy's head off?
                                  >
                                  >

                                  Probably no more of a risk than leaving a tank of compressed gas chained
                                  to a post.. At least the liquid isn't going to cause the tank to become
                                  a missile when the valve gets knocked off..


                                  -- Welcome My Son, Welcome To The Machine --
                                  Bob Vaughan | techie@{w6yx|tantivy}.stanford.edu | kc6sxc@...
                                  | P.O. Box 19792, Stanford, Ca 94309
                                  -- I am Me, I am only Me, And no one else is Me, What could be simpler? --
                                • blitz
                                  Yes, dry N2 can be used to salvage a cable filled with water...they locate the puncture with a TDR, and start pumping dry N2 into it to push the water out.
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Aug 9, 2004
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                                    Yes, dry N2 can be used to salvage a cable filled with water...they locate
                                    the puncture with a TDR, and start pumping dry N2 into it to push the water
                                    out. Then they excavate and repair the hole. Seen it a lot in urban areas,
                                    where digging/ re-laying of cable is real expensive.

                                    At 19:33 8/9/2004, you wrote:
                                    >The tanks I have seen in Manhatten are, in fact, usually Dewars with
                                    >liquid nitrogen. There is a heat exchanger to make sure that the
                                    >stuff that leaves the tank is in fact gas. Liquid nitrogen is used
                                    >because it will last longer (ie, more volume of nitrogen in liquid form
                                    >than gas) than a standard gas cylinder. I don't know if this means
                                    >that the cables use a large flow to keep the pressure up...maybe the
                                    >underground sheaths have lots of holes in them, or if they just don't
                                    >want to be bothered to go back and change the cylinders too often.
                                    >
                                    >Ma Bell chains it to a lamp post and runs a pressure hose down into
                                    >a manhole. This is quite common if you look for it. Must be the
                                    >sewer rats or alligators chewing up the cable sheaths.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >Mike
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >On 9 Aug 2004 at 17:21, Chris Ness wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > On Monday 09 August 2004 02:20 pm, Tom Filecco scratched his head, bit his
                                    > > pencil and wrote:
                                    > > > When I visited New York City, I'd see liquid nitrogen tanks marked "New
                                    > > > York Telephone", and the explanation I was given by a lineman is that it
                                    > > > was what they use to pressurize underground lines with in order to keep
                                    > > > water out.
                                    > >
                                    > > Not generally LIQUID nitrogen, just compressed nitrogen. It was fairly
                                    > > standard to see an orange and black nitrogen tank like a welding tank
                                    > chained
                                    > > to a telephone pole back in the old lead and paper insulation days. It
                                    > didn't
                                    > > take much pressure either. Just a few ounces above ambient. The tanks
                                    > would
                                    > > last for months.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
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