It's Chaos!

Finding Chaos The Research


Old technology



I was puzzled about why infrared thermometers have problems measuring tank temperatures. It turns out to be quite complicated and near impossible to get useful temperature information from the wall of a tank. The liquid convection currents, boundary layers(so called), conduction near the inside wall of the tank, multiple and chaotic air convection, and infrared reflections on the outside, make tank wall temps next to useless.

Reflections and Influences


Chaos” is not just a another modern day buzz word. Chaos and fractals are part of the most complicated type of real mathematics known today. It does refer to what appears to be, in the classic sense of the word, “utter Chaos.” But in fact these formula include so many variables that any small change in any of them can completely alter the final picture.

The most passionate advocates of the new science go so far as to say that twentieth-century science will be remembered for just three things: relativity, quantum mechanics, and chaos. Chaos they contend has become the century's third great revolution in the physical sciences.” James Gleick

Another early advertisement indicating my early knowledge of and solution to the stratification problem.

Circa 1987. This is the convection aid we developed for solving the problem of stratification. It is a 30 to 100 rpm fan, turning in the wine at a very low power, mounted from the top of the tank.

circa 1986. This is a picture of a 1000 gal. poly tank wrapped in bubble wrap to permit colder internal temperatures and a rough stainless steel research tank built with a 30 percent liquid jacket and many temperature probes to identify the characteristics of a conventional stainless steel liquid cooled tank. It was a giant surprise to find its poor performance! After testing the poly tank I felt it was marginal until I saw the problem with stainless steel.

Only those who probe each fraction of each region of the interior of each tank and/or apply strong overwhelming external and internal influences, know.

The solution to the reflections was to shield the infrared thermometer (infrared light gauge) from influences other than the object we were measuring. A special cone covering the area being observed by the gauge eliminated the reflections and left the gauge calibration intact.

Circa 1986. This was the first 1000 gallon Pasco Poly tank used to test different sizes and styles of cooling columns. Notice the thermometers at different levels and different quarters to help identify convection and temperature differences in different areas of the tank. The cooling column outlet is visible on the upper right side.

How to stratify

A very successful cooling panel, still offered today, to encourage vertical convection to prevent stratification of temperatures in poly tanks.

An early advertisement indicating our awareness of problems

On the left is an overall plot of the famous Mandelbrot set of fractal equations. On the right is an exploded view of a small section of the same plot. Modern powerful computers continue expanding sections of the expanded section showing the extreme complexity that these equations exhibit.

How best to deal with stratification in stainless steel tanks.

In the excellent book on chaos James Gleick tells of Edward Lorenz, a father of Chaos and fractals and of his study of the temperatures in a container on top of a cook stove. He described the total unpredictability of the temperatures in various location in the container, and how they helped him form the theory of "The Butterfly Affect". He described it as a butterfly flapping its wings in China changing the course of a tornado in Kansas.


Why tank temperatures are so unpredictable.