Why Do Pipes Freeze in Winter?

by Megan Ray Nichols 

It’s one thing that no homeowner wants to deal with, but it’s often the reality during cold winter months — frozen pipes. In addition to cutting off water to the home, these pipes can also burst, causing water damage. Why do pipes freeze in the winter, and what can you do to prevent them from getting cold enough to freeze? What should you do if the pipes burst? Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through the winter with your plumbing intact.

Why Do They Freeze?

First, why do pipes freeze?

Like most things filled with water, they freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing point of water — 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.

With pipes, there are two more variable to consider — movement and expansion. It’s harder for water to freeze if it’s in motion. That’s why lakes will freeze at 32 degrees, but it takes much lower temperatures to solidify rivers and waterfalls.

If a section of your pipe starts to freeze, the water expands. This behavior is an anomaly in nature because most liquids don’t grow when they solidify. Water, however, will become denser until it reaches a point just before freezing, then it will start to expand again. In a confined space like the inside of a pipe, this extra pressure doesn’t have anywhere to go, so it will cause the tube to split.

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How Did They Build the International Space Station?

by Megan Ray Nichols 

The International Space Station has been in orbit around our home planet since 1998 when the first piece of the station was lifted into orbit. Now, the football field-sized space station sits in orbit above the Earth — but how did they build this massive piece of engineering? Let’s take a closer look the ISS and all the work that went into creating it.

A Global Collaboration

There’s a reason it’s called the International Space Station. It is the result of a massive collaboration with the space agencies in countries around the globe. It included engineers and experts from NASA in the United States, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos out of Russia.

The station itself is divided into two segments — the Russian Orbital Segment,which includes four Russian owned sections, and the U.S. Orbital Segment, which includes portions that are owned by the U.S. and the other member countries.One of these sections, Zarya, is included in the Russian Orbital Segment because Russia built it, but it belongs to the United States because we funded it. Zarya is the first component of the ISS that was sent into orbit.

Years of Construction

Construction on the ISS started in the early 1990s, even though the first segment didn’t launch until 1998. The idea dates back to the Reagan Administration. In 1984’s State of the Union address, the then-President directed NASA to build an international space station within the next decade. If only he had known then how far that declaration would carry us.

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More Than Just A Green Carpet – The Science Behind Artificial Turf

by Jackie Edwards

Globally the artificial turf market is worth a staggering $2,060 million and it is growing at more than 6% per year. In the US and Canada artificial turf systems have had an oddly mixed past, cycling between periods of high popularity and, in some cases (such as in Vancouver), being outright banned. Modern artificial turf systems are far more complicated than you would ever imagine and while they don’t yet produce the smell of cut grass, they do mimic real turf in surprising ways.

The Bad Old Days

The original artificial turf systems seemed to be exactly what everyone needed. These instant lawns needed little upkeep, could be laid indoors and looked great. These were, in essence, simply green plastic carpets. The simplicity of them led to a boom in their use across the country but this boom proved to be a bubble. The original systems provided no real cushioning for those who impacted upon them causing a rise in sports injuries compared to real grass. In addition the plastic blades could be over 30 degrees hotter in the sun than grass. The bubble burst and many artificial turfs were ripped up and replaced with the real thing. Something had to change.

Starting From The Ground Up

Manufacturers realized that there was more to a lawn than just the grass itself. Artificial turf was often laid on top of concrete or tarmac because it needed stability to remain useful. Such a surface was unyielding and dangerous. Initial attempts were made to create subsurface structures that resembled soil. Crumbled rubber was good but it was still hot and did not allow for good drainage. Sand was great for drainage but it was abrasive and dangerous if it got in your eyes.

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