Readers' Responses to Strip Out The Fans, Add 8 Gallons of Cooking Oil

From Mr. Wilden: Water Is Always Conductive

Most honored Mr. Völkel:

Your attempt to cool a PC with oil was exemplary. But whenever you try water - even distilled, de-ionized water - your attempts are bound to fail. As Newton put it, "for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction:" You can put oxygen and hydrogen together, whether in an uncontrolled reaction or in an action controlled through a fuel cell. In both cases, water will be produced. The compatible opposite reaction is the electrolysis of water. Put an anode and a cathode in water, apply voltage, and off it goes. In any case, water is an ampholyte, which means it possesses the characteristics of an acid and a base, and is capable of reacting chemically as either an acid or a base. In small, both thoroughly measurable regions it reacts to itself in the following way:

H20 (water) + H20 (water) < - > H30 (trihydrogen monoxide) + OH- (a hydroxyl ion). This reaction cannot be stopped because both sides of the reaction share the same energy state. In addition, the relationship between trihydrogen monoxide and hydroxyl ions gives water its ph-value. If that relationship is 1:1, the fluid is neutral in pH, but if there is more of one than the other, the liquid will either be an acid (more H30) or a base (more OH-). In both cases, that fluid is conductive.

Stephan Wilden

Lots of detail work is required before starting a project like this one. Just the selection of individual components takes time to decide, even when everything is already at hand.