Significant Purposes Of Fluids In The Form Of A Spray

By Haywood Hunter
Although most people are familiar with the idea of a spray, it is perhaps less well understood exactly what a spray is. The definition of a spray is a collection of droplets dispersed in a gas. When someone sprays, for example, an aerosol can of deodorant, liquid stored inside the can is scattered as a cloud of fine drops in the air. It can be seen how this fits together with the definition of a spray.

Fleshing out the definition, the liquid in the illustration is of course the deodorant product. Once dispensed, the gas it is distributed within is of course the air. There are also instances where a spray is used in a medium other than air, such as where particular fluids can be sprayed into the fumes of power plants to make them less damaging to the environment.

The name given to the act of turning a liquid into a spray is atomization. Despite the implication, this does not mean that the fluid is actually dispersed as lone atoms, but instead simply as minute liquid globules. By looking at some of the many applications sprays have, some of the more useful properties will be revealed. Because of the great variety of functions for sprays, only a few notable cases will be looked at.

Use of sprays is widespread in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Fresh grown foods are washed with sprays, and many ingredients are added in the form of a spray. The accuracy of a spray is ideal in cases like where spice must be added. Add too much and the result will put many people off, but get it just right and it adds a pleasant kick. This same accuracy allows great control over how additives are applied, ensuring that nowhere is missed out.

Spray drying is another important process in the manufacturing of edible products. Liquid foods and drinks are dried by spraying them into hot air, which evaporates the moisture and leaves a powder. This procedure is used to create additives like colorings and spices, as well as more common staples such as instant coffee or powdered milk.

While spray drying is perhaps not familiar to the lay person, spray painting is far more widely known. As well as the mundane spray paint can known to all, there are other more advanced forms of spray painting. An interesting variation is electrostatic spray painting, where the paint spray is given an electric charge, and the item to be painted is given an opposite charge so that it will attract the paint. This has clear advantages over brush painting, where it can be very hard to paint into awkward areas.

Arguably one of the most significant of all uses of sprays is the way they are utilized in engines. In many engines, the fuel is turned into a spray directly before it is ignited, creating tiny, easily ignited drops of fuel mixed evenly with air, a very desirable combination. This principle is widely applied in jet, diesel, rocket and petrol engines, as well as in steam boilers.

While the finer details of what a spray actually is elude most people, their myriad applications in food manufacture, in generating power, in fueling our engines and also in everyday things like deodorants and spray paint, demonstrates how important they really are.

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Significant Purposes Of Fluids In The Form Of A Spray

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