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Steam Culture: Black Liquor

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Feb 23, 2016 2:52:01 PM

Last week we discussed using wood pulp to produce paper products and its byproduct, black liquor. Just like coffee fuels us up on a Monday morning, black liquor fuels the paper-making process.

If you remember from last week, black liquor is created when cellulose fiber and lignin is separated from the wood chips. Wood pulp mills have used black liquor as an energy source since the 1930s.

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Making Wood Pulp with Steam - Steam Culture

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Feb 15, 2016 4:39:07 PM

Lumberjack Brent joins us on this episode of Steam Culture. Today, we take a look at how lumber, or "raw wood," is broken down from wood chips using steam, and eventually into wood pulp for paper products. The wood chip is made up of three main elements: water, cellulose fiber, and lignin.

The wood pulp is made by placing the wood chips into a digester, much like a pressure cooker, with water and white liquor. High-pressure steam, around 340-350 degrees, is placed in the vessel. The high-pressure steam forces the white liquor into the wood chips and the cellulose fiber is separated from the lignin. You are then left with a pulpy consistency and black liquor, which is then put into processing to produce paper products.

So, what's black liquor? You will have to wait until next week to find out! Be sure to tune in next time to see how the steam effects the black liquor and how it's used.

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Steam Culture: Essential Oils

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Feb 8, 2016 5:14:55 PM

Today on Steam Culture, Brent shows us how steam distillation is used in extracting essential oils. Essential oils originate from plants, or botanical material, and are used in many different applications, such as cleaning and home remedies.

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Steam Culture: Steam and Wood Kiln, Part 2

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Feb 1, 2016 4:01:23 PM

Thanks for tuning into part 2 of the Steam Wood Kiln episode. If you missed part 1 of the Steam Wood Kiln, check it out here.

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Steam Culture: Steam and Wood Kiln

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Jan 25, 2016 3:43:31 PM

On today's Steam Culture, we are learning how steam is used to dry lumber for cabinets and hardwood flooring. Our friend Tom Thompson from Salem Hardwood gives us a tour of his operation, and demonstrates how steam is used to dry lumber and prepare it for the next cycle of life.

In order for the wood to dry the lumber is placed inside a kiln, then it's exposed to indirect steam heat of 160-190 degrees for up to 70 hours until dry. Salem Hardwood dries Red Oak, White Oak, Ash, Hickory, Walnut and Poplar.

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Steam Culture: Steam Roller

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Jan 18, 2016 2:43:34 PM


What was your favorite construction tool growing up? Well, we all know Brent loves all things steam, and his passion overflows into construction equipment.

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Steam Culture: Pizza & Steam

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Jan 11, 2016 4:49:27 PM

With the first Steam Culture episode of 2016, Brent dives right into food. When it comes to food, Brent concentrates on three major food groups: cheese, dough, and whatever else you want to add to a pizza! This year, the U.S. is estimated to sell more than 12.5 million pizzas.

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Steam Culture: Electricity and Geothermal

Posted by Ritchie Ware on Dec 22, 2015 2:52:08 PM

Today, Brent talks about making electricity with steam. We use steam for many things including lighting our Christmas trees. Recently, we discussed underground steam extraction, but this time, Brent shows us how to extract it by a process called Geothermal. With this process, heat is extracted below earth's surface and uses it above the surface. And it all starts with Lava.

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