Machines and Tools


The Theory of Fog Machines

Hollywood loves to use fog machines, to create a mysterious and foggy setting. Theatrical groups, too, frequently make use of fog machines. How do these machines work? How do they manage to create such realistic-looking fog? Well to find the answers to those questions one need only step into the kitchen.
Fog machines heat a fog juice and turn it into smoke. The process that the fog machines use is very similar to what happens when one overheats oil on the stove. That overheating creates a thick and smelly vapor, a fog. The inventor of the fog machine found a way to make a similar fog, but not one that is so gummy and so smelly. Fog machines heat-up a special fog juice.
Just what is in that fog juice? What allows the fog machines to make a fog that is neither gummy nor smelly? Some fog juice contains glycerin. Other fog machines apply heat to a juice made of glycol and water. Both types of fog juice have provided the fog machines with an effective ingredient for the making of a realistic fog.
Because the use of fog machines is so very new, no one has yet determined whether or not the use of these fog machines could raise any safety issues. For example, could the fog created by the fog machines prove a problem for asthma sufferers? At this point no studies have been conducted with the intent of finding the answer to that question.  There are alternatives to the use of the fog machines, but their use could raise other safety issues.
Dry ice provides another way of creating a type of fog. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. As the gas sublimes, as it changes from a solid to a gaseous state, it creates a fog-like vapor. No one has said that this vapor could be dangerous. There are safety issues, however, with the use of dry ice. Splinters from that ice could fly up into the face of the user and could damage his or her eyes. In that, sense the dry ice is no safer than any of the fog machines.
So if one needs to decide between fog machines and dry ice, on what should that decision be based?  For ease and convenience, it is impossible to improve on the fog machines. Running out for dry ice and then looking for a container in which to put in can be time-consuming. It is much easier just to turn on the button of one or more fog machines. Still, if one is aware that the fog will waft over a crowd that contains some known asthmatics, then it could be better to use dry ice.
That would call to mind the inconveniences that filled our lives during the days before the fog machines. Of course then people worried much less about safety issues. Perhaps it would be nice to have some of both worlds to go back in time with a fog machine in tow.


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