Wednesday, June 30, 2010

JMU HD Distillery

The HD distillery, housed in the basement of the HHS building, has been struggling for the past year as attempts have been made to get it working after a long hiatus. The majors problems appear to be ones related to too much heat in the wrong places.

Dr. Whisnant's collaborators at JLab are working on a redesign on the distillation column now. The new piece should be in-hand in late July and the process of starting up will resume.

In the mean time, Brittany Rash, has made good progress on a major computer (hardware and software) upgrade for the facility. The previous system used two very old computers (one dating from 2001!) to monitor and control pressure transducers, boil-up power and the vacuum pump. All this is now moving to a new computer with dual monitors (Dr. Whisnant is known for his love of a two monitor system!). Brittany has one program up and going and is working on the second one. With improved software (and stability!) and some additional hardware to clean up the computer-instrument interface, the revived distillery shouild purr like a kitten in August.

Stay tuned.