August 2005 Newsletter

It is with deep regret that I inform members of ASTRO that Athol Taylor passed away on Monday June the 13th 2005.

Athol was a friend of mine, and it is with great sadness that I write this.

Unlike many people in there 70's Athol embraced the computer age becoming quite competent at loading and running programs, he served on the ASTRO committee as secretary for many years.

Athol  was always willing to help, no questions. Our condolences go to  his family and friends.

The funeral service was held in the Florey Chapel Centennial Park on Tuesday June the 21st at 11:00 a.m.

A metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature.

This is an Extract From:

Suppose you had a metal alloy that had the advantages of liquid mercury, but without the toxic effects?

You could make your own barometers and thermometers, and not worry about calling in a hazardous materials team to clean up after any accidents. You could simply wipe up the mess with a paper towel. You wouldn't have to worry about breathing in toxic mercury fumes, but you could still make neat little electric motors that dip into liquid metal to make their electrical connections.

Suppose further, that the metal would stick to glass, so you could paint it on glass to make your own mirrors. Or that it would stick to paper so you could draw your own electric circuits in it?

In the photo above, I am holding two small vials of liquid metal. The vial on the right contains gallium, an element that melts at 29.76° Celsius (85.57° Fahrenheit). The vial on the left is an alloy that contains gallium, indium, and tin, and melts at -20° Celsius (-4° Fahrenheit). (Both are available in our catalog.)

The gallium is liquid because I had the bottle in my shirt pocket, next to my warm body. At normal comfortable room temperatures it is a solid.

Because gallium expands when it solidifies (unlike most metals), the vials are only filled half way. To get the solid metal out of the vial, simply warm it up in a cup of hot water until it melts.

Fun things to do with liquid metal

One fun thing you can do right away with the liquid metal alloy is make your own mirrors. All it takes is a piece of glass and a cotton swab.

A mixture of 76% gallium and 24% indium melts at 16° Celsius (61° Fahrenheit). Both gallium and this combination can be supercooled. That means that once melted, they can stay liquid even though they are cooled well below their melting points. Eventually a small crystal forms, and starts the whole batch solidifying, but small amounts can be kept supercooled for quite a while.

The gallium-indium alloy is more reflective than mercury, and is less dense, so it is being explored as a replacement for mercury in spinning liquid mirrors for astronomical telescopes.

When gallium is exposed to air, a thin layer of gallium oxide forms on the surface, just like what happens with aluminum, the metal just above it in the periodic table. This allows gallium alloys to "wet" almost any material, so instead of beading up, it spreads out over the surface. This property makes it good for making mirrors, and for coating objects to make them conductive.

The above is an Extract From:

Liquid metals can be purchased from the above web site.

PETER'S PAGE   ...   JUNE 10th 2005

Ken ... opened the meeting at 8.00pm.

Kathryn ... brought her healed dashunt dog in to show her appreciation for the help that Bob Cox had given her. She displayed the magnificent dog harness on wheels that Bob had made for her dog. It gave sufficient time and mobility for the dog to heal. Well don Bob!

Bruce ... displayed and explained a wind generator that he had built. It was a new design with self regulating blades at 1700 RPM. He had made the commutator and slip rings from a car alternator. The unit was a 12 Volts ADSP configuration. The blades cost $238/set and the hub had cost $50.00. Bruce got the design from Http://

Hans ... who has seven wind generators, recommended to Bruce that he offset the tail to prevent the head unit from hunting (a bit like sailing).
Dennis ... Fisher & Paykel wind energy group, displayed a set of new PVC blades that he had designed and built. They were a compromise to balance load and speed to best suit the F & P motor generator. Apparently the councils do not have any design guidelines and regulations for the wind generator towers, but it would be advisable to check with them before constructing a wind generator and tower.

Michael ...   showed and demonstrated two different "Stanley Meyer" type magnetic pulse water charging units with Ilmenite (black sand) cores. The sand had been separated into its magnetic and non-magnetic components and used for each core of the chargers. Michael had bought the black sand from Blastmaster.

Bruce ... showed his Joe Cell water charging unit that he said had been designed by Uli. It had a 52 degree cone and was vortexed inside.

BobC ... discussed his water charging experiences and said that from his experience a white film on the bubbles indicated successfully charged water.

Bruce ... said that he used a suspended magnet to indicate when the water was charged. The magnet swung to and fro at a three second interval when the water was right.

RonE ... Had made a new colloidal silver maker. He also said that he had been copying books and converting them through a reader to MP3. He then was able to listen to the books whilst working in his shed.

AndrewS ... described how he had been experimenting with a Sigma and water injection. He passed steam over a catalyst under a partial vacuum (via inlet manifold) which produced nitrous oxide. He said that typically 16% of fuel was used for motion under average conditions, but with his unit almost all was turned to motion. He said that he used one and a half times much water as petrol. Andrew said that the Government was offering energy grants in lots from $5K to $5M with a total of $50M in grant money. He also commented that as the engine got more efficient, the temperature dropped, necessitating in having to use more choke. He said that he had achieved about 200mpg from a bongo van and the sigma.

Andrew ... donated a Brown's Gas book to the library.

Ken ... described an ultra efficient micro processor / pocket remote or PC controlled low voltage home lighting system that he was designing.

The meeting closed at about 11pm

PETER'S PAGE   ...JULY 8th 2005

Robert ... opened the meeting at 8.20pm. He said that CODEX may come into effect in Australia in about two weeks and he invited anyone interested to a meeting at Fullarton Park Community Centre at 3pm next Sunday.

Ken / Devashaon /Mathew / Dino ... discussed the idea of backing up the ASTRO print library digitally. There were many issues that had to be sorted through and it was decided that a special executive meeting was needed to resolve the issues.

Robert ... suggested, with agreement from Ken, that it might be prudent to stock up on "Beck" gear if the CODEX decision was adverse in Australia.

Dennis ... Fisher & Paykel Group ... showed a set of PVC plastic heat moulded wind generator blades that he had been experimenting with. He said to do a Google search on "TURBY" relating to the finer points of the design, plus the "Backshed" and "Lyons" Webb sites.  He had also been experimenting with different types of magnets and wanted some suggestions as to how to cut neodinium magnets. Ken said that as they were a pressure moulded powder, coated with nickel type of magnet, they would not easily be able to be modified, as they would fall apart if cut.

Dino ... showed a Jaycar torch which was also incorporated with a very sensitive beeping AC field meter (with sensitivity adjust). It cost only $19.95. It was very sensitive at quite a considerable range from power outlets, fans and flurescent lights.

Michael ... had bought a bundle of "Chemalloy" welding rods that he was experimenting with as a form of battery. He had bought them from a Webb site called "Lavaprod", which he said could be found on Google. He also produced a book on water fracturing using Stanley Meyer techniques.

Ron ... showed a new digital camera that he had bought specifically for book scanning. It transferred the images in JPEG to his personal computer, then to a scanner program which converted it to a word document and then to a word to voice program for his "Voice Books". His latest effort was with Edward De Bono's "I'm Right You're Wrong" book.

Rob ... spoke about the gaining popularity of a Russian electric healing device called a "Skenar". This can be looked up on the Webb.

Devashaon ... produced a new Japanese book called "The True power of Water". It was about the effects of human emotions and pollution on water, which could be seen clearly seen when the water was frozen, micro-shaved and then photographed.

Ken ... gave a brief explanation on some electrical aspects of wind turbines. Briefly, the load impedance had to equal the source impedance for maximum power transfer (just like you need two equal diameter pipes to get maximum water transfer).  There was a "Sweet Spot" which had to be achieved depending on the speed and load impedance. In short it is quite hard to match the load to the blade characteristics. He said that Dunlite wind generators had basically tackled these problems with electromagnetic field windings to .balance the load, wind speed and turbine characteristics. They also used brushless generators to combat the awkward problem of changing brushes.

Ashley ... mentioned that a friend of his was making his own "Firestorm" spark plugs.(Les French, Wise Choice Mechanical, Lonsdale)

Dino ... said that he had been using a "Fitch" fuel catalyst, which was saving him an average of 5 to 15 cents per litre on petrol.

The meeting closed at 10.50
Until next meeting,


SPECIAL ASTRO MEETING (Executive Committee) 16th JULY 2005   Start 2.00pm

Present :- Robert, Mathew, Ashley, Ken, Dino, Devashaon, Andrew, Peter.

Points to be discussed :-

AGM, Marketing of ASTROSA Meetings, Guest Speakers, Information to Members, Libraries, Membership, Questionnaire to Members to see what they want of ASTROSA.

AGM ... use AGM to incorporate any changes required.

Meetings ...Rob to try to start on time, if not Ken will start up whilst Rob is organizing things. Rob raised the question as to whether we should expand the non technical meeting to a wider ambit that encompassed esoteric material or not.

Library ...Ken suggested that we go out and buy a machine to backup old VHS videos to DVD masters. All agreed to buy a working package. Ron, Ken, Andrew, & Dino to form a sub-committee to decide what to buy!

Ken...Raised the question of creating a new officer of  "Newsletter Editor".

Rob...Moved a motion to:

1/  With-hold AGM until September.  Seconded by Peter ... carried unanimously!

2/  Adjourn other items to a date and time to be fixed later.

Seconded by Peter ... carried unanimously!

Rob...closed the meeting  at 3.15pm.

Thanks to Peter P for taking minutes.    Ed

ASTRO Home Page

Please go to main page for contact details

DISCLAIMER: All information given in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. No claims are made on or for the validity or correctness of the material provided. ASTRO S.A. Incorporated accepts no responsibility for any mishaps or accidents incurred by any persons utilising this information.