Foam Compression

note: Also see "Blasting/Explosions" and "Controlled Foam Injection"

Twenty years ago, Otto E. Wolff, from Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, MA, was awarded two patents for the use of foam as a compression medium for gases:

  • Wolff, O.E., U.S. Patent 4,027,993, June 7, 1977
    Method and Apparatus for Compressing Vaporous of Gaseous Fluids Isothermally
  • Wolff, O.E., U.S. Patent 4,041,708, August 16, 1977
    Method and Apparatus for Processing Vaporous of Gaseous Fluids

In both cases, the abstract of the patent states, "[a] gaseous fluid is combined with a liquid to form a transient foam for processing the fluid as by compression, expansion, condensation, heat exchange, or chemical reaction."

More recently, two additional patents on the same subject have been awarded to Thomas S. Moseley, an independent inventor in Silver Springs, MD:

  • Moseley, T.S., U.S. Patent 5,454,426, October 3, 1995
    Thermal Sweep Insulation System for Minimizing Entropy Increase of an Associated Adiabatic Enthalpizer
  • Moseley, T.S., U.S. Patent 5,641,273, June 24, 1997
    Method and Apparatus for Efficiently Compressing a Gas

The abstract of Mr. Moseley's second patent states, "[a] method and apparatus for compressing a gas by adiabatic compression and isothermal compression. In a preferred embodiment, the gas is first adiabatically compressed from a first state to a second state and then isothermally compressed to a third final desired state. The disclosed two stage compression allows rejection of the heat generated during isothermal compression at a somewhat elevated temperature so that the radiator or other heat exchanged used to reject this heat may be significantly smaller than would be needed if the gas were isothermally compressed starting from the first state."

Interestingly, no prototypes for this concept have been developed. In addition, all four patent disclosures seem to assume that the foam composition, which is undefined, will perform "correctly" producing the desired final results.

Foamman would be interested in any comments concerning this technology.