External mixing guns

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External mixing guns have nozzles spraying water and air nozzles shooting air through the water stream to break it up into much smaller water particles. These guns are sometimes equipped with a set of internal mixing nozzles that are known a nucleators. These help create a nucleus for the water droplets to bond to. External mixing guns are typically tower guns and rely on a longer hang time to freeze the snow. This allows them to use much less air. External mixing guns are usually reliant on high water pressure to operate correctly so the water supply is opened completely and the flow can sometimes be regulated by valves on the gun.

An external mix system is another type of air/water system. This system shoots compressed air and water out of discrete orifices; the air and water mix outside the snow gun to form snow crystals. The compressed air expands and supercools some of the small droplets from the water orifices to form nucleators. The spray of the external mix system has less speed than that of an internal mix system.

Therefore, snow guns using the external mix system must be mounted on towers to give the water droplets enough time to nucleate and form into snowflakes before reaching the ground. A waterstick system is a recent version of an external mix system that eliminates use of compressed air or fan. This system uses additives and high-pressure, chilled water to create snow.

[edit] Advantages / Disadvantages

Advantages: More energy efficient than internal mix because less compressed air required (lower air to water ratio); waterstick eliminates use of compressed air; quiet and easy to operate.

Disadvantages: Highly affected by wind forces; typically requires colder temperatures; either permanently mounted or difficult to move; little adjustment of snow consistency, thus increased losses from snow blowing off trail.

[edit] Also see

[edit] Reference

  1. See Wikipedia Snowmaking [1]

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