Snow gun

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There are many different forms of snowmaking guns, however they all share the basic principle of combining air and water to form snow. For most guns you can change the type or "quality" of snow by regulating the amount of water you are adding to the mixture. For others they are simply on or off and the snow quality is determined by the air temperature and humidity.

In general there are three types of snowmaking guns: Internal Mixing, External Mixing and Fan guns. These come in two main styles of makers: air water guns and fan guns.

An air water gun can be mounted on a tower or on a stand on the ground. It uses higher pressure water and air, while a fan gun uses a powerful axial fan to propel the water jet to a great distance.

A modern snow fan usually consists of one or more rings of nozzles which inject water into the fan air stream. A separate nozzle or small group of nozzles is fed with a mix of water and compressed air and produces the nucleation points for the snow crystals. The small droplets of water and the tiny ice crystals are then mixed and propelled out by a powerful fan, after which they further cool through evaporation in the surrounding air when they fall to the ground. The crystals of ice act as seeds to make the water droplets freeze at 0 °C (32 °F). Without these crystals water would supercool instead of freezing. This method can produce snow when the wet-bulb temperature of the air is as high as -2 °C (28.4 °F). The lower the air temperature is, the more and the better snow a cannon can make. This is the main reason snow cannons are usually operated in the night. The mix of all water and air streams and their relative pressures is crucial to the amount of snow made and its quality.

Modern snow cannons are fully computerized and can operate autonomously or be remotely controlled from a central location. Operational parameters are: starting and stopping time, quality of snow, max. wet-bulb temperature in which to operate, max. windspeed, horizontal and vertical orientation, sweeping angle to cover a wider area, sweeping may follow wind direction.


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[edit] Types of Snowmaking Guns

  • Internal mixing guns have a chamber where the water and air get mixed together and violently forced out an opening or through holes and fall to the ground as snow. These guns are typically low to the ground on a frame or tripod and require a lot of air to compensate for the short hang time of the water. Some newer guns are built in a tower form and use much less air because of the increased hang time. The amount of water flow determines the type of snow that is to be made and is controlled by an adjustable water hydrant.
  • 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.
  • Fan Guns are much different than all other guns because they require electricity to power a fan and a hose with a spray/mist attachment. The hose sprays a mist, like the kind created from a spray bottle and fans propels the mist into the air to achieve the hang time. Fan guns have anywhere from 12 to 360 water nozzles on a ring that the fan blows through on the front of the gun. These banks can be shut on or off by valves. The valves are either manual, manual electric, or automatic electric (controlled by a computer).

[edit] Also see

[edit] External Reference

  • Backyard Blizzard: see [3]
  • Snow at Home: see [4]
  • Ratnik Industries Inc. [5]
  • IDE Technologies Ltd IDE Snowmaking [6]
  • Snowstar Snowmaking System [7]
  • HTM Hydro-Tech Manufacturing Inc., (“HTM”) [8]
  • SMI [9]
  • Snowstorm Snowmaking [10]
  • Top Gun Snow Guns [11]

[edit] Reference

  • Wikipedia Snowmaking [12]

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