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NYPD: Subway test involving release of harmless gas set for summer

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The NYPD will release harmless gasses into the subway this summer in an extensive test of how the material spreads through the system, officials said Wednesday. Cops will use the results to strengthen their tactics for responding to hazards ranging from possible chemical spills in the tunnels to potential terrorist attacks, officials said. The citywide testing, which will be conducted with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, will include the release of the gasses in various subway lines and stations during three non-consecutive days in July, officials said.

 

Read more: nydailynews

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To conduct the test, an NYPD operative will first ingest several dozen cans of baked beans, then board a train and travel throughout the system.

 

After a short period, the officer will release gas at various intervals. 

 

(sorry. childish joke, but I simply could not resist)

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It's funny because the Military did a couple of tests like this back in the 60s by smashing light bulbs on subway grates. The bacteria inside was a VERY close relative to Anthrax. Which is why I don't believe this is a "harmless" gas.

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It's funny because the Military did a couple of tests like this back in the 60s by smashing light bulbs on subway grates. The bacteria inside was a VERY close relative to Anthrax. Which is why I don't believe this is a "harmless" gas.

 

I mean, there's no such thing as a "Harmless" gas. Or a harmless anything for that matter. Nitrogen makes up over 70% of the air, but if it were 90%, hypoxia - you're dead. You need water to survive - but overexposure to it (read: drowning) can be fatal. 

 

The point is - flatulence jokes aside - to release something that can be easily traced somewhere in the system, and then see where it can be detected. By mapping that out, they can determine what the impacts of a potential gas attack could potentially be. 

 

Earlier studies like this done on the surface used Sulfur Hexaflouride as a tracer gas. London Underground used the gas in their similar 2007 test.

 

While Sulfur Hexaflouride has a fairly ominous sounding name, it is remarkably inert, and like nitrogen, the only risk it carries is Asphyxia, should a high concentration of it displace the oxygen in the air to less than 15% or so. 

 

In fact it is so inert that it is sometimes deliberately inhaled - and curiously -

. Which is hilarious to see. 
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Different gases disperse themselves differently, so I don't really understand the motive

 

Exactly. Depending on the density and composition of the gas, it could spread faster or slower...

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The NYPD will release harmless gasses into the subway this summer in an extensive test of how the material spreads through the system, officials said Wednesday. Cops will use the results to strengthen their tactics for responding to hazards ranging from possible chemical spills in the tunnels to potential terrorist attacks, officials said. The citywide testing, which will be conducted with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, will include the release of the gasses in various subway lines and stations during three non-consecutive days in July, officials said.

 

Read more: nydailynews

 

 

 

So the point is that the Pentagon and The White House, of course Albany, is anticipting that we may be the recipient and as a target (as a city) to domestic terrorist attacks.  In the wake of what just happened in Boston this is what the NYPD decides to do. Well it seems that domestic bombings here is what is killing people so we should'nt be suprized at this reponse from the NYPD making this public.

Edited by realizm

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Sulfur Hexaflouride? I'm pretty sure SFis the most potent greenhouse gas known... my question is whether releasing a gas like that would turn those train stations into ovens in the summer

Edited by YankeesPwnMets

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Bacillus is a huge genus. The fact that Anthrax is in it does not imply that the species used in the military tests was dangerous. 

 

SF6 is highly inert. If that is what they are using, it is of no health concern. Greenhouse gasses would not make subway tunnels any hotter.  There is no sunlight in the tunnels, so there is no greenhouse effect to make it warmer. In fact, they would likely have a cooling effect, although not enough of one to be noticable. 

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Sulfur Hexaflouride? I'm pretty sure SFis the most potent greenhouse gas known... my question is whether releasing a gas like that would turn those train stations into ovens in the summer

 

It is the gas with the greatest "greenhouse gas warming potential" , but number 1, it's heavier than air on the whole, so it's not like it's all going to go rushing up to the troposphere. 

 

Secondly, it exists in such small quantities in the atmosphere (Which is the reason it's useful in these tests in the first place) that adding a little bit really doesn't hurt much. At 86 parts per TRILLION in the troposphere, SF6 contributes 0.0029 W/m^2 to global warming, as compared to 1.86 W/m^2 by CO2 (W/m^2 is a measure of increased radiative forcing) Point is, Carbon Dioxide is responsible for 64,000% more global warming than sulfur hexaflouride. SF6 is considered so potent as a greenhouse gas because it's so damn inert that it takes 3200 years to break down. Volcanoes emit far more of it than we as humans could ever even aspire to. 

 

As for warming of subway stations, greenhouse gases, ironically, are often ideal refrigerants  and their release from a compressed vessel will cause the gas to be quite cold. There wouldn't be enough to affect the temperature of the subway, and it wouldn't have a greenhouse effect there because there would not be enough of it, and even if there were, there's not a substantial enough amount of sunlight for the greenhouse to have an effect. 

Edited by itmaybeokay
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Bacillus is a huge genus. The fact that Anthrax is in it does not imply that the species used in the military tests was dangerous. 

 

SF6 is highly inert. If that is what they are using, it is of no health concern. Greenhouse gasses would not make subway tunnels any hotter.  There is no sunlight in the tunnels, so there is no greenhouse effect to make it warmer. In fact, they would likely have a cooling effect, although not enough of one to be noticable. 

But, it's the military. I don't trust them.

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The first release of gas was today. Turns out they were using Tetrafloroethane. (AKA, R-134a, The stuff in computer duster cans). 

 

A friend found this in the subway. Upon review, it is almost certainly not issued by the MTA.

 

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