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Polytechnic students create custom pool cooling device


A pool cleaning circulatory is converted into a cooling device at the Polytechnic campus. (Photo by Moriah Costa)

Student workers at the Polytechnic campus created for the first time this summer a custom aerator device to cool the campus’s only pool.

Aquatics Coordinator Nathan Padron said during summer months, the pool temperature would be more than 90 degrees. He came up with the concept after having to combat algae and an over-heated pool for the past four years.

Padron, a mechanical engineering senior, made an attachment to convert the pool circulator, which vacuums debris from the pool floor, into an aerator system.

“Basically what it does is it takes the water from the bottom of the pool and sprays it out,” Padron said.

When the water hits the air it evaporates, causing the water to cool, he said.

“It’s kind of like a swamp cooler,” he said.

Padron said they had tried other ways of cooling the pool, such as blocks of ice and sprinklers, but nothing worked.

Jeff Vance, director of Sun Devil Fitness at the Polytechnic campus, said the temperature of a pool should be around 80 degrees.

Stagnant water at a higher temperature “feels more like bathwater” and encourages algae growth, Vance said.

Padron said the pool was green from algae two summers ago, and it took workers a week to clean it.

He said lifeguards at the pool worked with him to create the cooling system.

Interdisciplinary studies junior Ryan Anderson said he helped Padron come up with the idea of attaching PVC pipes to the pump to use as a spray nozzle.

“I thought about it, and talked to (Padron and said), 'Why don’t we use the circulator?’” Anderson said.

He has worked as a lifeguard at the Polytechnic campus since March 2011.

Vance said the Polytechnic campus pool is the only pool at ASU that has had this problem.

He said their 50-year-old pool does not have the parts it needs to stay cool.

Vance said the entire cooling system only cost them $50, in part because they already had the pumping device they needed.

He said they only run the device at night, which is enough to keep the pool cool during the day.

Vance, who has worked at the Polytechnic campus for eight years, said this was the first summer that the pool was 80 degrees.

“(Padron) did a great job,” he said.

He said students, families and the community use the pool.

“Depending on the time of year, we get 15 to 30 students (daily) on a regular basis,” Vance said.

The fitness center offers classes during the summer, and the swim team uses the pool in the fall, he said.


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