MacGyver Season 2 Episode 10 Science Notes: War Room + Ship

Remember when I used to start off these posts with some type of introduction? Yeah, I remember that too.

Peristaltic Pump

So the generator is out. Apparently the problem is the fuel pump. MacGyver isn’t going to fix this generator, he is going to walk Zoe through the steps to do it.

The replacement for this fuel pump is a DIY peristaltic pump. This type of pump essentially pushes a fluid through a tube by compressing it (it has to be a flexible tube). The nice thing about this pump is that the fluid doesn’t interact with the mechanics of the pump—that could be important for some liquids you don’t want to get contaminated.

Here is a nice DIY version.

But wait! Would this work with a gasoline powered generator? I think it could work. The peristaltic pump doesn’t exactly give a constant flow of fuel. However, if there is a reservoir somewhere after the pump that could stabilize the fuel flow to make it work.

Here is the MacGyver version.

DIY Grabber

How do you build a really long device to grab some stuff you can’t reach? What if you just want to “poke” it instead? You could create a poking device. Something like this.

I bet you didn’t think there was a connection between MacGyver and Friends? Did you?

Tilting the Ship

The giant grabber didn’t work. Instead of grabbing the containers, what if the containers came to Zoe instead? Yes, the idea is to get the ship to tilt so that the stuff rolls to her. But how do you tilt a ship?

It’s not as simple as you think. If you add more mass to one side of the ship, it will indeed shift the center of mass. But this will make more of that end of the ship underwater and produce a greater buoyancy force. The amount of buoyancy force depends on the exact volume of water displaced. Honestly, it’s a pretty tough problem. Of course that doesn’t stop me from doing it anyway.

Here is my calculation.

Even though it’s tough to see, here is MacGyver’s calculation.

Air Filter

This is the part that feels most like the Apollo 13 movie. Here is a similar box fan filter.

Resin Water Seal

There is a door that needs to keep out water—but the seal was destroyed by fire. I can’t recall the exact chemical formula we used, the main idea was to use something that expands when heated.

There should be plenty of options using chemicals on the ship.

Radio Detonator

The basic idea here is to use a walkie talkie (I love that name) to activate the water sealing putty. It’s really not too complicated to turn a radio into a detonator. The idea is to remove the speaker and replace it with a very thin wire.

When you send a signal to the detonator, instead of playing a sound it will run current through the wire that gets hot. This by itself might not be enough to activate the putty, but you could add on some match heads or something like that. The hot wire would ignite the matches and those would activate the putty.

Of course in the end, Zoe had to find another way to activate the putty and save the ship.

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