Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why own a snow blower?

I was out this past week, blowing the snow off our driveway. In the tedium of slowly marching back and forth, I started doing some math.  In the end, I think it justifies buying a good snow blower.

Here's what I just cleared.  As always, I include 60 pound Jasper for a size perspective.  I am using rough estimates and rounding off to keep things simple. Let the math commence:

Volume of snow = 25 feet x 100 feet x 1 foot = 2500 cubic feet of snow
Now we need to get that to water.  A dry snow is about 8% water.  A wet sloppy snow is about twice that.  The snow we just had was in somewhere in between, so let's go with 12%.

Volume of water = 2500 cubic feet x 12% = 312 cubic feet

Now water weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, so that gives us

Snow weight = 312 cubic feet of water x 62.4 pounds = roughly 19,500 pounds

Ten tons would be a lot to shovel on the best of days, but let's think about where I have to get it.  From both photos, you can get a scope of our "Great Wall".  It's The first tier is about 10 feet tall and the second adds another 5.  You need to get most of the snow all the way to the top or the first tier fills up with just one or two storms.
I started to try and figure out all the energy required to huck 19,500 pounds of snow up 15 feet, from a distance of up to 25 feet, but I realized that was some combination of physics and calculus, at which point I just went outside and wiped down my lovely snow blower.
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