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Thread: Dust Effect for Models

  1. #1 Dust Effect for Models 
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    Mar 2013
    I am a railway modeller and I've already asked this question on a modelling forum but I think this is really a question for a chemist. I model in O gauge (1:43scale) and what I am looking for is a substance that gives off a visible vapour when touched that could simmulate airborne dust on a model. Is there a substance, a solid substance, that can be available as fine grains that can lay dormant on a layout but then when touched by a model will produce a dust effect? I will explain.

    In the world of models we have a product that can produce a steam / smoke effect but it is liquid and needs electricity to heat up. Here's an example of the superb use of one:-

    I believe the liquid used is the same as is used in electronic cigarettes, propylene glycol? That's fine for steam locomotives, but I want to make everything move on my layout i.e. road transport, excavators, cranes. I do not have a layout yet, but when I do I will also incorporate accidents into the operations of the model, in other words, if something derails I will not pop it back on the tracks with my hand (the Hand of God as we call it) but I will use methods the real railway workers would have to use i.e. cranes, scaled jacks and ramps.

    I am explaining this to show the level of realism I will be going for. In the real world dust can be a major result of movement. When an excavator or lorry drops its load of dirt there is dust. When a lorry moves over an untarmaced road there is dust on dry days. When a train derails there is dust. When there is a crash of any sort there is usually dust (even if there is no explosion).

    Such dust effects can be created using the above mentioned smoke generators, as I suspect Gerry Anderson used in his fabulous Thunderbirds series:-

    But - the use of these units has to be taylor to staged fixed events. You would have to know where you are going to have a derailment. I will not be staging accidents, but I want the dust effect when something does come off the tracks. That makes life much more difficult, and that's were the product which is the subject of this post comes in. If there is a substance that can be hidden amongst the track ballast, and can lay dormant for years, until that time when a train happens to derail, then the wheels touch the ballast, touch this substance, and a dust effect is the result.

    The same with excavators. Doesn't matter where they dig, a dust effect would be created as they drop the 'soil' into the back of a lorry.

    By aware that real dust would not be a solution, such as very finely ground dry clay perhaps, because real dust would get into motors and affect mechanisms. Talcum powder does not work, it needs a far greater force to produce a dust effect than a 1:43 scale model can produce. This is why I am asking on this forum because I think the solution resides in the world of chemicals. Also be aware of the materials used in modelling, such as plastics and brass and nickel silver. Don't want a substance, or combination of substances, that will damage the models. Also, if such a substance exists, I don't want to have to sign the official secrets act to get it

    Sorry it's a long post but I felt it needed a full explanation to explain the effect required and the conditions under which this substance needs to produce this effect i.e. the light touch of a model.


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  3. #2  
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    Mmmm, something missing here d'you reckon?

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  4. #3  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
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    He's a spammer, don;t worry about it.
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