Alright, fellow exercisers, I’ve had it. Allow me to tell you how to properly use these wonderful swimsuit dryers with which CMU has graciously decided to outfit our locker rooms.
You put your suit in, and you hold the top down for a few seconds. The centrifuge inside whips the swimsuit around, yanking a good deal of the water out. Voila! (Almost) Totally dry suit.
What you may or may not be aware of are the mechanics behind how this works. See, when you put your suit into the machine, it’s saturated with water (H2O molecules). When the dryer is at full speed, the swimsuit is experiencing a constant amount of centrifugal force, essentially pushing the water molecules outward to the suit’s extremities. The polar nature of these molecules causes them to interact and form ever-larger – and ever-heavier – globs of water. Once these globs have reached a mass that is critical relative to the amount of centrifugal force, the inertia overcomes the bonding energy of the polar interactions, and the glob is swept away into the dryer’s nether-collectors, leaving your suit that much less wet.
Realize, for a moment, that most of the water will come off within the first few seconds of operating this machine: the suit is completely saturated, so the globs are already extremely heavy. It won’t require much force to break the already-strained polar interactions keeping the water attached to the suit. Once all this “low-hanging fruit” is gone, however, it will require longer and longer periods of constant rotation in order to wick away an equivalent amount of water that was removed in the first couple seconds. This is because it will take longer for the small amount of water remaining to pool into globs big enough to be swept away.
Sound familiar? It should. The level of the suit’s H2O saturation with respect to time can be very accurately approximated as exponential decay.
Each successive unit of saturation takes exponentially more time to remove than the previous one. So this means, after those first few seconds, you’re really hitting a wall of vastly diminishing returns when it comes to continued use of the dryer.
Which means there’s really no point in standing there like an imbecile, idly pressing the top down for a good 30 seconds (yes, I counted), making the rest of the locker room endure some of the most brain-skewering, ear-crushing clanking noises (a result of the non-uniform distribution of the suit within the machine, like an off-balance washing machine), when you’re getting a statistical ZIP-ZERO-NADA out of it and succeeding only in royally PISSING OFF EVERYONE ELSE.
Maybe I’d be in a more empathic mood if my Ubuntu partition wasn’t conflicting with OS X Snow Leopard’s installer.