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Project Skyfire: Preventing Forest Fires with Cloud Seeding

The Project Skyfire cloud-seeding generator is designed to produce silver iodide nuclei for experiments performed in devising techniques for lightning suppression. This generator produces freezing nuclei by volatilizing a silver iodide-acetone solution in a propane flame.

Several different types of silver iodide smoke generators were used during exploratory field programs. During 1956 an airborne string-type generator, designed for Skyfire operations and mounted in a Cessna 180 aircraft, was operated for about 60 hours. In addition, three ground-based string-type generators were employed several times near Flagstaff, Arizona and Missoula, Montana. Late in the 1956 field season a network of 10 acetone-burning generators was used at the Montana test site.

The two general types of generators tested, string and acetone burning, differ mainly in the manner in which the silver iodide is injected into the flame to form a smoke of silver iodide crystals. In the acetone burning type, silver iodide is first dissolved in a solution of acetone and sodium iodide. The resulting solution is then sprayed into a flame by propane gas pressure through an internal-raixing paint spray nozzle (fig. 1). The mixture of propane gas and acetone solution burns in a flame holder. [1]

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Fuquay, Donald M.; Wells, H. J. "The Project Skyfire Cloud-Seeding Generator." Research Paper NO. 48, United States Department of Agriculture, 1957.
"Cloud-Seeding Activities Carried Out in the United States Under Programs Supported by the Federal Agencies." Comptroller General of the United States, 1972. •
Schaefer, Vincent J. "The possibilities of modifying lightning storms in the northern Rockies." Station Paper No. 19. Missoula, MT: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 17 p. (1949).
Battan, Louis J. "Cloud seeding and cloud-to-ground lightning." Journal of Applied Meteorology 6.1 (1967): 102-104, 1967.;2

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