rice cleans carbon (Dec, 1950)

rice cleans carbon

RICE is moving out of the kitchen and into the garage. Oldsmobile has developed a new device, the Head-On Carbon Blaster, which uses rice under air pressure to clean engine combustion chambers through their spark-plug openings.

Ten to 20 pounds of specially prepared rice, above, are poured into the perforated hopper of the Carbon Blaster, the mechanic inserts the nozzle into the spark plug port, right, and turns the air control valve to “blast.” The rice under pressure chips off the carbon deposits and thoroughly cleans all surfaces. Above right are two combustion chambers in the same engine—the one at left after treatment and the one at right before treatment.

16 comments
  1. Tracy B says: November 24, 20092:55 pm

    And now Oldsmobile is defunct.

    Actually, that is where emission controls plus the use of unleaded gasoline– who has heard of carbon deposits and lead fouling these days, unless you are a private pilot. I don’t know how many times I’ve had the bottom plugs foul up on my airplane prior to the engine runup. Fortunately it is a relatively task to burn out the deposits by simply leaning the mixture. Cars in those days did not have have a dashboard mounted mixture control.

  2. Rick Auricchio says: November 25, 20091:57 pm

    How did they get the rice out of the cylinder? Did it just blow out with the exhaust?

    Tracy, IIRC I always taxied with the mixture fairly lean. Haven’t owned a plane or flown since 1991; forgot all about that problem.

  3. George says: November 27, 200910:45 am

    An American rice burner.

  4. Tracy B says: November 27, 20093:23 pm

    That was the trick (to remember to lean it out just after startup and during taxi, but then go to full rich during the runup/takeoff.) Still sometimes, the plug will still foul up, so you would set the engine to a rpm/power setting below runup setting and lean it to the point the engine starts running rough– that would usually clear things up so the magneto check would pass during runup.

    Probably the rice blew out of the exhaust; I could see the potential for the rice also getting into the intake manifold, because it would not surprise me if the rice blast was done while cranking the engine. It would interesting to see what kind of smoke would come out of the exhaust when the spark plug(s) is replaced.

    I’ll bet that distilled sake would work well as a gasohol.

  5. jayessell says: November 27, 20097:19 pm

    …and that’s how Rice Krispies were invented.

  6. mike says: November 27, 200910:31 pm

    Jayrussel, for some reason this page didn’t load correctly and your comment was all I saw. “…and that’s how Rice Krispies were invented.” could be one of the funny phrases all by itself.

  7. jayessell says: November 28, 20092:10 pm

    Mike…
    I was joking, as if putting rice in the engine would cause
    breakfat cereal to come out the exhaust.

  8. Tracy B says: November 28, 20094:30 pm

    Snap, crackle, pop?

    Hopefully this crack won’t backfire.

  9. George says: November 28, 20095:00 pm

    Does anybody remember the Saturday morning commercials from the 50′s for Quaker Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, “It’s Shot From Guns!” The hook that kept us to the end of the show was they’d shoot a small cannon straight at the camera and there’d be a big blast of Puffed Wheat/Rice. Must be a great place to work, they let you have cannon fights during breaks.

    Now they can update it to “It’s Shot From NASCAR Race Cars!”

  10. jayessell says: November 28, 20095:52 pm

    George…
    Also at the end of ‘Bewitched’?

  11. Firebrand38 says: November 28, 20095:55 pm

    George: Yeah that commercial was played on shows in the sixties as well. Interesting that technically the cereal was “fired from guns” (just not cannons).
    That ad campaign was actually pretty old in the fifties.

    See also here

  12. Firebrand38 says: November 28, 20096:01 pm

    I don’t know why one of the links I provided lists the wrong inventor of the process, but here is the original patent from 1902 showing the gun

  13. mike says: November 28, 20099:50 pm

    jayessell,
    I know you were joking, not much else loaded on the page but the comments, and that phrase made me laugh out loud. I might use it for other situations. I didn’t think you were foolish, I was laughing at the joke… and then some.

    Reminded me of the old Letterman’s “…and they pelted us with rocks and garbage” or South Park’s, “and then we all had ice cream!”

  14. Tracy B says: November 29, 20095:44 pm

    Many cereals were gun puffed, among them Sugar Pops. Think of an air corn popper, only it uses steam to heat the grains

  15. Firebrand38 says: November 29, 20096:47 pm

    Tracy B: Don’t think it, watch it or see the “gun” in action Gun puffing is obviously not to be confused with popping like popcorn although I was surprised to find out that method is how Rice Krispies are made.

  16. Morris says: June 7, 20104:15 pm

    I notice from the picture they’ve found a way to clean the difficult carbon deposits from the head- but haven’t worked out how to stop the waterways closing up with iron deposits…

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