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FW: Charcoal grills

-----Original Message-----
From:	toddgatesh@ibm.net [SMTP:toddgatesh@ibm.net]
Sent:	Saturday, June 13, 1998 10:04 PM
To:	tlynn@azstarnet.com; tim@dbn.lia.net; pongo@ucla.edu; 
michele1@ix.netcom.com; Bobjones35@aol.com; billmc1@ix.netcom.com; 
Cc:	ooharris@juno.com; YOMIJI3@aol.com; mwyman@juno.com; 
mattman@silcom.com; masteele@ucla.edu; kms@photon.com; 1jim@gte.net; 
gemory1@san.rr.com; Francois Perier
Subject:	Charcoal grills

>Check out this guy's home page; it's quite impressive.

>>          ====================================
>>                          or
>>           =====================================
>> Our subject today is lighting charcoal grills.  One of our favorite
>> grill lighters is a guy named George Goble (really!!), a computer
>person in
>> the Purdue University engineering department.
>> Each year, Goble and a bunch of other engineers hold a picnic in West
>> Lafayette, Indiana, at which they cook hamburgers on a big grill.
>> engineers, they began looking for practical ways to speed up the
>> charcoal-lighting process. "We started by blowing the charcoal with a
>> dryer," Goble told me in a telephone interview.  "Then we figured out
>that it
>> would light faster if we used a vacuum cleaner." If you know
>> anything about (1) engineers and (2) guys in general, you know what
>> The purpose of the charcoal-lighting shifted from cooking hamburgers
>to seeing
>> how fast they could light the charcoal.
>> >From the vacuum cleaner, they escalated to using a propane torch,
>then an
>> acetylene torch.  Then Goble started using compressed pure oxygen,
>> caused the charcoal to burn much faster, because as you
>> recall from chemistry class, fire is essentially the rapid combination

>> oxygen with a reducing agent (the charcoal).   We discovered that a
>long time
>> ago, somewhere in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
>> something along those lines).
>> By this point, Goble was getting pretty good times.  But in the world
>> competitive charcoal-lighting, "pretty good" does not cut the mustard.

>> Goble hit upon the idea of using - get ready - liquid oxygen.
>> This is the form of oxygen used in rocket engines; it's 295 degrees
>below zero
>> and 600 times as dense as regular oxygen.  In terms of releasing
>> pouring liquid oxygen on charcoal is the equivalent of throwing a live
>> squirrel into a room containing 50 million Labrador retrievers.
>> On Gobel's Web page (the address is http://ghg.ecn.purdue.edu/), you
>can see
>> actual photographs and a video of Goble using a bucket attached to a
>> 10-foot-long wooden handle to dump 3 gallons of liquid oxygen (not
>sold in
>> stores) onto a grill containing 60 pounds of charcoal and a lit
>cigarette for
>> ignition.  What  follows is the most impressive charcoal-lighting I
>> ever seen, featuring a large fireball that according to Goble, reached
>> 10,000  degrees Fahrenheit. The charcoal was ready for cooking
>> in - this has to be a world record - 3 seconds.
>> There's also a photo of what happened when Goble used the same
>technique on a
>> flimsy $2.88 discount-store grill. All that's left is a circle of
>> with a few shreds of metal in it.  "Basically, the grill vaporized,"
>> Goble.  "We were thinking of returning it to the store for a refund."
>> Looking at Goble's video and photos, I became, as an American, all
>choked up
>> with gratitude at the fact that I do not live anywhere near the
>> picnic site.  But also, I was proud of my country for producing guys
>> can be ready to barbecue in less time than it takes for guys in
>> nations, to spit.
>> Will the 3-second barrier ever be broken?  Will engineers come up with

>a new,
>> more powerful charcoal-lighting technology?  It's something for all of

>us to
>> ponder this summer as we sit outside, chewing our hamburgers, every
>now and
>> then glancing in the direction of West Lafayette, Indiana, looking for

>a mushroom cloud.
>> Engineers are like that."

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