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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:18   #11
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Default In-depth look into Polymerzation

In-depth look into Polymerization

The easiest way to explain this is the hot pan analogy. If you were to take a pan with a small amount of oil in it and set the stove to high you will be able to observe this process. The oil heats up with the pan but there are cold spots present around the lip of the frying pan. Once the pan reaches 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil itself will start to smoke (designation of burning). Applying more heat and allowing this process to continue, the oil will eventually burn to the pan in the form of carbon or splatter to relative cold spots and polymerize. This is easy to see at any fast food restaurant. In fact, I have cleaned my fair share of clumpy, moldy, oil laden fryer baskets and hard carbonized fryer filters. It is a result of hot oil coming into contact with relative cold spots, or oil that is continually heated to the object in which it eventually will burn to. Have you ever observed the underneath of a fryer station where they filter the oil on a daily basis? Have you observed the waste oil barrel at fast food restaurants? The moldy clumps and hard carbon deposits are a result of polymerization. This is what occurs in your intake manifold with a fully functional EGR while burning WVO.
Now, take that same hot pan, do not introduce oil to the pan, and heat the pan surface to 600-650 deg. (who knows if you can actually do this, I don’t expect this experiment to be done its just for explanation purposes). There are two points of interest here, the flash point and fire point. “Oil reaches its flash point at about 600°F when tiny wisps of fire begin to leap from its surface. If the oil is heated to its fire point 700° F, for most oils, its surface will start vaporizing and spontaneously ignite, surging up and out almost instantly.” Reaching these temperatures results in no opportunity for polymerization because the oil reaches its fire point, or for our purposes, the combustion point.
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