The History of Carbon: Part One

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Carbon [kahr-buh-n]
Chemistry a widely distributed element that forms organic compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, etc. and occurs in a pure state as diamond and graphite, and in an impure state as charcoal.
Symbol: C; atomic weight: 12.001; atomic number: 6

Wake up! Relax, lets talk about the exciting topic of carbon from an automotive service perspective. When a fuel is burned, the resulting black residue is called carbon. Also known as soot, ash, charcoal and sludge. The fuel could be firewood, food in a pan or in a vehicle’s tank. The byproduct of combustion is carbon.

Carbon can be soft like a graphite pencil or hard like a piece of coal. The question of why is not an important factor when discussing how carbon pertains to the engine but the questions of how, where and when, are. The answers to those questions determine whether anything needs cleaning, how it needs to be cleaned and what it needs to be cleaned with.

Lets take a moment to look at where carbon occurs. The internal combustion engine dates back to the 17th century. The fuel used to drive the piston in that time was gunpowder. In 1876, three fellows named Otto, Daimler and Maybach developed the four-cycle engine. Unfortunately, they did not get the patent. In 1879, a Mr. Benz did. The carburetor changed little for almost 100 years.

From the brush-type atomizer wick to the float-type spray, carburetors ruled the roost until 1986 when fuel injection systems replaced carburetors as the fuel delivery system of choice. Now, there is a newer design taking us to the next level — gasoline direct injection, commonly known as GDI.

These engines are the future. According to Robert Bosch LLC., in 2015, 37 percent of new vehicles were manufactured with GDI engines. By 2020, 49 percent of all new vehicles will have GDI engines.

This brings up the question, where? All you need to realize is when you burn or combust something you get carbon deposits. That something is primarily fuel. Wherever you have carbon deposits you had fuel. The problem is the tolerances for any deposits and how quickly they occur become problematic.

Let me say thank you to all responsible. I think this will provide those who offer carbon removal service another opportunity to serve the driving public with something they truly need. Don’t take my word for it. Google “carbon deposits in GDI engines” and read for yourself. It’s remarkable! Your basic mission of preventative maintenance has never been timelier. GDI engines are negatively impacted by carbon damage so much earlier than engines have been ever before. Next month, we’ll discuss the solutions.

DAVID PRANGE is currently assistant to the chairman at Next Generation Mfg. He can be reached at 630.699.6813 or:

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