Do liquefied bananas make good motor oil?

May 16, 2019

The short answer is no, but it looked like a lot of fun finding out.

The short answer is no, but it looked like a lot of fun finding out.

The YouTube channel “Project Farm” put blended bananas up against conventional motor oil in a series of tests, which included pouring some of that potassium-rich goo down into a lawnmower.

The experiment was inspired by the story of two French explorers who had to make due with bananas as oil in the 1950s. The story, as recounted by Road & Track, is that Jacques Seguela and J.C. Baudot were crossing a Chilean desert in their French Citroën 2CV. The car sputtered and quit after losing its engine oil, and a passerby offered them a bundle of bananas.

The explorers allegedly got the bananas into the engine of their 2CV and made it another 180 miles to their interim destination.

Project Farm subjected the mashed-up bananas to evaporation loss and lubricity tests and compared it to conventional motor oil. The bananas did not do so well in either test.

For a grand finale, Project Farm filled up its lawnmower with banana mush. It ran well for a few minutes before the bananas’ water evaporated and smoke billowed. Even while adding water, the bananas couldn’t hold up and sparks went shooting out of the exhaust. The end result was a badly damaged piston and cylinder wall, and burnt banana gunk throughout.

Project Farm has done similar tests with all sorts of substances, including bacon grease back in April. The 2CV, by the way, wasn’t that much more powerful than a lawnmower. The cars had two-cylinder engines that were 375 cc on the small end and 602 cc on the largest model, making anywhere between nine to 22 hp.

Image: Project Farm/YouTube