Watching Fuel Explode in a Transparent Engine Is Amazing

Look inside a transparent gasoline engine at the exact moment of combustion, shot with a high-speed camera. It’s beautiful.

byMike Spinelli| UPDATED Feb 2, 2017 11:57 AM
Watching Fuel Explode in a Transparent Engine Is Amazing

We’ve been fans of Smarter Every Day ever since host Destin Sandlin broke his brain riding a backward bicycle. In this episode, he visits the home workshop of two guys who make cool things out of lawnmower engines, including cutting apart four Briggs and Stratton single-cylinder engines and making a B&S four cylinder lump.

A clear engine lets you see the magic inside your car

That project would be cool on its own, but these mechanical sorcerers also built a transparent engine, so we can finally see with our very eyes what happens inside a combustion chamber. That engine is also a Briggs and Stratton, but running on propane, and they had to do some fancy mechanical maneuvers to get a transparent roof over the valves so we can see inside. They moved the spark plug from its usual position atop the head, and replaced the ignition coil with a Model T-style trembler.

Take one transparent engine, add slow-motion

The final product is cool on its own, but then Sandlin shot it with a high-speed camera. That’s where the fun and amazement begin. Prepare to be awed.
It sure beats the hell out of a CGI model.