MacGyver Season 2 Episode 6 Science Notes: Jet Engine + Pickup Truck

DVD Burner Laser

Warning: don’t mess with lasers. You might think everything is fine, but later you start seeing spots. It’s possible that your eye doesn’t respond fast enough to intense laser beams leading to eye damage. So don’t do anything stupid with lasers.

That being said, it is indeed true that a DVD burner has a nice laser in it. Here is a nice video showing how that works.

Now for the important question: could you use a laser to cut through the roof? Yes, that is indeed possible. However, it would take quite a bit of time unless you had an industrial strength laser.

Sonic Fire Extinguisher

The sonic fire extinguisher is real. Check it out.

Really, there’s not more more to say. The pressure waves from the low frequency sound prevents the oxygen from getting to the fire.

Jet Fuel and Starting a Jet Engine

What is jet fuel? Here is a great comparison between different fuels.

Now, how do you start a jet engine? Here is another video.

Essentially, you have to get air flowing through the engine in order to get the ignited fuel to work. Yes, it’s sort of complicated.

But how do you make jet fuel from crude oil? Well, as I understand it—crude oil has many chemical chains of carbon stuff. If you boil the oil, you can get different length chains to condense at different heights. This allows you to separate the different fuels.

Here, this site has a nice diagram.

Calculating the jet engine distance

You might have missed it, but MacGyver needs to calculate how close the truck with jet engine needs to get to the fire in order to put it out. Here is his work (he wrote it in the sand).

That’s sort of difficult to read. Here is my version.

The basic idea goes like this:

  • The fire is shooting up with the oil moving up at some velocity.
  • With the jet engine pushing sideways, the net oil flow will be at an angle.
  • If the side air is fast enough, it will push the oil out of the stream and stop the fire.
  • Now for the trick. In order to make the calculation more interesting, I am assuming the the velocity of the air from engine decreases with distance from the engine.

Finally, let me add that a jet engine on a truck to fight a fire is mostly real. Check this out (OK, it’s a tank and not a pickup truck).

3 thoughts on “MacGyver Season 2 Episode 6 Science Notes: Jet Engine + Pickup Truck

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