Modern Marvels

Season 12 Episode 41

Lube Job

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Aug 10, 2005 on The History Channel
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Lube Job
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From chariot wheels of ancient Egypt to hard disks in a computer to the wheels on a Mars rover, machinery can't function without lubricants. And in today's technology, there are a mind-boggling number of friction points that must be lubed, and a staggering number of lubricants-- petroleum motor oils that keep car engines from burning up, synthetic greases that stay put in the zero gravity of space, and solid coatings that prevent eggs from sticking to a pan. We'll see how this marvel of chemistry works and how it's used. Peering into the future, we'll behold a power generator that employs air as a lubricant, trains using magnetic levitation, which eliminates any need for lubrication, and bio-engineered vegetable oils that promise to take humanity back to one of its very first lubricants. From helping medieval windmills spin, to allowing robotic arms on planetary rovers to move, lubricants are crucial to the advance of technology and literally keep the wheels of progress turning.moreless

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