The Science behind Bongs
Bongs and hookahs are in vogue. They are a rage not only among the young but also for lifelong smokers. The phenomenon should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows a bit about the history of water pipes, and the science behind bongs. Archeologists have found bongs as old as two thousand and five hundred years, some of which are made of gold. Evidently, the ancient ancestors knew very well how science worked. We are simply replicating their invention in our own contemporary way.
Bongs are used to smoke herbs, cannabis, and other similar substances. Hookahs are mostly used for flavored shisha tobacco. Both devices rely on the same science, or chemistry to be precise. When you light a product in a bong, you are effectively burning the substance. Burning anything produces smoke, ash, and tar. The smoke contains many chemicals, including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The ash generated is of course not palatable. You ought to have it removed. The tar produced depends on the material you smoke. Some herbs do not produce much tar. Synthetic products or artificial ingredients tend to generate high levels of tar, which should also be removed from the smoke.
The Universal Solvent
Water comes to the rescue on both the fronts. The elixir of life is also the universal solvent. It is an integral component of all bongs and hookahs. Water serves as the natural filter for the smoke. It also serves as the natural coolant. Much of the ash and tar generated through burning the substance in your bong gets absorbed upon contact with the water in the chamber. Many harmful chemicals also get dissolved in the water. Natural and neutral components in the smoke, which are largely responsible for the flavor and texture, are allowed to pass through the water filtration process.
Cigarettes, dry pipes, and other forms of smoking that do not involve any water tend to generate hot smoke. It is unhealthy to expose your throat and lungs to high levels of heat. The heat is also a reason for what is known as ‘smoker’s lips’. The water in a bong serves as the coolant. It reduces the temperature of the smoke by absorbing heat. As the water itself gets warmer, you get to draw cool smoke.
However, the smoke has to remain optimally hot to retain the flavor and texture. Many of the chemicals in herbs, cannabis, and other products that you rely on for the high and relaxation get vaporized if the temperature dips too low. You can easily prevent excessive cooling by regulating the water level. Whenever you fill up a bong chamber or hookah base, you must use only as much water as to submerge the down-stem.
Percolators in Bongs
You are probably aware of the usage of percolators in bongs. Most of the midrange to premium contemporary bongs come with fancy percolators aiming to be more effective at filtering the smoke. Percolators do serve as an additional filtering mechanism after or with water. Some percolators are as simple as diffusers or bubble creators. These produce bubbles as you draw the smoke. The bubbles expand the surface area of water in the chamber. A larger surface area obviously absorbs more ash, tar, and harmful chemical emissions in the smoke.
A few bongs have more than one percolator. There may be an ash catcher. This serves as an additional filter to water which already absorbs much of the ash. Some percolators are multipurpose, serving as both diffuser and ash catcher. Whatever be the specific features of a percolator, you must familiarize yourself so you do not buy one that makes your sessions a tad harder. Multiple chambers, whether for water or percolator, naturally imply there is more interference, and your drawing of the smoke will need a bit more effort in such models.
The Science Fails with Unclean Water and Percolator
The science behind bongs works only when you use a cleansed device and clean water. Do not reuse dirty water from an earlier session. Do not keep your bong including the percolator aside for long without cleaning. Dirty water does not have the same filtration capacity. It also loses the ability to effectively cool the smoke. Unclean percolator will not do its job. Stained and burdened, it will allow the smoke to flow unfiltered or there will be a blockage. The blockage may be partial or complete. Do not use chlorinated water in a bong chamber.