In order to get an example of the scope of this fire, I came up with some calculations to try and find the magnitude of inferno we produce that enables us to move around at will. I did not use real scientific research to arrive at my figures but used a reasonable estimate to suppose that at any given moment there are likely two hundred million personal motor vehicles on highways worldwide traveling at cruising speed. I also assigned the average number of cylinders at work to be six per vehicle. At this rate, we have one point two billion cylinders laboring all the time. What would this fire look like?
To get the picture, I used these estimates to arrive at the enormity of fuel air explosion that was continually going off. Assuming that all these vehicles are going at cruising speed, I deduced they averaged around three thousand revolutions per minute. Dividing by sixty we arrive at fifty per second. In normal four stroke engines, a power stroke is sparked every other turn. So each cylinder produces twenty five explosions per second. By my estimate of cars cruising, we have thirty billion ignitions per second of fuel air mixture. That would seem an enormous conflagration were it even matches being struck. I have a notion that the fire in an automobile cylinder is a tad larger that a firestick.
Now, I will try to construct a picture of what it would look like were the fuel expended in one second to go off in one place in one huge fireball. A cylinder on a large bore engine displaces forty five cubic inches, a small engine roughly thirty six. A good mean is forty cubic inches. Using this figure, results that in one second our car engines inhale one point two trillion cubic inches of air fuel mixture. This figure yields six hundred and ninety five million cubic feet. Roughly this could be contained in a box with nine hundred foot sides. That describes a huge piston. I cannot fathom what a detonation of this order would look like. But, it is not too difficult to extrapolate that a blast on this order occurring every second could likely drive our planet into a new orbit.