Liquid Glass Stars as Engine-Killer for Clunkers

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2009 8:09 AM CDT
Liquid Glass Stars as Engine-Killer for Clunkers
A worker adds sodium silicate solution to an engine to disable it on a cash for clunkers car at the Smart Motors auto dealership in Madison, Wis. last week.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

The federal cash-for-clunkers program is sending demand through the roof for a chemical normally used to repel bugs or seal concrete, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sodium silicate, known as liquid glass, has been designated the agent of execution for old models traded in under the program. Auto dealers are required to pour the compound into engines, destroying them within minutes and making sure the vehicles can't be returned to the road.

Dealers predict that the price of used engines will soar in years to come, as an entire generation of old vehicles is destroyed. Mechanics, meanwhile, are jumping at the chance to try out the engine-killer. At one dealership that times the executions, the compound took two minutes to kill a 2002 Ford Windstar, while a 1988 Dodge van held out for six. "Sometimes those old engines, they're the hardest to kill," the dealership's president notes. (More sodium silicate stories.)

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