Smoking cannabis is a many-nuanced activity with plenty of different results. Some people aren’t that bothered by a harsh rip from the pipe as long as the smoke is potent but steamroller pipes and chillums can get that job done with potentially better results. Chances are that the same people who buy glass water pipes are the ones that want a smoother smoke sesh. There are various factors that can help your water pipe iron out those rips but today we’re going to focus on diffusion.
What is Diffusion?
Since there’s no universal lexicon in the cannabis universe, diffusion can seem like a challenging concept to pin down. Writing for Toke of the Town
, professional glassblower Scott “Trikky” Saed pointed out that terms such as “filtered”, “percolated” and “diffused” are often used to describe the same process, depending on with whom you’re speaking. Diffusion specifically relates to the surface area of the smoke that makes contact with the water. The greater the surface area of the smoke coming into contact with the water, the smoother the hit. This sounds simple enough but how does your favorite pipe fit into the equation?
How Exactly Does Diffusion Work With Glass Water Pipes?
If a glassblower has set his/her designs on fashioning a glass pipe that takes advantage of premium diffusion, s/he must devise a way of maximizing the smoke’s surface area in relation to its contact with the water in the chamber. This can often be achieved through using diffusers or diffusing points, more often referred to as percolators. Diffusion and percolation aren’t necessarily the same thing though they often work in tandem. Percolation is the process by which smoke travels through the water whereas diffusion is how that smoke is broken up within the water. So, a percolator involves percolation because it’s guiding the smoke through the water. A percolator likewise involves diffusion because it is breaking up the smoke into smaller bubbles.
Small Bubbles = Big Fun
As smoke is pulled through water, bubbles are created. Part of the trick is to create a design that will make these bubbles as small as possible. Why do you want smaller bubbles? Because smaller bubbles contribute to a larger surface area. This is because that transfer between gas and liquid is happening between each individual bubble as opposed to a few large bubbles. Larger surface area hitting the water reduces temperature. And reduced temperature leads to silkier hits. If you’re used to smoking out of glass water pipes with simple downstems, your bubbles will be pretty large and therefore your hits will be that much harsher. So, in short, diffusion is your friend if you want smooth, satiny hits that are easy on the throat. If you want to experience the scientific splendor of diffusion, your best bet is to shop for glass water pipes with decent built-in percolators capable of producing plenty of bubbles to maximize that surface area. Honeycomb percs are notably great for diffusion but you can find percs in all sorts of designs that can do the trick swimmingly.
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