Many years ago during the R&D phase, while trying to percolate tobacco smoke through very small holes, tar deposits would quickly intervene, accumulating and solidifying to the point where the smoke could no longer flow through the pipe. This was in fact the biggest challenge, as it would render the waterpipe clogged in less than 10 smoking sessions (~20 bowls). And once clogged, those long (deep), tiny holes had to be mechanically cleaned (by poking-through each hole with a paper-clip), and could not be simply “sprayed out” with a vegetable sprayer. That mechanical poking method was simply too exhaustive and time consuming to perform that frequently on multiple holes. At this point it became apparent that we were giving the tar too much surface area to adhere to, requiring us to rethink and re-design the hole, to be more than just a hole.
The result was simply reducing the length of the hole, so in this case a nozzle throat with a minimized length (depth). Or in other words, reducing thickness of the percolator plate.
Unfortunately, reducing the percolator thickness gave rise to another problem - smoke bubbles would merge (amalgamate) shortly after leaving the percolator, and in most cases, the bubble would converge with its nearest neighbor before even leaving the surface of the percolator disk (as if the smoke sometimes didn't even care what size the hole was). This effect pretty much defeated the overall purpose of having small percolator holes in the first place. This was temporarily solved by spacing the holes out as much as possible from one another, which in turn forced us to make the holes larger (to maintain a comfortable draw resistance). This significantly spaced-hole pattern was actually the first version of our Subzero waterpipe.
But we wanted much smaller diffuser holes, and tinier bubbles. And with the current design we would be required to increase the diameter of the water bath to accommodate for the increased hole quantity (since each hole required adequate spacing from one another).
Of course here at JET, we didn't want to go the obvious route of expanding the water chamber, that route would have been bulky and just plain, boring. And not to mention, customers who purchased the first version of our Subzero waterpipe, would be required to update the tube, mouthpiece, base and diffuser, just to simply upgrade the percolator. This was out of the question, meaning this improvement had to be packed into a smaller, single-assembly upgrade, while simultaneously maintaining backwards compatibility to previous Subzero versions.
So to counteract this size constriction without sacrificing the diameter of the perc nozzles, some non-obvious, “outside of the box” idea had to be implemented into the pipe. After much trial and error, we eventually concluded that a larger and significantly longer hole or “counter-bore” placed in line with the nozzle was the best and most reliable solution. This counter-bore later became termed as the “barrel”, due to how the bubbles would travel up the counter-bore after being formed by the nozzle. The idea was to add a small delay time between the formation and discharge of neighboring bubbles, thereby decreasing the probability of two neighboring bubbles being released at almost the same time (same release time=high tendency to amalgamate).
Well that idea performed much better than originally anticipated, as the Subzero waterpipe began to produce astoundingly (noticeably) smoother hits.
This led us to conclude that the addition of these barrels had a significantly larger influence on smoke filtration than ever imagined. Aside from solving the close-proximity bubble-amalgamation problem, these barrels increased the duration of each bubbles journey to the surface of the bath, by a larger-than-expected amount.
The Result? Bubbles (and the smoke contained within) remained small, separate from one-another, and were exposed to the water bath for longer durations. This meant that the smoke had more of a chance to interact with the water, resulting in a dangerously-smooth hit.
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2014 JET Filtration Systems