Cracking is the process of breaking down large complex molecules such as tar into lighter gases by exposure to heat. This process is crucial for the production of clean gas that is compatible with an internal combustion engine because tar gases condense into sticky tar that will rapidly foul the valves of an engine. Cracking is also necessary to ensure proper combustion because complete combustion only occurs when combustible gases thoroughly mix with oxygen. In the course of combustion, the high temperatures produced decompose the large tar molecules that pass through the combustion zone.
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