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Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:34 pm
by Woods Walker
I am working on a review for an alcohol stove. It had a small explosion for some unknown reason. The temps were in the upper 40's. 10 years ago had the same issue only a much bigger bang with a Trangia Military burner. That flash pushed the cloth material out the bottom gap and sprayed my face with alcohol. It extinguished the fire instantly. This one was smaller with no damage to the stove. As it only happened once and for reasons unknown to me not going to include this in the stove review however will post this separately for discussion.

Stove.

Traingia and Alocs.

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Explosion in sequence.

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Fuel was denatured alcohol. The stove basically new (Alocs was the one that flashed). Maybe 10 burns with 10 more after that. I have no answers.

Here is a video.


Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 12:23 am
by MPMalloy
I'm glad that you weren't hurt! :D

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 3:07 pm
by Blast
Can you give specifics on the brand of DE you were using? Different companies (Sunnyside, Crown, HEET, etc) are made of different amounts of ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and the like. This will have an effect on the flame characteristics when used as a fuel.

Disclaimer: I’m the R&D Manager/lead chemist for one of the companies that sells denatured alcohol so I kind of have a stake in this.
-Blast

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 6:31 am
by JayceSlayn
My two guesses on cause:
1. A drop of water inside the stove boiled and/or flashed to steam, raising the pressure and atomizing some fuel, causing the explosion.
2. Trapped airspace within the stove can create a potentially explosive air/fuel mixture, but usually doesn't ignite because the flame is quenched at the burner holes - one of these holes is too large, or another large enough gap in the stove design caused a flashback and ignited the air/fuel mixture in the dead space above the fuel reservoir.

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:08 am
by bltjr1951
Hiram Cook on youtube uses alcohol burners all the time, never mentions blow ups.
I have seen warnings on sailing web sites that mention alcohol burners causing fires because of blow ups.
One guy said his burner had two foot high flame coming out when it blew up.
Had read some thought burners were too full when used.
Most I use is two ounces of DE in my military trangia.

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:54 am
by NT2C
JayceSlayn wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 6:31 am
My two guesses on cause:
1. A drop of water inside the stove boiled and/or flashed to steam, raising the pressure and atomizing some fuel, causing the explosion.
2. Trapped airspace within the stove can create a potentially explosive air/fuel mixture, but usually doesn't ignite because the flame is quenched at the burner holes - one of these holes is too large, or another large enough gap in the stove design caused a flashback and ignited the air/fuel mixture in the dead space above the fuel reservoir.
My money is on the water droplets scenario. This looks too much like what happens in trying to extinguish a grease fire with water.

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:58 pm
by moab
Blast wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:07 pm
Can you give specifics on the brand of DE you were using? Different companies (Sunnyside, Crown, HEET, etc) are made of different amounts of ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and the like. This will have an effect on the flame characteristics when used as a fuel.

Disclaimer: I’m the R&D Manager/lead chemist for one of the companies that sells denatured alcohol so I kind of have a stake in this.
-Blast
And the Godfather of Knowledge About HEET award goes to...

I see these kinds of posts every once in awhile. Where some dude thats like the ultimate expert in some obscure but very relevant field dealing with bugging out. Needs to go in my Bugging Out Rolodex (Ya. I'm that old. If your too young my Contacts List.) I always mean to do this. But then just swear to never lose them to memory loss. There should be a list on here someplace. That's always kept up to date. "HEET Expert - Blast" "Go ask him any question you might ever have about HEET or HEET related products." I think this is a great idea. Of which all my ideas after 8:30 pm are "great" ideas. But I feel pretty good about this one.

I might feel differently tomorrow...

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:21 am
by NT2C
moab wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:58 pm
Blast wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:07 pm
Can you give specifics on the brand of DE you were using? Different companies (Sunnyside, Crown, HEET, etc) are made of different amounts of ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and the like. This will have an effect on the flame characteristics when used as a fuel.

Disclaimer: I’m the R&D Manager/lead chemist for one of the companies that sells denatured alcohol so I kind of have a stake in this.
-Blast
And the Godfather of Knowledge About HEET award goes to...

I see these kinds of posts every once in awhile. Where some dude thats like the ultimate expert in some obscure but very relevant field dealing with bugging out. Needs to go in my Bugging Out Rolodex (Ya. I'm that old. If your too young my Contacts List.) I always mean to do this. But then just swear to never lose them to memory loss. There should be a list on here someplace. That's always kept up to date. "HEET Expert - Blast" "Go ask him any question you might ever have about HEET or HEET related products." I think this is a great idea. Of which all my ideas after 8:30 pm are "great" ideas. But I feel pretty good about this one.

I might feel differently tomorrow...
If you remember. :mrgreen:

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:32 am
by moab
NT2C wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:21 am
moab wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:58 pm
Blast wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 3:07 pm
Can you give specifics on the brand of DE you were using? Different companies (Sunnyside, Crown, HEET, etc) are made of different amounts of ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, and the like. This will have an effect on the flame characteristics when used as a fuel.

Disclaimer: I’m the R&D Manager/lead chemist for one of the companies that sells denatured alcohol so I kind of have a stake in this.
-Blast
And the Godfather of Knowledge About HEET award goes to...

I see these kinds of posts every once in awhile. Where some dude thats like the ultimate expert in some obscure but very relevant field dealing with bugging out. Needs to go in my Bugging Out Rolodex (Ya. I'm that old. If your too young my Contacts List.) I always mean to do this. But then just swear to never lose them to memory loss. There should be a list on here someplace. That's always kept up to date. "HEET Expert - Blast" "Go ask him any question you might ever have about HEET or HEET related products." I think this is a great idea. Of which all my ideas after 8:30 pm are "great" ideas. But I feel pretty good about this one.

I might feel differently tomorrow...
If you remember. :mrgreen:
Right?! lol!

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:15 pm
by Blast
Denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, linseed oil (boiled or regular), Japan drier, lacquer thinner, paint thinner, white gas... Tomorrow the blend plant will be making my new paint stripper that works as fast as methyl chloride but does kill people! Yeah, if it's poisonous or flammable and found in a hardware store it's probably made and packaged at my chemical plant.

In regards to the water droplet theory...that brings to mind what my dad said about his alcohol-fueled (car, not him) racing days. Drivers would rig up a little squirter to mist some water in at the carburetor. The theory was the expansion force of the water vapor due to the heat of the alcohol burning was greater than just the expansion force from combustion products of the alcohol. Insert BOSS here (Big Blackboard of Science Stuff). We run a water-content measurement on all our products because in most cases water is bad for the products' end uses. Denature alcohol will absorb water from the atmosphere so if it was packaged on a humid day or if the user left it uncapped for a while on a really humid day...fireball.
-Blast

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:28 am
by norcalprep
Blast wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:15 pm
...fireball.
-Blast
Ah! Now I understand how you picked your screenname. :awesome:

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:25 am
by JayceSlayn
Blast wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:15 pm
Denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, linseed oil (boiled or regular), Japan drier, lacquer thinner, paint thinner, white gas... Tomorrow the blend plant will be making my new paint stripper that works as fast as methyl chloride but does kill people! Yeah, if it's poisonous or flammable and found in a hardware store it's probably made and packaged at my chemical plant.

In regards to the water droplet theory...that brings to mind what my dad said about his alcohol-fueled (car, not him) racing days. Drivers would rig up a little squirter to mist some water in at the carburetor. The theory was the expansion force of the water vapor due to the heat of the alcohol burning was greater than just the expansion force from combustion products of the alcohol. Insert BOSS here (Big Blackboard of Science Stuff). We run a water-content measurement on all our products because in most cases water is bad for the products' end uses. Denature alcohol will absorb water from the atmosphere so if it was packaged on a humid day or if the user left it uncapped for a while on a really humid day...fireball.
-Blast
Water injection has been used historically in military piston-driven aircraft to improve performance for a limited time, and continues in some limited usage today. The main purpose was to use the cooling effect of the water mist to enable an increased intake charge (slight boost naturally by cooling the intake charge, but more effective via turbo/supercharger boost) while reducing the likelihood of knocking, and allowing an advanced ignition timing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_injection_(engine)

Re: Alcohol stove explosion.

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:16 pm
by Blast
Hey, that’s good information on the water-injection cooling of engines. Thank!
-Blast