Friday, December 28, 2007

Coleman Fuel in an Alcohol Stove

Popcanstove1.jpg
This is a popcan alcohol stove.

popcanstove2.jpg
This is a alcohol stove burning Coleman fuel.

Alcohol-fueled backpacking stoves are cheap, easy to use and very lightweight. Many people make their own from aluminum soda cans. A common question that comes up is can other fuels like Coleman Fuel, gasoline or kerosene be used in an alcohol stove?

NO THEY CAN'T!!

Those higher-carbon count fuels burn much hotter than alcohols such as methanol, ethanol or isopropanol (the three most common fuels used in alcohol stoves). That's one of the reasons you need to burn about 15% more alcohol based fuel in your car to go the same distance you would go running pure gasoline.

Let me talk a little about how the alcohol fuel stoves work. Once you light the stove it heats up which causes the alcohol inside the stove to vaporize and shoot out the burner holes. This vaporized alcohol ignites in a clear blue flame about an inch high. Since it doesn't burn super hot the alcohol vaporizes at a controlled, low pressure rate.

Now, replace the alcohol with Coleman fuel. This burns much hotter than alcohol so the Coleman fuel ends up vaporizing much quicker and in higher volume. To quickly for the stove to handle. It'll turn into a blowtorch. If it's made of aluminum cans it's quite likely it'll either blow up spraying burning fuel everywhere or just melt and spill burning fuel everywhere. If it's one of those high-tech titanium stoves it'll probably just blow up. Same with the brass alcohol burner found in a Swedish Mess Kit.

Comprende?

Adventure! Excitment! Explosions!

1 comment:

katty said...

I love the big stove specially because i like to cook all kind of recipe, how ever i prefer to have a reasonable place. Actually i saw a beautiful stove in a house that was published in costa rica homes for sale it was big and beautiful, i think i will go there because it catched my attention.