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is alcohol a useable fuel?

Post questions and info about combustion (flammable vapor) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about fuels, ratios, ignition systems, safety, and anything else relevant.
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Unread postAuthor: LikimysCrotchus5 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:55 pm

Well you can do this but it would be better if you did a fuel measurements to find out how much is actually needed for optimal performance.

To do this, you just have to do some fairly simple chemistry. The combustion of isopropyl alcohol id as follows:
2C3H8O + 9O2 -> 6CO2 + 8H2O

So the ratio of oxygen to isopropyl alcohol is 2:9 ratio. Then since 21% of air is oxygen we put that into the equation: 2/9 * .21 = .04666 or 4.7%. So 4.7% of the chamber volume should be the isopropyl alcohol.
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Unread postAuthor: sputnick » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:57 pm

I still think that just a cheap spray bottle is a good idea, you really only need all kinds of measuring equipment for advanced spuds with propane and all that, after you find how many sprays you need, you don't really need to get any more precise than that.
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:53 pm

Yeah isopropyl achohol works. I've used a spray bottle that beauty salons use to spray water or product on your hair...get em at a Sally Beauty Supply store. They make a nice little fog of achohol..use in spray and pray mode.
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Unread postAuthor: jon_89 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:00 am

How well did it work and how much did you use?
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Unread postAuthor: starman » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:18 am

This was several years ago and I used the 70% stuff. It wasn't anything to write home about but it does work. A well aired out chamber and a couple of fog squirts. Doesn't work very well in cold or humid weather.

Another thing that works with the spray bottle in RC model engine gas 10% - 20 % nitro, and as low caster oil as you can find...it ends up collecting in the chamber. Good blast though.... :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: salasd » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:16 am

technicly yeah, but id just be measuring how much i put in
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:54 pm

1. Yes, you can use alcohol or any other volatile flammable liquid.
2. No, you don't really need a sprayer or atomizer.
3. The quantity of alcohol required for a typical sized chamber is very small, generally a drop or two or three.
4. If you have a chamber fan (and we all know a combustion gun should have a chamber fan) it'll only takes a few seconds for the drops to evaporate.
5. Measuring a few drops accurately isn't all that easy. It is easy to get a combustable mixture, it is hard to get the mixture dead on.

More info on using liquid fuels is here.
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