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Will a RC car glow plug ignite propane?

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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Will a RC car glow plug ignite propane?

Unread postAuthor: jhalek90 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:49 pm

My first question is will a RC glow plug ignite a propane filled chamber?

The chamber is 1'' PVC.

Second question: The PVC will stand up to a simple, metered propane fill, right?
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Unread postAuthor: maxa1 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:01 pm

umm not shure if the glow plug will because they are made for lighting flash paper ect and not gases but it might work
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Unread postAuthor: c11man » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:03 pm

it should work
and max i dont know were you are getting flash paper from but these ignite the fuel in rc engines
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Unread postAuthor: metalmeltr » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:11 pm

I see no problem with this being used to ignte propane.
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Unread postAuthor: kjjohn » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:15 pm

1. Yes and glow plug will work, and
2. If you are asking if the PVC will withstand the pressure, yes, it will. The ignition of the fuel will produce over 100 times as much pressure as the injected fuel will, and people have safely used up to 125psi in PVC.
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:42 pm

An RC glow plug (or diesel glow plug) won't necessarily ignite fuel. In an engine with a glow plug the fuel is compressed and compressive heating is what ignites it. The glow plug is only used when the engine is cold.

Kjjohn: "The ignition of the fuel will produce over 100 times as much pressure as the injected fuel will". Uh, you are off by about a factor of 10. A generic combustion spud gun will hit about 9 ATM (135 PSIG) if the round jams in the barrel. If the round actually moves then the peak pressure is more like 4 ATM or so. So the chamber pressure typically goes up by about a factor of 4 or so, not 100.
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Unread postAuthor: SpudBlaster15 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:48 pm

I wouldn't count on it working; the operation of an RC glow plug is based in part on a catalytic reaction between the methanol in glow fuel and the platinum/iridium alloy used to construct the element.

However, I haven't tried it, since a cheap BBQ piezo igniter is 100% reliable at igniting a stoichiometric propane/air mix.
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RC glow plugs, Propane, and pyrotechc safety

Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:47 pm

jimmy101 wrote:An RC glow plug (or diesel glow plug) won't necessarily ignite fuel. In an engine with a glow plug the fuel is compressed and compressive heating is what ignites it. The glow plug is only used when the engine is cold.


In reality, the glow element is hot all the time. Electric power is used for starting. After it is running, the engine compression and ignitiion keeps it at incandescent temperatures. If you have ever operated a glow RC engine at night, you can see the glow reflected off the piston in the exhaust ports. After the engine is started and running, the glow is brighter (hotter) after the battery is disconnected.

A glow plug can ignite propane. A bright orange glow is required do to the auto ignition temperature of propane. A low battery will cause igniton problems. A small (tiny) piece of flashpaper can be used as an ignitor helper. Do not attempt to use flashpaper as a propellant.

In the earlier post regarding flashpaper, RC glowplugs are often used to ignite pyrotechnics on stage as part of magic acts and such. Flash powder takes more ignition energy and can explode in confined spaces. Flashpaper is used to eject the flaspowder and ignite it for a brighter flash sparks and smoke than you get from just flashpaper. This paragraph is NOT for using these materials for a launcher or ejecting a projectile. Do not ever use flashpaoer or flashpowder in a confined combustion chamber. Use it in aproved flashpots for pyrotechnic stage effects only following the manufacturer's instructions and following all local regulations regarding these effects in a show. (yes I have done this)
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Unread postAuthor: Heimo » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:13 pm

perhaps a glow bar from a gas oven will do the trick, since igniting gas is the intended purpose of these things. I just do not know how much current these things draw

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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:52 pm

Those hot surface ignitors are Silicon Nitride. They resemble glass and are reasonably fragile. Treat them like fine china. They don't bend. They shatter if dropped and will probably shatter in the presence of a strong shock wave. I have not tried one for a combustion, but have changed a couple in gas furnaces. They are brittle, they do crack and fail. The are also expensive.

http://www.ignitors.com/glossary/silico ... nitor.html
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