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Isopropyl Alcohol as a Fuel

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Samsaranda19/07/2017 17:19:48
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Is Isopropyl Alcohol suitable for use as a fuel to power model internal combustion engines. My thoughts initially are that it would produce less residues and these may well be less toxic or irritant. I am unsure whether it would have the correct properties to burn efficiently when mixed with air as in a conventional carburettor. Isopropyl Alcohol appears to be readily available at a reasonable price from many suppliers on the well known Internet website, would appreciate any views on the subject.

Dave

Nick_G19/07/2017 18:01:03
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.

It will. - But not as well and will wash the bore of all lubricants so not good for extended running.

As it happens there is a thread on another site about this and linking a video.

Edited By Nick_G on 19/07/2017 18:02:17

SillyOldDuffer19/07/2017 18:05:12
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As a fuel Isopropyl Alcohol is very like Methylated Spirit.

So I was going to say stick to meths because it's cheaper. I'm not so sure now because most meths currently on sale in the UK is 94%, probably because water's been added to it. That's not good in an IC engine especially as full strength meths only has a heat value about half that of petrol.

As far as I know Iso-propanol is pure, in which case it should be better than meths. But I can't answer your big question because I don't know if meths has ever been successfully used in a model IC engine?

Dave

Edit: Nick_G got in first.  He says its works and I believe him!

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 19/07/2017 18:06:21

Nick_G19/07/2017 19:32:02
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.

The Naptha (not sure of spelling) is another and proven alternative to petrol although I think it has a lower octane rating.

Think a lot of environmentally minded councils specify it in their lawnmowers and strimmers etc. Don't think the fumes are anywhere near as toxic either.

Nick

Neil Wyatt19/07/2017 21:44:26
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Naptha is a catch-all for the lighter components of crude oil, I can't see why it would be more environmentally friendly.

Adrian Giles19/07/2017 21:44:38
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If you use a product called 'Aspen' or one of its contemporaries, these are alkylate fuels , containing no petroleum, will not go off like unleaded, having a five year shelf life helps a lot as well! It is ethanol free, so no water problems, has no benzines, and burns without the fumes and smells associated with petrol. This is what most Authorities and Contractors now use for mowers and brush cutters, hedge trimmers etc., due to the improved health benefits to their workers and the environment. You could use Coleman fuel as well, but is the same stuff as Aspen, but is four times the price!

duncan webster19/07/2017 22:46:41
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It's stunningly expensive, about 3 times the price of unleaded, but I'm going to get some to try in my Coleman stove, as that won't run a top heat on pump petrol

not done it yet20/07/2017 10:09:53
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Methylated spirit is ethanol, Iso propanol is the next one up the series, so less volatile.

Methanol used to be added to ethanol to denature it (hence 'methylated' - so it was not suitable for drinking and could be sold without being severely taxed (by the 'customer and exercise mob'.

Unfortuately methanol is poisonous and caused death or blindness in those that consumed it. Modern methylated spirits contain a bittering agent to give it a really nasty taste. Only pure, or absolute, ethanol approaches 100% purity. One cannot distill ethanol from an aqueous mixture without it containing at least 4% water, so 96% has always been the highest ethanol content in any sensible methylated spirit.

Samsaranda20/07/2017 10:32:03
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Hi Guys

Many thanks for your prompt and enlightening replies, it would seem that Isopropyl alcohol is probably not good to use because of the way it washes the bores and hence would dilute or remove any lubricant in the bore. Nick, the you tube video was brilliant and being able to watch the combustion of different fuels was really useful, having seen the video it really shows how aceteleyne can be very dangerous if not used correctly. I recommend anyone interested in engines to view the video featured above. I had considered Coleman fuel as an alternative to gasoline but was wary because of price but thanks to Adrian I now know that there is Aspen which is the same but considerably cheaper. Thanks again Guys, amazing how much knowledge and information is readily available with this site.

Dave

SillyOldDuffer20/07/2017 10:58:25
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Here's what they thought in 1922!

dsc04466.jpg

Dave

Vic20/07/2017 10:58:54
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You can buy what some call "industrial" meths which is 99.5% Ethanol.

**LINK**

I managed to get a small bottle of it to run my vacuum engine.

JasonB20/07/2017 12:01:49
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I mostly use Colemans in my engines, suppose it depends on how much you want to run them but I find a litre lasts me a few years.

Don't know where people are buying their Colmans but 4 times the price is a bit steep, you can get it for about £6 a litre vs £4 for 1lts of Aspen.

J

Jon Gibbs20/07/2017 13:26:48
739 forum posts

I use the 2-stroke Aspen in my chainsaw, strimmer and leaf blower. The big advantage for me is that the fuel can stay in there with no chance of it going off and they'll start first time no matter how long between uses. So, admittedly it's expensive but there's no waste and far less hassle.

Jon

Samsaranda20/07/2017 13:46:33
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Many Thanks "Silly Old Duffer" aka Dave, for the data from 1922, it reinforces my thoughts on Isopropyl Alcohol requiring pre-heating as per kerosine fuelled engines and with the problem of alcohol washing away lubricants, probably not the way to go.Vic thanks for the info on "industrial" meths, it would also work as a fuel but there is the problem of dissolved water content which if left for long periods between running could encourage corrosion, so again probably not the way to go. Jason glad to hear that you have used "Colemans" long term and are happy with it, there appears to be positive results with this choice of fuel and it is fairly easy to purchase, I know that "Millets" used to sell it, can"t envisage ever needing to Bulk purchase it, and it seems as in your case a little goes a long way. Many Thanks.

Dave

Samsaranda20/07/2017 16:27:41
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Jon, Thanks for the info about Aspen, good to know it doesn't go off like ordinary gasoline, have had problems with my two stroke generator when only used infrequently, can be a pain to start if left for a couple of months, I know what to use in it from now on. Many thanks.

Dave

Maurice20/07/2017 16:59:48
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This thread reminds me of when I was teenager; a friend was experimenting with mixing his own two stroke mixture for his model aero-engine. The lubricating component used was "3 in 1" general lubricating oil. He got the engine running, then tried varying the ratio of oil to fuel. He fumbled something, then dropped it. the engine continued to run on neat "3 in1", Its was very slow and lumpy, but it was going round! Experiments were discontinued. This is not meant as a recommendation.

Samsaranda20/07/2017 17:39:28
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Maurice, I realise that lubricating oil is an essential component when running an engine, I think neat 3in1 did not make it to my list of fuels for obvious reasons, my recollections of dabbling with aero engines when a teenager were of many bruised fingers, surprising how many times it happened before I was able to successfully programme my fingers to keep out of the arc of the prop!!

Dave

not done it yet20/07/2017 19:18:41
6346 forum posts
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You can buy what some call "industrial" meths which is 99.5% Ethanol.

Yes, but if DW thought aspen is stunningly expensive compared to petrol, what descriptor would he use for £65 a litre plus delivery (and that would llikely be problematic).

Possibly AR (analytical grade) grade reagent from a UK supplier might be no more expensive. Or just pay the duty on the stuff.smiley

V8Eng20/07/2017 22:55:37
1634 forum posts
32 photos

I recently checked out a Mower that had been idle for many months.(with petrol in) and would only run with the choke on.

when I stripped the Carburettor there was rust in the Float Chamber and corrosion on the Pick up Pipe.

When I went to get parts from a dealer he seemed to think it might have been partly due to Ethanol additive in modern fuel.

carb2.jpg

 

carb1.jpg

Edited By V8Eng on 20/07/2017 22:57:00

SillyOldDuffer21/07/2017 10:28:14
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Posted by V8Eng on 20/07/2017 22:55:37:

...

When I went to get parts from a dealer he seemed to think it might have been partly due to Ethanol additive in modern fuel.

Edited By V8Eng on 20/07/2017 22:57:00

Maybe for an indirect reason. Digging into meths as a fuel I came across a reference to ethanol being used to control water in petrol. Apparently new petrol is often contaminated with water in storage and transport. An additional source of water in your mower's fuel might be the tank breathing damp air as it warmed and cooled during the day and through the seasons.

As water doesn't mix with petrol, it causes problems in tanks, pipe work and engines where ever it collects. Adding ethanol causes any water present in the petrol to dissolve in it, and the resulting mix is completely soluble in petrol. In this distributed form water in petrol does no damage.

So far so good but petrol goes off in storage. Ethanol would tend to evaporate with the other light fractions leaving any water in the fuel to separate out behind. Oh dear...

Dave

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