Adding water to alcohol fuel

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Twoberth, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Twoberth

    Twoberth United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hello,
    I have been following recent and old threads on alcohol fuels, and there are several references to water additions preventing/reducing sooting of pans.

    I don’t understand why adding water to alcohol would reduce the sooting of cooking pans. Even if the flame is burning rich, extra water in a flame will not affect the burn cleanliness - since it doesn’t add any extra oxygen or consume any carbon. In fact water, as steam, is one of the stable products of complete combustion.


    So, as the water is both oxygen and carbon neutral in the combustion process, does the extra steam in the exhaust just stop the soot from sticking to the pan?
     
  2. gieorgijewski

    gieorgijewski Subscriber

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    sooting is insufficent oxygene in flame area
    in that process (burning) we can not (easy) add extra oxygene
    but We can make "slower" carbon flow from the tank by adding extra transported capacity (water)
     
  3. Majicwrench

    Majicwrench Subscriber

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    I certainly don't know the chemistry involved, I do know Trangia recommends adding water.

    I use Everclear for fuel, and I feel a bit of water helps prevent the burner from getting out of control too.
     
  4. gieorgijewski

    gieorgijewski Subscriber

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    :)
    adding the water makes proper air–fuel ratio for combustion
    the same what makes carburettor...
    but air flow is constant
    pressurised fuel flow (depends on construction) is "as is"
    "rich" or "pour" fuel - is the way to set up proper air–fuel ratio
     
  5. Lennart F Sweden

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    In the new versions of some alcohol fuels where the methyl alcohol part is replaced by some propyl- and butyl alcohol, it seems that water mix doesn't limit the excessive sooting.
     
  6. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    Each brand of ethanol may burn a bit differently. I think you need to add progressive amounts of water till you are happy with the cleanliness. My testing showed my ethanol will burn quite clean with water added, at the price of diminishing the power. My undiluted ethanol is not so bad; I have decided to add no water and carry a rag or paper towel to wipe off the small amount of soot. Brad
     
  7. Marc

    Marc Subscriber

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    My yellow HEET leaves no soot at all.
     
  8. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    Ah yes, but Heet is methanol. I think the gist of the discussion was how to use safer to use and handle ethanol. There is no doubt that the Kleenstrip types as well are very clean burning. If one has no objections to using and burning methanol then the decision is easy.
     
  9. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I have no objections to using and burning methanol, especially when it is mixed into ethanol.

    I haven't had pan sooting with basic Kleenstrip-typed denatured alcohol.