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1144Re: [pop-pop-steamboats] Methyl hydrate wick burners to make steam.

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  • Donald Qualls
    Aug 23, 2008
      darylcanada73 wrote:
      > I have been making and using these burners for my putt putts, usually
      > custom designed to fit a particular boat and motor. They are easy to
      > build and work well. An engine I just built required lots of heat in a
      > rather long and narrow shape so I built a burner using two 1" flat lamp
      > wicks side by side. Looked good and burned OK but it did not provide
      > the heat I required. Replaced it with a burner I had at hand using
      > three 1/4" round wicks made in my usual way with cotton string in brass
      > tubing. I was surprised to find that the three round wicks made more
      > heat than the 2 inches of flat wick. Fuel consumption was high with the
      > flat wicks.
      > Can any of you steam guys explain this?

      I expect the difference is related to how air mixes with the evaporating
      fuel in the flame. The flat wick will have a long area in which the air
      mixes in two-dimensionally, while a small round wick always mixes
      three-dimensionally; that means the larger wick burns with a taller
      flame (better for illumination, which is what flat wicks were made for)
      and, in a tight installation, may have been quenching the flame against
      the metal of the boiler. The extra fuel consumption was probably either
      burning off after the vapors had left the active area of the boiler or
      simply being lost unburned (the latter you should smell as a much
      greater alcohol odor compared to the three wick burner).

      Generally, if the flame contacts the boiler surface with anything except
      the extreme tip (the part of a candle flame that's starting to get faint
      as it rises, though this is much harder to see with the faint flame of
      alcohol), it's going to burn inefficiently and have both a lower
      transfer temperature and reduced total heat transfer.

      If, through hard work and perseverance, you finally get what you want,
      it's probably a sign you weren't dreaming big enough.

      Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer http://silent1.home.netcom.com

      Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
      and don't expect them to be perfect.
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