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Re: [TCML] solvents
Hi Marko, all,
Thanks Marko, for changing the subject line ;^)
First of all let me say that I realize that many of
the fellow list members are full grown men and
most guys >35 are pretty well set in their ways.
That being said, it was my not original intention
to totally demonize the use of gasoline as a sol-
vent. I was only trying to point out the real dan-
gers of careless handling of the said petroleum
distillate. Also, I do tend to get a little concerned
about the proliferation of the *using gasoline* ad-
vice because of the fact that there is a significant
younger audience that also subscribes to this list,
many still in high school, perhaps some even still
in junior high school. As Bart has already pointed
out, common sense would tell us not to play around
with high voltage, too, as this can also be very dang-
erous when carelessly handled, but the sheer fact
that anyone has subscribed to this list and is active-
ly following these threads shows that they/we have
no intentions of heeding that advice! However, we all
do exercise at least some degree of safety practices
to engage in this risky activity or not many of us
would still be living to discuss our HV escapades.
Common sense fire safety practices must also be
implemented to work with gasoline period if it is
going to be accomplished without unacceptable
As you have pointed out, once anything has been
dissolved in a solvent (tar in gasoline, in this case) the
physical properties of the said solvent will of course
change. Where the problem lies is with the pure gaso-
line BEFORE you start dissolviing the tar in it. At
this point, it still does have a -43*F flashpoint, so at
pretty much any temperature that you could stand to
work in, it is still going to be quite volatile. Of course,
the higher the ambient temperature, the worse this
problem becomes - gasoline would be much more
dangerous to work with at 90*F than at 40*F be-
cause of its volatility. I too, have used gasoline many
times in the past for "cleanup" as it does serve this
purpose quite well but I also try to be very safety
conscious about where I do it at and take all reason-
able precautions to see that there is not a source of
ignition within "reach" of fumes that happen to fall
within the 1.4% to 7.6% fuel/air mixture range. Any-
thing lower than1.4% is too LEAN, any thing above
7.6% is too RICH, but any mixture that falls within
this range will indeed ignite. Adequate ventillation is
your freind here to make sure that the fumes stay
WAY too lean to ignite! ;^)
I suppose the only reason that Chip hasn't already
squashed this thread that has really drifted way OT
is that it is addressing a safety issue.
Bottom line - if you decide to use gasoline as a sol-
vent to clean off the stubborn tar from an NST's
guts, just be fire safety conscious and be well aware
of the risk.
Sermon is over,
----- Original Message -----
From: "mark olson" <kc5gym@xxxxxxx>
To: "Tesla Coil Mailing List" <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:06 PM
Subject: [TCML] solvents
I did an experiment involving gasoline, tar, and a 55 gallon drum with
good hot fire in it.
Here is what I found:
the gasoline that had tar in it acted much like diesel fuel.
Of course, the obvious question is how much tar is dissolved in the
I melted the tar out of a large NST and cleaned everything over a period
of days using about 3.5 gallons of gas.
Gunk was precipitating out of the gas. Gas was evaporating, even though
ambient was about 40 F average.
After all cleaning, rinsing with fresh gas, was done, I had about 2
gallons of black s__t.
So happens there was a fire barrel established, so I began to dispose of
the blacksh_t about a pint @ time.
found that it did not flash, no hint of detonation.
gas would made me a crispy critter. Why was I brave (foolish)? because i
witnessed an attempt to start the
barrel using the black sh_t. It is not volatile like gas. I had a big
clue, please don't call me stupid.
I still walk and talk. No coincidence.
I set the rest of the tar solvent on a grill resting over the barrel. It
boiled, but did not light. I lit it off with an
aerosol spray, nothing of note, the light ends were gone, basically a
heavy diesel fire, a bit smokey,
nothing like gas.
Not disputing, just reporting
As a professional firefighter for nearly 20 years now my obvious
main concern with gasoline is not its economic feasability as a
solvent but its high volatility and flammability when handled care-
lessly. Although nearly everyone is well aware of the flammability of
gasoline, some people tend to forget that the heavier-than-air fumes can
spread out a considerable distance from the liquid fuel
source and can find any source of ignition that could have easily
been overlooked (i.e. water heater pilot light), and ignite explo-
sively. Remember, gasoline has a flashpoint of -45*F, so it will
produce very ignitable vapors at virtually any ambient operational
temperature. And once gasoline is ignited, it burns with a thermal yield
of approximately 34 MegaJoules/ liter (which is actually LESS thermal
yield than that of less refined petroleum products like kerosene, heating
oil, or diesel) but since gasoline ignites so readily, thanks to its very
low flashpoint temperature, and since it burns so rapidly once ignited,
this makes it a solvent choice of
considerable danger, from a fire safety point of view. Sorry for the
run-on sentence but the bottom line is that if you do choose to use
gasoline for this purpose (I've been guilty of doing it myself),
then please be very fire safety conscious!
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