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Author: Subject: Acetone Burner
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 14:38
Acetone Burner


I am thinking about making a burner, the easiest to make is alcohol, but as ethanol is really expensive where I live, is it safe to use nail polish remover acetone as fuel for burner?
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 14:53


I can't see why not. It all depends on what the nail polish remover contains. Residues might be a problem.

Edit: Is denatured alcohol really (much) more expensive than nail polish remover? I find that hard to believe...

[Edited on 14-6-2010 by Lambda-Eyde]
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 15:16


Quote: Originally posted by Lambda-Eyde  
I can't see why not. It all depends on what the nail polish remover contains. Residues might be a problem.

Edit: Is denatured alcohol really (much) more expensive than nail polish remover? I find that hard to believe...

[Edited on 14-6-2010 by Lambda-Eyde]


Actually I checked price of 1litre 100% or very close to that and it was 17$. I will check for denatured alcohol. There is also nail polish remover that contains isopropyl alcohol, calcium chloride, something like methyl chloride.. I hope those won't have toxic combustion products. But then again for smaller flame I could just buy a candle (though, it's more messy).
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 15:25


I'd go for the denatured alcohol, hands-down. I take it you mean methylene chloride and not methyl chloride. Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) won't burn and will probably yield harmful products on pyrolysis, like many other halogenated solvents.

Edit: The calcium chloride will also be a problem, leaving residues in your burner.

[Edited on 14-6-2010 by Lambda-Eyde]
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 16:00


My recollection is that acetone doesn't burn very cleanly, and it may not be very safe.

No hydrogen bonding to raise the temperature of vaporization (BP). Expensive too.

Why not burn something cheaper like isopropyl alcohol?

Or, for clean burning.....Methylated Spirits (or Methanol?). Seems to me, jewelers sometimes use it in the alcohol burning lamps, that they use for heating the instruments, used to craft wax.

[Edited on 15-6-2010 by zed]
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[*] posted on 14-6-2010 at 22:53


Usually denatured alcohol is the fuel of choice, pure alcohol is usually expensive as it is drinkable hence taxed. Alcohol denatured with methanol and even some mineral oil, is reputedly undrinkable (and poisonous but do they care) so it is not taxed at the same level in most countries. Some people add a little boric acid to the alcohol as the flame then burns green and can be seen easily - saves you burning yourself!!

There are now some "Bunsen Burners" that run from an attached can of butane or LPG. -Basically a modded camp stove.

Acetone and several other solvents are likely to flash over if inadvertently ignited, I've seen that once and wouldn't want you to see it. All of a sudden the whole bench is a sheet of flame then the flame settles on any open flammable vapour source.
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[*] posted on 15-6-2010 at 00:11


Halides in lamp fuel are bad, both releasing HCl that will corrode nearby metals, and chlorine and phosgene which damage you. Inorganics in fuel will mess up the functioning.

The problems with straight acetone have already been mentioned.

Look at shellac thinner and other such solvents. Methanol, denatured ethanol, and isopropanol are all common; as trade solvents they need t be fairly cheap.

Rubbing alcohol is the next choice, but will contain water and need to be dried to some extend and likely distilled.

In the 19th century oil burners were often used, with designs that kept the flame near smokeless.

As Contrabasso said, there are also Bunsen burners designed for use with LP gas - bottled propane or butane.

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[*] posted on 15-6-2010 at 10:23


Actually, I've used a regular Bunsen burner with propane and it works fine.

Just unscrew the burnin' part from a torch fixture, shove a piece of latex tubing over the end, and hook it up to a Bunsen burner, and a propane cylinder.

Hand held propane torches are completely common in the USA. Cheap to buy, and cheap to fuel.
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