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Hmm... If you heat glycerin up really hot it catches on FIRE!
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I was boiling some glycerin today outside on my propane camp stove to try to boil off the remaining methanol in it so that I can make soap when I head a big WOSH and the whole pot was on FIRE!

I used a chemical fire extinguisher to put it out but I must admit that scared the S*it out of me! 10 seconds earlier I had my face over the pot mixing it.

So that happened? Did I just reach the flash point of the methanol? What temp is that? As soon as I got the fire out I pu tmy thermomiter in there and it was about 180F.

C


My 4x4 Website: http://www.4wheeling.ca
 
Location: Vancouver Cananandanada | Registered: June 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Glad your ok! Methanol starts to boil off at 147 degrees I think it is..you probably had a vapor explosion from the methanol. The extinguisher also probably cooled the temp down a bit
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Let's make a few things clear:
Flash point is the minimum temperature at which a flammable liquid can ignite in air, when an ignition source is present.
Autoingition point is the minimum temperature at which a substance will spontaneously combust in air, without the need of an ignition source.

Methanol's flash point is 11°C (about 50°F, give or take). I don't know what temperature you're having in Vancouver (I know is normally pretty cold around there), but chances are you were over methanol's flash point before you started heating up your gly. Methanol's autoignition point is, OTOH, close to 400°C (700+°F), so, no, you didn't reach it (I hope Eek).
I agree with Hooknline. Probably a whiff of wind got your methanol vapors in contact with the flame.

That said, it's not a good idea to demeth glycerin on an open flame. It could just as easily have blown up in your face. Please, find a safer way to deal with the methanol.


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"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

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Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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so would an electric heating element have prevented this?
 
Registered: February 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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electric heating element would have helped, but anytime you have methanol vapors exposed to open air, you run a risk of igniting them from any spark at all. Best to do it in a covered but vented container capable of handling the high temps
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Stirring it pretty much constantly can help also. Whatever you do, don't get it too hot. If it had water in it and you went above 212, it may have been a steam explosion and blew it out, over the side of the pot and into the flame. Be careful!


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Location: Mississippi | Registered: April 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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, but anytime you have methanol vapors exposed to open air, you run a risk of igniting them from any spark at all.


Exactly! I would say, the best way to deal with methanol vapors is not to deal with methanol vapors. Making a condenser costs literally just a few bucks, and, if done properly, will virtually eliminate any risk of fire.Not to mention the added benefit of having the extra methanol available for the next batch.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by bernyjb:
quote:
, but anytime you have methanol vapors exposed to open air, you run a risk of igniting them from any spark at all.


Exactly! I would say, the best way to deal with methanol vapors is not to deal with methanol vapors. Making a condenser costs literally just a few bucks, and, if done properly, will virtually eliminate any risk of fire.Not to mention the added benefit of having the extra methanol available for the next batch.


I would love to build a condenser but I am no back woods moonshiner so I have NO CLUE whatsoever on how to make one or how to even implement one in to my existing setup. I have no idea at what point you use such a set up. After the reaction? Only to the glycern after it has been seperated?

Really I know nothing about this.

C


My 4x4 Website: http://www.4wheeling.ca
 
Location: Vancouver Cananandanada | Registered: June 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would love to build a condenser but I am no back woods moonshiner so I have NO CLUE whatsoever on how to make one or how to even implement one in to my existing setup. I have no idea at what point you use such a set up. After the reaction? Only to the glycern after it has been seperated?


Then buckle up, 'cause you're going on a learning trip!

Graham Laming has a simple, very popular condenser here:

http://www.graham-laming.com/bd/still/still.htm

Basically, a condenser is a tube within a tube. Through the inside tube you run your methanol vapors, and through the external tube (the "jacket") you run cool water.

You use it in the process you described at the beginning of the thread (minus the open flame, please... Wink) . The only difference is that, instead of heating the gly in an open pot, you do it in a closed one, and you route the vapors (through a hole in the cap, of course)through the condenser, and recover liquid methanol after it.
Do a search on "methanol condenser", and you'll find plenty of different setups.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Grahams condenser is simple, and there is a picture of toy's simple condenser set up on Rick's site here
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It is very easy to make, just need to be able to solder a good seal on the tee fittings. Ours works very well using a old hot tub pump (overkill, but it sure keeps it cool)


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Location: Rapid City, SD | Registered: March 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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