Rickdatech, all homebrewers have equipment that can measure 50-100gms with good accuracy. Measuring 1/2 a ml will involve using a syringe which may introduce a large error. I think its better to stick with 1ml in 500ml and halve the weight of the sample only if necessary.
John, what most biodiesel brewers want is a method of measuring water content with reasonable accuracy and consistency. They need to know the ppm to the nearest 50ppm. The carbide manometer, calibrated with a single reference solution as in Rickdatech's method will do that easily.
Your method uses two reference solutions and will be more accurate. I say two because your third plotted point is derived directly from the other two so strictly isnt a true reference. If you want to obtain maximum accuracy from the device, then 3 separate reference solutions, zero, 500ppm and 2000ppm, made up carefully with an accurate pipette is the way to go. If the three points plot in a straight line you have an accuracy of better than 10%.
Its a matter of horses for courses.
I think we need to make it clear that if you decide to reduce the sample size to 50gms then both readings must use 50gms and all subsequent tests must be carried out at 50gms. If not the headspace in the jar will vary and the readings will be wrong.
Made the change. I'm also moving the note about it taking up to 15 minutes in the section talking about crushing the carbide.
Simple U-Tube manometer: meter stick, 5mm tube, binder clips
Simple U-Tube manometer: 'canning jar' cap for carbide test, 500ppm & 1000 ppm calibration marks
Canning jar cap with screw ring fits a variety of jars for the carbide reaction chamber
Simple U-Tube manometer: 'zero' at 30cm, 500ppm calibration marks
binder clips allow easy 'zeroing'
Tube mortar for crushing carbide: 3/4 pipe 6", 2 end caps, 3" piece of 1/2" rod, 'tea' sieve, funnel
Finely pulverized carbide gives the best test results. Particles caught by the sieve are returned to the mortar for powdering. Powdered carbide that passes the sieve is stored in an airtight container for tests.
Thats a very neat arrangement, and makes the carbide manometer a bit more portable.
when you have done a manometer test can you reuse the bio or is it waste also can the sample size be 400to 500ml that's my container size?
I pour my used samples through a coffee paper filter into my heating oil. I would not suggest you put into a vehicle because of the possibility of carbide particles getting past your fuel filter.
400 - 500 ml is a very big sample, it will take a lot of carbide to ensure that all of the water is converted to acetylene. Also you will need a manometer 5 times longer than mine, about 20 feet tall! I use 100gms, some people use only 50gms.
I have made a 5 foot carbide manometer for a school project. It is made up of capillary tubes and some rubber tubing at the bottom. Have not tried it out yet, will post photos soon.
Many homebrewers now use the Carbide manometer as a regular check on the water content of their fuel but some have found the various methods of calibrating a bit confusing. So to simplify the calibration I am offering a reference sample to anyone who needs it. This is a 150ml sample of biodiesel which contains 1000ppm of water.
To use this just shake the sample well, weigh out 100gms and test with your carbide manometer. Mark the final result at 1000ppm and divide the reading to get 100s etc. The sample will be accurate to + or -25ppm.
If you live in Ireland please send 5 euro to cover post and packaging if you want one of these.
The Railway Station,
has anyone used their manometer to test for water content in their methanol. Or will I be the first?
I use a hydrometer for regular methanol but want to see if rock salt or lime will "dry" my impure methanol. It appears the fines left by either make the hydrometer test less accurate.
Also, will I go boom trying this?
Sooty;A book titled "A Text-Book of Practical Organic Chemistry" By Vogel describes, in detail how to dry wet alcohol. Calcium Oxide is one of the methods. I don't know how dry (anhydrous) it will get methanol. You might find a copy at a university library or buy one through the internet. The proceedure is in short, mix the Calcium Oxide and alcohol, heat it overnight, distill off the dried alcohol. Its not exactly this simple but you can read the directions from the book. In old science encyclopedias lime was a synonym for Calcium Oxide.
I havnt looked in at this site for quite a while but thought I would answer sootys question even though it was posted a long time. The carbide manometer is designed to measure water content in the region of 50 to 1000 ppm. Methanol may contain up to 2 % water which is 20,000 ppm. It would be difficult although not impossible to recalibrate a manometer to measure such a high water content but the eventual accuracy would probably not be any better than a hydrometer reading.
By conicidence I need to measure the water content of wet ethanol and wanted to use my Sandybrae hydride device. I called Sandybrae and asked about water in ethanol. Tech support answered saying yes, no problem, simply carefully dilute the sample with dry ethanol (or methanol) and suggested a simple way to prepare the dry ethanol. If you don't already have dry methanol( or want to verify that yours is dry) take some quantity of methanol add hydride or carbide (in a open container) and allow it to react until the bubbles cease, stir it gently & let it settle or filter to remove any fines of the hydride and store in closed container.
Use the dry methanol to dilute the wet sample until it is in range of your device. Good glass volumetric pipets and flask are inexpensive on ebay and well worth the cost.
Good tip Rick, thanks.
I have found that White Spirit sold in hardware shops for cleaning paint brushes contains no water and produces zero reading on the manometer. This can also be used to dilute a test sample.
In the US the closest thing to "white spirits" is paint thinner. It does not have water in it but "paint thinner" alone has such a high vapor pressure that the manometer would go full scale before any methanol or carbide was added.
Because of this I tested methanol by diluting it in mineral oil. First add the usual test amount of carbide (1 cap full) to the mineral oil diluent (I used 30 ml), then after checking there is no reaction on the manometer I added my test amount of methanol, (1 ml), sealed quickly and waited, and waited, and waited sometimes up to an hour. I use a magnetic stirrer for the process. It gave a reading that was close to that measured by Tralles hydrometer.
But I really wanted to know how much water was in my Na-methoxide solution after mixing with my known methanol.
I wanted to check for the amount of water in Na-methoxide both before and after using 3A microsieve. However, the manometer reading was way high, often 70X what one would have expected by calculation. ?? I can only assume that there is a reaction between the CaCarbide and the Na-methoxide or NaOH in addition to whatever water may have been produced from the dissolution of NaOH in Methanol. What the reaction is?? don't know. However, the microsieve treatment gave a lower reading than untreated and the microsieve seems to have survived sitting in a sample for a few months as well.
Anyone using a carbide manometer in Ireland or the UK will want to know about this supplier of Calcium Carbide. The stones are small and break up more easily than some others.
Here is another source of carbide I just stumbled across, its called bangsite ammo and is pre-crushed and comes in a squeeze tube. http://www.bigbangcannons.com/products.aspx?c=10
They say they will ship overseas also.
Simple schematic for a pump and heater control with a high limit
Sensor for the biodiesel/glycerin layer
Here is another source of carbide. I just ordered some for my first batch of bio. Can't speak for purity yet.
once carbide is degraded by moisture it turns to powder, if the carbide is in the rock state it should be good to go. Wow at 17.00 bucks a pound I need to find a way to get rid of the many 100lb cans that are stored in an old vw bus.
" I don't know what I don't know until I know"
1994 GMC 6.5 Tubo 2005 Dodge ram 3500, 3 VW's 2000, 2002, 2005.
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