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post #16 of Old 12-11-2008
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I stand corrected!


"Don't know where you learned chemistry, but alcohol vapors are generally denser than air. ""

I leaned chemistry at the same school where you learned diplomacy Saildog...I DID'NT. I stand corrected and have edited my post to reflect my mistake. I guess what I meant to say was that alcohol vapors dissipate faster than Propane, which I assume is why venting is not required. I'm sure you will correct me if I'm wrong. For example, If I prime the wick on my stove, and don't light it within about a minute, the fuel will have dissipated, won't light, and I will need to prime it again.

"Also, water in insufficient quantity can spread alcohol fires instead of putting them out... which is one reason alcohol stoves caused some many boat fires... the person would pour water on the fire and the burning alcohol would get washed down into areas of the boat where it wasn't readily visible. By the time they realized their mistake, it was usually way too late. Water is NOT A RECOMMENDED EXTINGUISHING MEDIA FOR ALCOHOL FIRES."

Actually, if you look at the MSDS, it does list water spray for fighting large alcohol fires, as well as for cooling containers in the area of the fire. I wonder if the key word is spray, as to minimize the medium to allow the alcohol to spread.

"Might want to learn a bit more about alcohol and alcohol fires before opening your mouth. Read the MSDS for denatured alcohol.

Let me quote the relevant section for you:

Finally, alcohol vapors are harder to detect than propane, which is spiked with mercaptan to make it very noticeable due to the odor of the mercaptan."

I don't know that alcohol needs to be "spiked" with anything. If I've got a can of alcohol open, it's fairly obvious to my nose.

If you look at Boat US's current position on alcohol stoves, they note that alcohol stove accidents have gone down substantially. They are not sure why this is, but think it may be attributed to better stoves. I was surprised to see that they attribute only 1% of all boat fires to stoves. The stove on my boat is surrounded by metal, including a pan that would catch a substantial amount of water/fuel if I did use water to douse a fire.

The last thing I would want to do is spread false information on this important subject. So, I've corrected my misstatement, learned some things, and maybe you have too Saildog. After all, isn't that the purpose of these forums?
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