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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello: I bought alcohol at a local pharmacy. The pharmacist ordered it and it is Isopropyl Alcohol Anhydrous USP not less than 99%. I hope this will be OK to use it was 23.00 a gallon. I will also need to have some kind of a suction fan to keep the draft up while building steam. I have tons of computer fans but don't really know which size to use, I have 40mm 50mm 60mm 80mm 120mm ect...any ideas or suggestions? Maybe just buy an Aster one? The engine is an Aster Shay. I have never done this before or never even been around anyone doing it so any help would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to fire it up as of yet because I don't have any place to run it would it hurt it to just sit there with steam and not move. Hopefully I will have my track in about ten days and my son and I are really looking forward to run it around the track! We have the DIY network's Workin' on the railroad garden railroad series memorized....

Johnny
 

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Welcome to the alcohol portion of live steam. As per the fan, get the Aster fan. Regards choice of alcohol ( I assume you will read the other related post) the selections available much cheaper than the $23.00 per gallon you paid for.
 

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I've never heard of anyone using Isopropyl alcohol in a steamer. The best bet here in the US is known as Denatured Alcohol and is sold at hardware and home improvement stores for under $10 a gallon.

http://www.wmbarr.com/product.aspx?catid=21&prodid=101

This is ethyl alcohol which has ingredients (usually methyl alcohol) added to make it undrinkable and therefore not taxed as booze. Our fellow steamers across the Atlantic refer to it as Methylated Spirits.

Anyone know if Isopropyl is safe in a steamer? Given that he already bought a gallon. . .

BTW, if you do buy Denatured Alcohol, go with the quart container. It attracts moisture once opened; smaller containers are used faster and don't have the contamination problem. (Of course, you could just run A LOT and avoid the problem too.)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif
 

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Rubbing alcohol

A quick comparison:

Rubbing alcohol Combustion BTU 12,960
Meths Combustion BTU 10,260
Ethyl Combustion BTU 13,160
 

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"Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, U.S.P. / B.P. contains 68-99% of isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) by volume, the remainder consisting of water, with or without colour additives, suitable stabilizers, and perfume oils. Isopropyl alcohol is oxidized by the liver into acetone. Symptoms of isopropyl alcohol poisoning include flushing, headache, dizziness, CNS depression, nausea, vomiting, anesthesia, and coma."
The above was found as part of the definition in Wikipedia. Seems like alot, up to 32 percent, of water content - before even opening the bottle.
 

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Johnny: Suction fans don't need to be that powerful. Just enough to barely pull the fire through the boiler. If you want to fabricate one from a computer fan, the 40mm would probably be enough. Another option someone mentioned before is a one gallon, pump up, garden spray bottle. Attach a thin "J" shaped tube to the end of the hose and drop it down the engine shoke stack.

You also need a little fire extinguisher to put out the fire after a run (if it is still going). Go to a bicycle shop and get a CO2 tire inflator. Get the small size because they use regular CO2 cylinders for BB guns. To put out the fire, shut off the alcohol source, put the nozzle in the smoke stack and give it a shot. Check to make sure it went out. One cylinder gives 3 or 4 "toots".

I am interested in hearing how the iso-alcy works out, let us know. A guy at our local club gets pure meth from the NHRA drag strip. It is real rocket juice. Just the fumes are worse than cutting an onion.
Have fun. Bob
 

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Isopropyl alcohol /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif ..............has anyone here ever used it in their loco's ????? Inquiring minds want to know. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are the chemical formulas and some info anyway...I have tried to find out if it would hurt solder joints and by what I have read it doesn't seem so, actually it is used as a before and after cleaner of solder joints. Hey guys/gals I really don't know what to use I am as green as it gets!

isopropyl alcohol

dimethylcarbinol (CH3)2 CHOH

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide may form when heated to decomposition.

Health Rating: 2 - Moderate
Flammability Rating: 3 - Severe (Flammable)
Reactivity Rating: 2 - Moderate
Contact Rating: 3 - Severe
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES; CLASS B EXTINGUISHER
Storage Color Code: Red (Flammable)




methyl alcohol ( racing fuel )

!! Toxic by inhalation absorption or ingestion. Cannot be made nontoxic. Methanol is a cumulative poison and death has been reported for ingestion of less than 30 milliliters !! Watch the Kiddies

I always wondered why the pharmacist told me to never let my kids drink diet pop....

http://www.wnho.net/aspartame_research.htm

CH3OH

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
May form carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formic acid and formaldehyde when heated to decomposition.

Health Rating: 3 - Severe (Poison)
Flammability Rating: 3 - Severe (Flammable)
Reactivity Rating: 1 - Slight
Contact Rating: 3 - Severe (Life)
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES; CLASS B EXTINGUISHER
Storage Color Code: Red (Flammable)


ethyl alcohol

C2H5OH

Hazardous Decomposition Products:
Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide may form when heated to decomposition.

Health Rating: 2 - Moderate (Life)
Flammability Rating: 3 - Severe (Flammable)
Reactivity Rating: 1 - Slight
Contact Rating: 2 - Moderate
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES & SHIELD; LAB COAT & APRON; VENT HOOD; PROPER GLOVES; CLASS B EXTINGUISHER
Storage Color Code: Red (Flammable)
 

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You may also be thinking of "rubbing alcohol"... that is usually 30% water and skin conditioners. Water is not good for getting a hot fire and the skin conditioners may be detrimental to the wicks. Those that have used rubbing alcohol usually report difficulties in raising and maintaining steam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think most rubbing alcohol off the shelf is 70% some 91% I tried to avoid that, I also tried to avoid the additives.
 

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OK guys, this is my take on the subject.
Firstly Iso Propyl alcohol may or may not work in a live steamer. Generally locos with large open fireboxes can tolerate it but this fuel requires more oxygen to burn thoroughly. I do not recommend Iso Propyl in an Aster because fireboxes are quite restricted and build up of soot and poor performance result.

Asters are designed to be fired on Ethyl Alcohol or an Ethyl / Methyl mix. Because of the health issues around Methyl Alcohol (permanent damage to optic nerve if ingested) I always suggest Ethyl Alcohol and at least 95% pure.

I would never suggest using rubbing alcohol because of its high water and impurity contents.

If Johnny lives in the UK then he is welcome to contact me off-board for detailed recommendations on fuel and firing up his Shay for the first time.

AsterUK
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If isopropyl will smoke what should I use ethyl, ethyl mix? Does anyone have any recomendations?
Moonshine....:)/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif
 

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Please re-read the prior post by Mr. AsterUK along with the post on alcohol in this forum.
 

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You can use Denatured alcohol, found at Home Depot or other hardware stores. SLX is the brand preferred by many of us, but not all. (See other thread on this subject).
Where are you located? Perhaps someone in your area can help get you started on the right track.
 
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