MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted:There have been a few posts recently about wicking and how it burns, so I wanted to quickly go over how wicks burn and the different factors that go into it.


Volume and Surface Area

There are two main factors to consider when it comes to flame size and burn time on wicks - The volume and the surface area. Wicks with more surface area will burn more fuel per second than ones with less surface area and thus, produce bigger flames and shorter burn times. Wicks with more volume will burn longer than wicks with less volume because they can hold more fuel. Monkey fists are a good example of wicks with a high volume and low surface area, hence why they are known to burn for ~8 minutes. Cathedrals are on the opposite side with more surface area and less volume thus creating big flames and shorter burn times. Tube cores are usually not good on either of these factors as their volume is stunted by the non-absorbent core, and their surface area is low due to the rounded shape.

Fuels

Fuels with a low flashpoint will burn faster than those with a high flashpoint. White gas is at the low end of the spectrum. It burns bright and fast which can be both good and bad. Low flashpoint fuels are generally more dangerous to use since lighting your fuel bucket or yourself on fire are much easier to do. Kerosene, paraffin, and lamp oil are towards the high end of the spectrum. They burn a good deal slower than white gas but produce a more orangey and smokey flame. If you are new to fire arts, its a good idea to start with the safer, higher flashpoint fuels since accidents are much less likely to occur. For those more advanced and take good safety precautions, white gas is good for its bright and clean burn.

Materials

The main materials for wicking are cotton and kevlar. Cotton is a rather good material as it is more absorbent than kevlar and thus holds more fuel and also lets more fuel burn at a given time yielding larger flames. The downfall to cotton is that it isnt very durable. The average sized cotton poi wick will generally burn up after 3 - 5 uses which is nothing compared to kevlar which can last hundreds of uses. Kevlar is also quite expensive compared to cotton but considering the amount of uses you get from kevlar, it is worth it over time.


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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ZeroG
ZeroG

Friendly Fire Fiddler
Location: Munich
Member Since: 21st Dec 2005
Total posts: 103
Posted: Written by:

The downfall to cotton is that it isnt very durable.



Translation: Cotton has a tendency fly in burning bits in your face andor into the cheering crowd. Its the choice of cheapskate fools and ignorant nutters.

Kevlar is for the kind of people who prefer to invest 15-20 $ into a safe and predictable performance where you can worry about your show style, not about disintegrating gear setting your stage on fire.


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TheWibbler
old hand
Location: New Zealand
Member Since: 11th Apr 2003
Total posts: 920
Posted:I thought most wicking was a kevlar/cotton mix? Is that right?

Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

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MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted: Written by:

Its the choice of cheapskate fools and ignorant nutters.


I disagree. Yes, cotton wicks will drop some glowing flakes, but they're almost always burnt up by the time they hit the ground. Hardly dangerous... They can be quite handy in certain cases, especially in a pinch when you have no spare kevlar but need something. Im just giving options and trying to give pros and cons to each.

Matt,

Kevlar is made partly of cotton... So yes, technically, kevlar wicks are part cotton.


Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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ZeroG
ZeroG

Friendly Fire Fiddler
Location: Munich
Member Since: 21st Dec 2005
Total posts: 103
Posted: Written by:

cotton can be quite handy when you have no spare kevlar but need something



That's defining cheapskate fool or ignorant nutter.



Hey, I dont want a expert debate. I want to make sure those people who surf here and who have seen poi played but never held a set in their hands and who are wondering what exactly that is and how to built one understand:



Get a proper poi set. Its not expensive and its made of solid chains, Kevlar/Aramid a very durable and flame resistent fibre wick which you soak in lamp oil / petroleum / paraffin (never petrol/gas), then shake off in a can to prevent the leftover being whireld into the environment, and then light up to play. The Kevlar itself does not burn -opposite to cotton- its the lamp oil that burns while Kevlar as wick resists the flames.



Saving 20$ on unsafe poi gear is a very shortsighted way to economise which will backfire for sure.



Please guys, think what someone who has no clue should know about poi, aka a "always-drive-motorbike-with-helmet" story ... you've seen some of those Thai guys play who dont know any better ? Even those could afford a helmet aka Kevlar wick (from their moneymaking boss/agent), if they knew about the proper setup ...



Vorsprung durch Technik. End of rant.


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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:I've used cotton wicks before, they're not that bad, but I did find that the whole flying embers thing a little sloppy. There is a potential fire hazard with these things and they require a little extra awareness of your spinning environment.

I have a set of fiberglass wicks I bought from Flaming Aterna. I was hoping they would hold fuel as well as those cheap Thai wicks ( which I've been led to believe are some type of fiberglass too ) but unfortunately they don't. I've got maybe 50 burns on them and they're holding up fine and the only downside I can see is little fibers coming off the wicks when I use them dry in a practice session. These are the last set of this type of wicks I'll buy, not that I have anything against them, It's just that I prefer kevlar

As to fuel, I burn white gas only. I don't use a spin off bucket, I just reach into my fuel bucket and simply wring the wicks out, there's nothing left to spin off into the environment. You'll need a glove to do this with kerosene though.

So kevlar is mixed with cotton then? I wonder if that explains how wicks "die" over time. Maybe the cotton component simply burns up making the wicks less capable of absorbing fuel


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PyroWill
PyroWill

HoP's Barman. Trapped aged 6 months
Location: Staines
Member Since: 4th Aug 2004
Total posts: 4437
Posted:Hey Icon, nice idea to start the thread smile, very informative

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind

Give a man a fish and he'll eat 4 a day hit a man with a brick and you can have all his fish and his wife

"Will's to pretty for prison" - Simian

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Kombi guy
Kombi guy

HOP OM
Location: HOP Central, New Zealand
Member Since: 21st Nov 2003
Total posts: 224
Posted:No not all Kevlar wick types have cotton in them, not at all......There are many many different types of Kevlar mix belt rope style wicks and associated products that the manufacturing companies make. There are Kevlar /aramid fibre mixs along with, silica, vextra, vectron, cotton, and many other mixs. Its really just a case of people choosing to use the Kevlar variety due to the benefits of it

For eg the Kevlar wicks that we sell here at HOP central or on the website are totally cotton free.. While there are many Kevlar/cotton mix styles available we choose not to sell them. The wicks we sell here are a Kevlar/fibreglass mix only, no cotton is used in the Kevlar that HOP wicks are made from as assured by the manufacuctures that we deal with smile

This article also has some helpful info.



http://www.homeofpoi.com/articles/KEVLAR.php
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Hope that helps

Happy twirling

juggle weavesmiley juggle weavesmiley juggle

EDITED_BY: Kombi guy (1149729892)


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MikeIcon
MikeIcon

Pooh-Bah
Location: Philadelphia, PA - USA
Member Since: 27th Mar 2003
Total posts: 2109
Posted:Thanks Kombi. I forgot about that.

Let's turn those old bridges we crossed into ashes.
We'll blaze a new trail,
and torch the rough patches.

-Me

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JTSpinner
JTSpinner

Learnin About Burnin
Location: Michigan
Member Since: 31st Aug 2006
Total posts: 385
Posted:Thanks to everyone for the great info on wicks and the materials they are made from. I will be sure to always order my wicks from HOP. Always willing to pay extra for a quality product and the guarantee that its made from what they claim.

Keep up the great job everybody clap clap bounce bounce2 us newbies need all of the good advice we can get beerchug


I may be crazy but I ain't stupid

Life is to short to waste it on stupidity

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TONDOG1999
newbie

Member Since: 20th Jun 2006
Total posts: 3
Posted:The poi that i have made are braided out of fiber glass rope. I take 3 braids and brade them again. This gives me usually 6" heads that burn a long time. they are super absorbant. The other advantage to theis stuff (not a good idea for the novice) is you can make really nice fire snakes that look amazing.

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kash
kash

Dangerous cynic

Member Since: 22nd May 2006
Total posts: 166
Posted:Excellent ICoN! I thought I must be strange because people were going on about cathedrals having more wick and therefore a longer burn time, my rolled wicks actually burn longer than my cathedrals (albeit not as massively) and without thinking too hard about why, I figured I was imagining it/missing something!

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