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Forums > Technical Discussion > Fire Toys in Hypoxic Conditions

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Location: Nr Petersfield
Member Since: 26th Aug 2006
Total posts: 120
Posted:So, I am taking myself up to Everest Base Camp for a goodly while next week, and I am wondering about taking my staff and poi up with me.

However, at EBC there is only 14% oxygen, compared with 21% at sea level. It's also mighty cold, so my usual paraffin might not be too happy to burn (or at least light) there anyway. (Having said that, the pressure is about half so I guess it's more likely to vapourise...)

Question is, has anyone ever spun at altitude before, and can they tell me whether it'll work? Speculation also welcome smile

Invader Xan
Invader Xan

Your friendly neighbourhood mad scientist
Location: Over the hills and far away
Member Since: 7th May 2005
Total posts: 479
Posted:I can speculate... I reckon the only real difference would be smaller flames due to less oxygen. Perhaps harder to light, but good once it gets going? The pressure difference is probably going to be more of a factor than the oxygen, but I could be wrong.

Is it true that you can't make a good cup of tea at Everest Base Camp, because the water only boils at around 70 degrees?

Lower pressure would make kerosene vapourise more readily (even in spite of the temperature), but less oxygen could make it burn more slowly. On the flipside, less oxygen also means that it would extinguish more easily. The two effects could cancel each other out.

I wouldn't use too much volatile fuel, as it could be dangerous, but if it's cold enough to make kero turn gloopy, that would be pretty dangerous too (think napalm). Your best bet is probably to take some coleman and kero and blend it when you get there. smile

All just speculation, but I hope some of it's vaguely useful. biggrin
Dude, post when you get back and let us know how you got on!

"Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art."
--Konstantin Stanislavisky

Location: Nr Petersfield
Member Since: 26th Aug 2006
Total posts: 120
Posted:I was also wondering to do with the extinguishing if the thinner air would mean that there would be less 'wind' on the wick as it spun and hence less likely to go out...

I will do, and write a bestselling reference book for the masses who spin at altitudes of >5000m cool

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