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Forums > Technical Discussion > Any interest in a Non-toxic Fire Breathing Fuel?

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Mike Machina
BRONZE Member since Aug 2010

stranger
Location: USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:Hi,

I'm a research chemist who learned firebreathing a few summers back and loved it. However, the one thing that turned me off to it was the idea that even using good form, it is possible to aspirate droplets of liquid paraffin (lamp oil), and because it does not break down in the body, it can build up over time and pretty much ruin your lungs. I really haven't touched it in a while because I'm paranoid and a bit of a hypochondriac.

Recently, I've been designing a fuel that is totally bio-compatible and able to be broken down by the body. Obviously, there is still a slight risk of chemical pneumonia (you can get CP from milk if you accidentally inhale it), but it would at least have a much shorter breakdown time in the body than liquid paraffin or kero. Toxicity is super low - LD50 is above 5g/kg, essentially as toxic as table salt.

The physical properties are the same or even better than paraffin, as I can tweak the viscosity and flashpoint for ideal firebreathing. And it tastes better than kero. I'm also think about creating multiple grades of flashpoint - low for vapor tricks and eating, medium for breathing, high for spinning/fire dancing.

It's not biodiesel, though it is similar. Renewable, green, environmentally friendly, biodegradable.

It's not FireWater/Pegasol/3440/alkanes/iso-parrafins/lamp oil/lighter fluid, either (All of those are high purity C12-C16 saturated aliphatic paraffins).

I don't have an MSDS at the moment because a) it's still in R&D and b) I'm trying to maintain intellectual property. But I can assure you it is no more dangerous than high-purity food-grade biodiesel. I plan on using it myself, after all, and I'm paranoid about my health smile

I might even be able to do colors.

My question to fellow firebreathers is, would you be willing to buy a product like this over lamp oil or kero? I need to know if this stuff would be marketable (I'd probably start small selling at booths at Faires, etc).

Second, if you would be willing to buy something like this, how much would you be willing to pay for it? Around here I can get a liter of lamp oil for $5. I haven't priced out the bulk costs, but I'd shoot for $5-10 per liter for this stuff.

Thank you so much for your input!! grin

EDITED_BY: Mike Machina (1280716366)


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natasqi


natasqi

addict
Location: Perth

Total posts: 489
Posted:Hi,
As a future doctor, I'd love to keep the health risks of fire spinning as low as possible, so having something non-toxic (as possible) would be excellent. Of course, shipping to Oz would inflate it (depending on where you are) but I think I'd consider it.. (I don't fire breath btw, this is just for spinning and eating.)


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:consider franchising wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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LoneHowler
BRONZE Member since Jul 2010

LoneHowler

stranger
Location: Canada

Total posts: 6
Posted:The problem would be in the shipping as many countries do not allow flammables to go airmail. I know Canada does not

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Motley
GOLD Member since Oct 2005

Motley

addict
Location: UK

Total posts: 434
Posted:Be very careful what you call "non-toxic". If the LD50 is >5g/kg you could say it has low acute toxicity but to say non-toxic is misleading as you have no idea of the long term effects of ingesting or inhaling it. It may well be better than traditional fuels, I dont know, but you should not claim things you cannot back up with good science. Comparing it to salt on the basis of its acute toxicity is misleading as they are totally different chemicals. In my opinion inhaling or ingesting any flammable liquid over a long period of time is likely to have some detrimental (toxic) effect, whether that manifests clinically or not.

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Mike Machina
BRONZE Member since Aug 2010

stranger
Location: USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:I realize that; this stuff is very benign and has decades of exposure analysis on it. But obviously it can still cause irritation if used in a non-approved manner, and may have some long term effect if used in this manner (which is why I'm most likely not going to market it specifically as a firebreathing fuel - I'm thinking I probably have to sell it as a fire art fuel and let people do what they want with it). I can't foresee that. But I can't imagine it being any worse than paraffin or kero that breathers are already exposed to chronically.

Flammability (or combustibility, as they are different) alone is not a good indicator of safety - most things people consume are combustible.

Flammable - Flash point below 70C
Combustible - Will burn, but the flash point is above 70C

(exact number varies by location)

This stuff is combustible, and therefore not restricted.


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Flint_413
GOLD Member since Jul 2009

Flint_413

Fire Artist and Hooper
Location: U.S.A

Total posts: 181
Posted:I like this idea very much!! grin I'm am not a breather of fire but I do eat fire and would be willing to pay in order to have a healthier way to do it. Please keep all of us (ESPECIALLY me) informed of possible buying opportunities.

I would like to know how it burns though. Is it orange and smokey or is it bright clean flame? Does it burn fast and hot or slow and cool? etc.


If you can't stand the heat, get out of my way.

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Motley
GOLD Member since Oct 2005

Motley

addict
Location: UK

Total posts: 434
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mike Machina

Flammability (or combustibility, as they are different) alone is not a good indicator of safety - most things people consume are combustible.

Flammable - Flash point below 70C
Combustible - Will burn, but the flash point is above 70C

(exact number varies by location)

This stuff is combustible, and therefore not restricted.

I didn't say that flammability was an indicator of toxicity. However most fuels used in fire arts are made up of mixtures of hydrocarbons and their derivatives and therefore are quite similar in terms of how they are handled by the body and what the inherent hazards are. ingestion and inhalation particularly are pretty good ways of getting chemicals into the body too. Put these two things together and you have a pretty risky scenario, whatever fuel you are using. I'd be happy to see myself proved wrong though, provided no ones health is put at risk in the process.


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:but fire breathing fluid as in "highly purified paraffin" already exists... what would be your innovation here?

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mike Machina
BRONZE Member since Aug 2010

stranger
Location: USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:Because highly purified paraffin is still alkanes, which don't break down easily in the body. This stuff is broken down by the body into fatty acids and alcohols, things which we are constantly exposed to. There are no saturated hydrocarbons (aka alkanes aka paraffins, gotta love common names) in this material.

Nature can break down alkanes, but at pretty slow rates, and it's mostly done by anaerobic bacteria.


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Icarus Forde
BRONZE Member since Apr 2010

Icarus Forde

Just Icarus//Spinner//Pyro//Geek
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 261
Posted:Hmmm, interesting.

I'm interested, I tend not to do fire breathing at the moment due to some of the health risks, but I admit, my curiosity is piqued at this.

As with Flint... I'd like to know the flame characteristics (burn time, raw flame color, heat of flame, size of flame, etc - anything else you can think of). Sounds like it could be good, and if this can pull off colors without the normal wick degradation for fire staff, etc, then it would be pretty darn cool.


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Mike - I see, sounds very interesting smile you definitely got all my attention. Would there be any advantage in using it for spinning?

As to the distribution topic I would seriously consider franchising... shipping dangerous goods is a painer.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Warior Drake
SILVER Member since Apr 2010

Warior Drake

The Dragon Professor
Location: New York, currently homeless, ...

Total posts: 203
Posted:I'm able to, but rarely do cause of the health risks and whatnot. However what always got me about the dangers of firebreathing was not the long term buildup but the ARDS. To be honest I don't know much about the way this stuff works, but I would assume that fuel, no matter what you use, would still pose the risk of being inhaled and then messing with you big time. Another thing to worry about is its flash point as well as other risks it poses to the body.

Granted as someone who loves firebreathing I would love to see a safe fuel out there, but I've pretty much convinced myself that such a thing won't exist. So yeah, if you can make it safer I'm behind you all the way, just very cautious at the same time.


Don't let your world end with you

p.s. No, just in case you're going to ask, I did not misspell Warrior, its supposed to be like that.

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SpinnerofDetroit
GOLD Member since Oct 2009

SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA

Total posts: 2280
Posted:This would be a great hit in the Fire Guild here. Most to all of the bigger performers do it and some do it to the point where they feel crappy and they have to restrict themselves to a certain amount of firebreathing per year or moth or whatever. I don't do it hardly for these very reasons. I do do it now and them for fun or always if I'm payed.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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GaBi#GST


GaBi#GST

stranger
Location: Romania

Total posts: 4
Posted:cool ideea with that fuel!if I could buy something less toxic than paraffin I will shorely buy it, no matter the price!after all is my health I'm playnig with... but how about highly purified alcohool...like everclear or something like that?I saw that it is used in fire breathing too..I'm curious if this stuff is more dangerous than paraffin or not(interested in cancer or chemical pneumonia)!?

I am the man from nowere....SERIOUSLY!!I really am!

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GaBi#GST


GaBi#GST

stranger
Location: Romania

Total posts: 4
Posted:Hey!!...after posting my comment I searched more about fuels and I've found something interesting...in my country old people used in the back days some kind of fuel made from petrol double rafined to deal with larynx problems and much more...it is said that is good for cancer is like a natural cytostatic, good for stomach problems, etc...it is a product of natural pharmacy!! the same fuel it was used in the past at the home lamps instead of electricity...so I guess that is the best fuel for fire breathing..the only problem is that is not used anymore and it is very hard to find....I will make a research on this and if I find this fuel I will let you know!!

I am the man from nowere....SERIOUSLY!!I really am!

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SpinnerofDetroit
GOLD Member since Oct 2009

SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA

Total posts: 2280
Posted:Do not use Everclear! Not only is it prone to trailing back to your face, but the fumes from a couple breaths of fire will make you drunk, and if you're drunk you are going to censored up.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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Warior Drake
SILVER Member since Apr 2010

Warior Drake

The Dragon Professor
Location: New York, currently homeless, ...

Total posts: 203
Posted:As SoD clearly stated, don't use Everclear. Alcohol has a low flashpoint which enables the use of the human candle technique against your will.

Don't let your world end with you

p.s. No, just in case you're going to ask, I did not misspell Warrior, its supposed to be like that.

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entheogen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

entheogen

member
Location: Berlin, Germany

Total posts: 173
Posted:Interesting. I've always played around with the idea of building some kind of squeeze bottle with a spray nozzle that fits in the cavity of your mouth for safe fire breathing. You'd still have to worry about apirating the fuel, but ingesting it would never be a problem. Of course I couldnt be bothered to actually manufacture it, but I firlmy agree some kind of safer fire breathing methods should be invented since people will be stupid enough to do it anyway.

I know bringing up animal testing will probably piss off a lot of people here, but will there be any kind of actual research done on the health risks of long term exposure to the product before actually putting it on the market as a safer fuel? Is it not possible that the smoke made from the digestible fuel could potentially be more toxic than normal fuels?


'There are two mantras in life, yum and yuk. I choose yum.'

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Mike Machina
BRONZE Member since Aug 2010

stranger
Location: USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:@Warrior Drake, entheogen - Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way around the risk of ARDS, as I mentioned, you can get it from getting ANYTHING in your lungs, even benign stuff like milk or oil. This is the body's natural response to any foreign material in the lungs.

I've decided that I would derive the fuel from things with already well-established safety profiles. After doing a bit of market research, I've decided that obtaining, repackaging, and distributing this stuff (let alone legal concerns) would be quite the chore by itself, and is of bigger concern to me than someone else figuring out what's in it.

Here is a compound I am considering as the main ingredient:
http://www.pgchemicals.com/resources/msds/CE-1095.pdf
br>I haven't tried it out myself yet because I'm still waiting on my sample to arrive, but I plan on demonstrating with it once I get some (and some free time).

I don't think there is or ever will be testing on its safety with respect to firebreathing, and as such I anticipate I won't be able to market it as a 'firebreathing fuel' per se (I'd have to do something weasely like give it a name suggesting of firebreathing, but market it as a poi fuel with a word of mouth advertising amongst firebreathers to use it as a breathing fuel). However, it breaks down into methanol and caprylic acid (a fatty acid, i.e. take three of these and glycerine and you get a fat molecule), both which we are naturally exposed to all the time (and the methanol is not released fast enough to be of an issue - you'd get more methanol in your blood from drinking a glass of wine).

I doubt that it or its smoke could be any more toxic than isoparaffin.

This is a compound that might be used in a lower flashpoint material:
http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9923989
br>It has a flashpoint of ~120F, vs 55F for Everclear. Still flammable though (below 140) and therefore a bit of a DOT transport issue.

@Icarus Forde - Could you elaborate on what you mean by wick degradation due to colored flame fuels? I assume you're using kevlar or fiberglass wicks.


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Warior Drake
SILVER Member since Apr 2010

Warior Drake

The Dragon Professor
Location: New York, currently homeless, ...

Total posts: 203
Posted:Yeah, I figured as much about ARDS, I just wanted to throw that out there in case any of our lurkers (do we even have those anymore?) were thinking by "Firebreathing fuel" you meant it would be safe all around. Regardless of the fuel the practice is always going to be dangerous and anyone who does it, or even thinks about doing it, needs to keep that on their mind at all times. I am, however, for making it relatively safer. I like living.

Don't let your world end with you

p.s. No, just in case you're going to ask, I did not misspell Warrior, its supposed to be like that.

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Icarus Forde
BRONZE Member since Apr 2010

Icarus Forde

Just Icarus//Spinner//Pyro//Geek
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 261
Posted:Yeah, certainly. smile

A lot of it's explained here: http://www.homeofpoi.com/lessons_all/teach/Coloured-Flames-FAQ-1_2_172
br>
The gist of it is that colored flames require a hotter flame and can leave deposits on the wick, thus degrading them, shortening their burn time, creating really terrible smoke, etc.

Other than that, datasheet looks good - sounds like it could be viable! grin


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Mike Machina
BRONZE Member since Aug 2010

stranger
Location: USA

Total posts: 5
Posted:Ah, I see. They are using methylated spirits - a 10/90 to 50/50 mix of methanol and ethanol, with some bitters (denatonium). Alcohols burn hotter than paraffins because of their short chain length and oxygen group, but are necessary to carry the highly polar salts in solution.

This stuff doesn't burn nearly as hot, and I would be getting the salts into solution via essentially a soap - fatty acid/metal cation complex.

You'd still have an issue with salt residue - although this would probably wash off. I dunno, I've yet to make this stuff in any large quantity, let alone test it.

Is there an interest in colored flames that don't eat wicks as fast? I could probably design a fuel for that purpose, too, it would likely be cheaper than the stuff for firebreathing, and cheaper to ship, since it isn't a hazmat like alcohols.


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Icarus Forde
BRONZE Member since Apr 2010

Icarus Forde

Just Icarus//Spinner//Pyro//Geek
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 261
Posted:I certainly think that there would be. Orange flames are cool... But there's something about a blue or green flame in the middle of all the orange flames that's epicly cool.

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