Forums > Social Discussion > Any FUEL EXPERTS out there? Need some advanced help.

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Chronos
Chronos

How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Location: Spain (for now)
Member Since: 13th May 2012
Total posts: 20
Posted:(((First off, I did a big search, not only on this website, but on others as well, for the answer to this question before deciding to ask myself (since I know how annoying it is to answer the same questions over and over). Having said that, if this question HAS been answered then I apologise tongue2 )))


I am a student Fire Knife dancer in Spain, being taught by a Cook Island Maori.


The Fire Knife dancers I have met tell me that they use a mixture lighter fluid and PETROL as their fuel, or even just PETROL on its own. Every single website I go on tells me that this is the most dangerous fuel and should never ever (Ever!!!) be used.
The problem is that Fire Knife dancing requires a lot of touching the flames, transferring flames to your hand, igniting one wick with another with your tongue, burning your face off, cutting your arms off with the knife, and making big lines of flames in the floor.

Fire Knife Video

You can see in this vid the things we do, like the flames on the floor, transferring flames from one wick to the other to light and other stuff.

I will GLADLY use a different fuel if someone can tell me one that reacts in a similar way to petrol, but isn't as explosive. People have suggested Paraffin, and I have tried it a lot but it only seems to burn in a material and not on its own (which obviously makes it safe but not very good for my show). I basically need a fuel that will ignite very quickly and doesn't smoke too much (at all if possible). Also one that has less smell would be nice too.

I look forward to hearing from you guys!

EDITED_BY: Chronos (1338076359)


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willworkforfoodjnr
willworkforfoodjnr

Hunting robot foxes
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Member Since: 8th Aug 2007
Total posts: 1046
Posted:Hmm, it is possible to do flame transfers etc with paraffin but I'm not hugely experienced with it, it will be much safer for touching the flames (body burning style) as it burns at a lower temp.

That said maybe lamp oil is worth looking at? I only know it gives off less smoke so might be worth trying.


Working hard to be a wandering hippie layabout. Ten years down, five to go!

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Chronos
Chronos

How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Location: Spain (for now)
Member Since: 13th May 2012
Total posts: 20
Posted:This maybe a stupid question, but I keep hearing Paraffin being used for different things... I went into a shop the other day and asked for lamp oil, and the shop keeper gave me a litre of overpriced paraffin. Is there a difference between lamp oil and paraffin?

I tried transferring burning paraffin from the wick to my hand but it seems impossible, it goes out as soon as its away from the material. Paraffin doesn't like to burn on the floor frown


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Seye
Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK
Member Since: 27th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1261
Posted:When they say 'petrol' they cannot be referring to the stuff that you put in cars. When it burns in air it is smokey and potentially explosive.

Petrol is a generic term often used to describe low flashpoint hydrocarbon mixtures. You often hear people refer to Coleman 'white gas' (/'Coleman Fuel') and BBQ lighter fluid ('naptha') as petrol. My guess is that when performers talk about 'petrol' they mean 'naptha' and therefore 'Coleman Fuel'.
You even get it applied to high flashpoint mixtures sometimes (Vaseline is almost universally referred to as petroleum jelly).

Paraffin is also a mixture of hydrocarbons (usually mostly alkanes). No two batches are ever exactly the same but they are mixed to have extremely similar properties.
In some countries (USA mainly) Paraffin is called Kerosene. Be very careful with this label though as most countries in Europe use this to label a specific mixture that us used as jet fuel.

(Think of naptha as being similar to petrol and paraffin as similar to diesel although this is not a great analogy)

Lamp oil is often a specially filtered paraffin with additives to make it less smokey (this is usually not great for spinning as some smoke is needed to see the flames on fast moving wicks).

For what you are describing I think you want to custom mix some naptha (Coleman maybe) and paraffin. The paraffin on its own is too viscous and unwilling to light for body flames but the Coleman fuel burns too hot and too quick on wicks (I've been told you can do contact and body flames with tiny amounts but I've never tried it myself - so be very careful if you are going to! - speak to whoever is teaching you before thinking about it!!!). I'd suggest mixing up some samples (starting with a few drops of white gas in paraffin and slowly adding more with each sample) and testing them on something that is not your skin (maybe a bit of old leather?) as well as a small piece of wick (use a new piece of wick for each test). That way you can have complete control over the burn characteristics.

You really should be aware of the dangers associated with each fuel too. I'd start with Wikipedia. Coleman Fuel is a naptha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naphtha
and is potentially toxic.
Paraffin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene
will give you dermatitis is you get it on your skin too often (and you can never really be sure what is in it).
There's loads of info online (and specifically, on here) about that though.

So you know what you are looking for...

Coleman Fuel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleman_fuel
br>https://mycotopia.net/forums/attachments...an_fuel_500.jpg

Paraffin:
http://www.firefreaks.co.uk/file/pic/site_images/fuel_group.jpg
br>
If you are ever unsure - don't try it until you've spoken to someone that knows what they are doing!

And, definitely don't ever use the stuff that is made for cars.
Except in a car of course.

smile


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Seye
Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK
Member Since: 27th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1261
Posted:Also - I'm not an expert on fuels (not these ones anyway - if you ever want to know about hydrogen storage, I'm probably not a bad place to start though wink ) but, I have been spinning for a lot of years and have a very good understanding of the underlying physics and chemistry.

I think most of what I said is right but some of the details may be wrong (I'm tired, ill and easily distracted / confused) so please be extremely careful whatever you do.

smile


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Mynci
Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...
Member Since: 27th Apr 2005
Total posts: 8737
Posted:The lighter fuel is likely used to lower the flashpoint of the other fuel as this is very good for transferring flames from lit wick to unlit wick as the flame can "stick" to your hand. it is also used to help make sure a wick lights first time but will not do the kevlar any favours.

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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Gary_Cifers
member
Location: Guthrie, Oklahoma
Member Since: 4th Jul 2008
Total posts: 64
Posted:I can totally understand the confusion in using the term "Petrol" when you're from Europe as that is what they call gasoline (Obviously lmao) but what Seye is saying is true. Petrol can be used when talking about any kind of hydrocarbon fuels as they are derived from petroleum. If your fuel hasn't exploded or gone "chaotic" on you then i'm sure you're not using automotive petrols. check the msds of your fuels they are using (Cross referencing brands and other info) just to be safe though.

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Seye
Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK
Member Since: 27th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1261
Posted:<OFF TOPIC>
What people in the US call gasoline is a specific type of 'petroleum distillate' (from the Greek/Latin: petra - rock, oleum - oil, literally 'rock oil') which is why many countries call it 'petrol'.

Apparently the word 'Gasoline' (according to very recent research) comes from an Irish counterfeit version of Cazeline; the original crude oil distillate that was shipped out of the US in the 1860's. It was essentially a brand name.

More info here: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/04/the-origin-of-gasoline/
and here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/petroleum
br>
Interesting stuff really.
(I thought so anyway)

grin
</OFF TOPIC>


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Chronos
Chronos

How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Location: Spain (for now)
Member Since: 13th May 2012
Total posts: 20
Posted:Oops. Sorry I should have been clearer. I used the word "Petrol" because I'm actually from London, should have said gasoline and stopped all this confusion, although I'm still confused since everything seems to have a different name wherever you go lol.

Since this thread started, I've asked a few more Maori knife dancers in the pacific what they use, some in Philippines and some in New Zealand. The ones that do the full Samoan knife dance routine said they either use a mix of "kerosene and unleaded" (which I can only assume is paraffin and gasoline) or "unleaded" on its own. The ones that do no contact with the flames say they use just "kerosene".

I understand the dangers of gasoline as a fuel and why all sites recommend staying completely away from, which is why I'm looking for something near as flammable as gasoline without blowing up half the stage, although so far I havent been stupid enough to have my tin anywhere near the performing area.

I tried "nampha" mixed with a bit of gasoline, about 70 : 30. it sort of worked.

Fire practice vid

Did a little buskin outside a mate's bar the other night. a few mistakes in the vid but I'm no professional yet smile had my teacher on standby just in case hehe. This is the result of the mixture of nampha and a bit of gasoline.

Still trying to find a solution to not use gasoline at all frown

PS: Finding it very difficult to buy Coleman. the nampha i used was from quite a few lighter fluid bottles which came up quite expensive lol. Is there anywhere online that I can get it?

EDITED_BY: Chronos (1342445421)


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