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  #1  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:30 AM
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Just fix it
 
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Gasoline not what it used to be - BE SUPER CAREFUL

I blew up a brush pile the other night.

Don't expect gasoline to burn the same way it always has. It does some very strange and dangerous things these days.

I have been hearing stories of extraordinary accidents with gasoline for several years and seeing some of the resulting injuries. Gasoline has always been dangerous, nothing new there, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

I wasn't injured but I got to experience a little of what I have been hearing. I was trying to burn a pile of brush that was not well dried and was using gasoline to start the fire.

I have firefighting training and I have a strong sense of self-preservation from my dabbling in life-threating activities to feed my adrenaline junkyhood. Still, I managed to create an explosion that defies all of my past experiences with similar situations.

I am serious. This was an explosion that could have hurt or killed people. Better half felt the concussive force from fifty or sixty feet away. Have heard stories of this being accompanied by a super-heated jet of air or flames. It could happen to you. Forget everything you think you know about gasoline in this type of situation.

I can show you how to blast a metal drum sixty feet into the air or rattle all of the windows in your neighborhood but we won't be using pump gas anymore.

If I had thought about it I would have pulled the return line off the car and used diesel. The gas was sitting there in the can, too easy.
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Last edited by TwitchKitty; 07-03-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:45 AM
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Ambient air temperature a bit high then - was it a warm day? I'd be surprised to get more than a dull whoompf in mostly moist Holland; but I've been wrong before!
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  #3  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:47 AM
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What do you attribute this new explosive force to? If your brush pile was out in the open air, I would not have though the fumes would have been concentrated enough to explode.
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2013, 08:52 AM
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Different chemical composition, not the same petro we have always known and loved.

This went BOOM.

It was warm out but it was after dark, not hot out.
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  #5  
Old 07-03-2013, 09:00 AM
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I've had that happen. No fun. Now I use a propane weed torch to get my burn pile going if it's damp.
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  #6  
Old 07-03-2013, 09:10 AM
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Gasoline can burn with explosive force if the fuel-air mixture is appropriate. Ambient temp, humidity, time between application and ignition, spread of fuel on surface will all play a role.

Look up fuel-air bomb.
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  #7  
Old 07-03-2013, 10:28 AM
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Was it E85 or the 10% stuff?
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2013, 10:43 AM
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Why not use kerosine or lighter fuel in the future? It's basically meant to fuel fires rather than run engines. Also cheaper than gas.
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  #9  
Old 07-03-2013, 10:44 AM
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One late evening last summer I decided to get rid of some tree debree out back ,snakes are the main reason I burn ,20 plus copperheads last season meet mister shovel .It was no surprise I found one under the lg wooden table ,an old wooden spoil .I decided it had to go with part of the burn that evening. Like A Nasa staged event with the 3 hounds looking on I proceeded setting the fuel for the strike of the match , a 5ft wooden spoil weighs north of 300lbs and using a 1/2 gallon or so it launched 3 ft high,really not purposely ,the reason ,explosive air inside a chamber goes BOOM !Much more voilent than the rush of the fuel catching,the holes on both sides of the spoil were like a jet engine,no pulse noise just a rush and it was over. Dogs didnt stay around for the splash down.

Last edited by chasinthesun; 07-03-2013 at 11:04 AM.
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2013, 01:34 PM
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Ethanol is like oxygen in a fluid state, and this is likely what is giving such an increase in the rate of combustion.

If you need an example of this: We once set up a remote temp sensor and poured out about 1/4 cup of liquid oxygen (that is: LOX) into a metal pan. Then we lit it up.

There was quite a flash, the pan melted, and the sensor pegged out at 10,000 degrees F.

This was part of a safety lesson aimed at teaching new hires that some of the stuff we messed with packed a real punch, and if they were unsure of the explosive power of a liquid then they should just considered what they had just seen and think of all of them that way.

It did cut down on accidents.
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  #11  
Old 07-03-2013, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchKitty View Post
Different chemical composition, not the same petro we have always known and loved.

This went BOOM.

It was warm out but it was after dark, not hot out.
I sincerely doubt the conclusion of "different chemical composition".

The "boom" is directly proportional to the amount of liquid that evaporates and the concentration of the vapor at ignition.

You just happened to get some excellent evap with minimal wind just prior to the match.
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  #12  
Old 07-03-2013, 03:37 PM
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I'm a bit slow today but just think *****Kitty nearly went woof!
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1965 Land Rover Series 2a Station Wagon CIS recovery therapy!
1961 Volvo PV544 Bare metal rat rod-ish thing

I'm here to chat about cars and to help others - I'm not here "to always be right" like an internet warrior



Don't leave that there - I'll take it to bits!
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  #13  
Old 07-03-2013, 04:54 PM
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Gasoline and fires are nothing new to me. We were the kids that got in trouble for burning all of the gasoline in the shed before the grass got cut. Molotov cocktails were old hat by the age of ten or so. I have seen countless fires set with gasoline. This is not your grandpa's gasoline.

I think the ethanol explanation sums up what I experienced, oxygenated fuel. Accelerating burn, there was an oxidizer involved.

I know the wump, this was a boom.

Seriously, don't assume that your lifetime of experience will protect you.
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  #14  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:21 PM
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Mix used oil 1/2 and 1/2 and it will make it a less volatile.
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  #15  
Old 07-03-2013, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchKitty View Post
I think the ethanol explanation sums up what I experienced, oxygenated fuel. Accelerating burn, there was an oxidizer involved.
Oxygenated fuel is ALREADY partially oxidized. It's not composed of molecules that can break up to release an oxidizer. Big difference there.

It's not even close to an explosive or monopropellant.
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