Melting (Boiling!) aluminum with diesel fuel

I melted (Boiled!) a pot full of aluminum today without using any propane.
I used diesel fuel from a cold start.
I also made ingots with nothing more than bed rail angle iron and a little
K-bond molding sand as dams.
The write-up and pictures are here: (click on Melting Aluminum with diesel fuel)
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Reply to
Ron Thompson
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Hey Ron,
Very clever for the burner nozzle. What sort of regulator pressure did you use?
The only thing not shown (or explained well for us "Do I really wanna" guys) is the initial ignition sequence. I also don't see the "shop-vac" and I don't see any connection of/for it. Was there no outside forced air??
I realize that the "bed rails" were a stop-gap, but are long ingots useable like that, or will you need to break them up for charging?
Keep up the good work , and all the pix are VERY clear exposures.
Take care.
Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.
ps... a side note.... last week I needed about 60 pounds of some long skinny weights similar to the ingots you made, so I went to the local tire guy and bought 75 pounds of used wheel balance weights. For disposal, I've kept the dross and "clips" in a 20 litre (about 5 gallon) plastic pail, and just now weighed it at just under 20 pounds, so that's about 15 pounds of "loss" on the 75 pounds melted. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Reply to
Brian Lawson
I knew there were some details I left out, but at midnight I couldn't think what they were.
No outside forced air.
The regulator started at around 15 PSI to light it and burned best (after it warmed up) from 60 to 90 PSI.
To light it, I wadded up paper, lit it, and dropped it in the furnace. I then cracked the needle valve to start the fuel flow. When it lit, I increased the air and fuel a little at a time until it roared. I knew when I had too much fuel as the flame would burn on top of the furnace and I had to reduce the fuel or add more air to get it back in the furnace.
The shop vac was not used. I think this is why the bottom air was so important. I introduced additional air with the "fan" control on the paint gun. When painting, this control blows air at sides of the paint mist to give it the fan pattern.
I think next time I will weld a Y in the burner tube to allow this nozzle to be used with the shop vac as a blower. I also think it won't need as much pressure on the nozzle that way.
Long ingots, while not ideal, can be melted OK by standing them straight up until they melt. I was in a hurry, I should have made more dams closer together. I wasn't sure this would work. I imagined the aluminum pushing the dam and going everywhere.
Reply to
Ron Thompson
Very interesting. I may steal your idea for my homemade waste-oil burner. The paint gun looks to be more efficient than my siphon block device.
Reply to
Rex B
Given that the boiling point of aluminum is about 2500 deg C, that is quite an accomplishment. Either that, or you were really just outgassing something else.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
I wondered about that. It was definitely bubbling. It had been melted once before and solidified in the pot, so I doubt it was something else. But you never know.
Reply to
Ron Thompson
According to Ignoramus27276 :
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Interesting. I wonder whether I could do something that noisy in this neighborhood.
I also visited your Nichols mill. You need the vertical head to go with it, I think.
Do you have the manual for it? I forget whether we have communicated on this before.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
It could be something else that didn't boil on the previous melt because the previous melt wasn't as hot as this one. Bob
Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
We have. I bought a vertical head from another source and had to make the 40 taper with the internal spline. It was an interesting shaper project.
Ron Thompson On the Beautiful Florida Space Coast, right beside the Kennedy Space Center, USA
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Reply to
Ron Thompson
You might want to examine the operating principles of a torpedo heater, if you're not already familiar with how they work, which is similar to a fuel oil furnace burner.
A small pump is used to spray the fuel into a high volume air supply, and a sparkplug may be used to keep the mix burning (instead of a big high voltage transformer and electrodes used on a furnace).
I dunno about diesel, but fuel oil can produce an explosive white smoke if the burning stops and the mix is hitting something hot. If the white smoke plume is lit, it can be a dangerous situation.
Your pictures look good, but are too large to be viewed completely at my dialup speed.
WB metalworking projects
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R> I melted (Boiled!) a pot full of aluminum today without using any propane. >
Reply to
Wild Bill
I wonder if simply putting a fuel oil furnace burner to work would not be simpler, if less Rube-Goldbergian and homegrown. Of course, they are probably rather less common in Florida than in colder regions.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
Thanks for the tip about size. I need to work on reducing the image size without giving up quality. I may try to increase the JPG compression.
I'd use a furnace oil burner if I had one, but they are scarce in FL. This was an experiment to get me up to using waste motor oil. I just happened to have a few gallons of diesel that came from an old tank and the dark color made me not want to put it in my truck.
I think diesel and home heating oil are very similar. I did get a white cloud of vapor that ignited in the furnace or in the tube, depending on the amount of air.
Ron Thompson On the Beautiful Florida Space Coast, right beside the Kennedy Space Center, USA
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Reply to
Ron Thompson
Ron,
You pay the shipping and I have a furnace oil burner for you. I bought it off Ebay as a project idea and I have too many projects as it is.
I believe it was unused. (Looks like it.)
Looks like it needs a oil line and some electrical connections for the igniter.
Only thing I ask is more pics of your casting. (At least one with the new burner.)
Keep up the good work.
Bart D. Hull snipped-for-privacy@inficad.com Tempe, Arizona
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R>
Reply to
Bart D. Hull
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Perhaps you should update the sub-page devoted to the Nichols mill to show the vertical head, too.
Enjoy, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
Careful! Atomized oil takes a good deal more energy to ignite than a mix of air and natural gas propane or gasoline vapor. The standard ignition transformer in an oil burner delivers 20KV opencircuit voltage, 28 mA short-circuit current. The discharge will readily ignite paper or a popsicle stick. It uses the 20KV opencircuit voltage to initiate a spark, which then initiates a discharge that runs at about 1200 volts at about 28 mA -- over 30 watts. It's more like an arc than a spark.
Reply to
Don Foreman
The part that I forgot to mench, about ignition in the commercial fuel oil/kerosene heating equipment that I'm familiar with, is that the ignition device is energized during the entire burn, not just at start-up.
This insures that the fuel won't start to vaporize when contacting the hot surfaces of the combustion chamber, if the flame should go out during the burn.
So if burning or ignition is lost, a safety device needs to stop the fuel delivery until the fault is corrected.
WB metalworking projects
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Wild Bill wrote:
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Wild Bill

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