Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ethanol lantern

  1. Mar 16, 2009 #1
    i bought an indoor lantern that calls for ethanol as its fuel, however none of my hardware stores seem to carry ethanol (Ace, Truevalue, Home Depot). They do carry regular denatured alcohol in the paint sections. Can I use that or where can I buy canned/bottled (bio)ethanol?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2009 #2

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Maybe in the paint section where one finds solvents or paint remover.

    http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-denatured-alcohol-prime-grade-ethanol-p-2544.html?ref=42

    Model: 11342

    Manf#: 11342
    UPC#: 082901113423
    Manf: KLEAN-STRIP/WM BARR
    Keyword: ALCOHOL DENATURED QT ACE

    Quantity: 6 Per Unit

    Retail Price: $51.36
    Regular Price: $46.69 (seems to be for 6 qts)

    Description:
    ACE DENATURED ALCOHOL
    Prime grade ethanol
    Used to thin shellac based products only.
    A specialty cleaner that will clean painting tools after cleaning shellac.
    Will soften dry or hard shellac
    Can dissolve most inks, lipsticks, crayons.
    The best grade fuel for alcohol chafing dishes and stoves
    Dissolves in water

    Quart
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Mar 16, 2009 #3
    Rubbing alcohol might do, like the isotropyl which is sold very cheaply in Walgreens. At this moment the only source of viable ethanol I can think of is the liquor store.
     
  5. Mar 16, 2009 #4

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Denatured ethanol will be fine.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2009 #5

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes, I agree.
     
  7. Mar 16, 2009 #6

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Greg, the only ethanol you will be able buy legally is denatured alcohol. It is primarily ethanol, but made poisonous with small admixtures of stuff like acetone, aviation gasoline, etc so that you can't drink it. Denatured alcohol will work just fine, because the additives are volatile and flammable.
     
  8. Mar 16, 2009 #7

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    One could probably use Everclear, which can be obtained from some liquor stores, but I believe it's much more expensive than denatured alcohol. I would think the local hardware stores would carry denatured alcohol (ethanol) in their paint departments.
     
  9. Mar 16, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Be careful with that lantern. I remember the alcohol burners from science labs in junior high, and the flame can burn extremely clear so you don't remember it's lit (one of my classmates got a pretty bad burn on her arm when she set herself on fire reaching over one she didn't know was lit). They also are pretty dangerous if you knock one over. It was much better when we graduated to bunsen burners in high school so could just turn off the gas when something went haywire.
     
  10. Mar 17, 2009 #9

    rcgldr

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Denatured alcohol is usually 90% ethanol, some percentage of methanol (poisonous) and other stuff. It's what is used for "ethanol" lanterns and camping stoves in the USA.

    In the USA, Indy Racing League cars and some drag racing cars use E100 ("100%" ethanol, although it sucks moisture from the air, so E100 really ranges from 1% to 4% water). Other than drag racing venues, I'm not sure where you can buy E100 in the USA. It's common in Brazil, where it's made from sugar cane.
     
  11. Mar 17, 2009 #10

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I set beakers of ethanol on fire on a regular basis, I even once set a lab-mates notebook on fire in the process :blushing: As Moonbear mentions ethanol burns with a clear flame, but in my experience the candle-like burners have a yellow flame.

    Make sure the lantern is safe, that it cannot be knocked over and spill its contents. Also pay attention to the amount of additives in the ethanol you're buying (you may want to ventilate the room).
     
  12. Mar 17, 2009 #11

    brewnog

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You girls are so safety conscious.

    Greg! Play with your invisible fire! Don't be held back by the spoilsports! Enjoy it!
     
  13. Mar 17, 2009 #12

    alxm

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    AFAIK, methanol is never used anymore as a denaturing agent due to its toxicity. You add a substance such as denatonium (Bitrex) which will make anything unpalatable even in trace amounts. Sometimes small amounts of propanol and other higher alcohols are also added. But methanol, never. People do try to drink denatured ethanol, and blindness isn't really a proportionate 'punishment'.

    The azeotrope is 95% ethanol, so that's where E100 would be at, and the rest water + trace amounts of denaturing agents. The main point is that it does not contain gasoline.
     
  14. Mar 17, 2009 #13

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Actually, the contents of denatured alcohol vary with formulation and there are many formulations allowed, based on the intended usage. In our pulp mill's chem lab in the 80's our ethanol was denatured with ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone and aviation gasoline.

    http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/27cfr21_03.html
     
  15. Mar 20, 2009 #14
    are there any dangerous vapors from burning denatured alcohol?
     
  16. Mar 20, 2009 #15

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Wait a second....what good is a lantern that has an invisible fire?
     
  17. Mar 20, 2009 #16

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'm assuming that the lantern has a mantle or filament of some kind that is made to glow from the heat of the invisible flame.
     
  18. Mar 20, 2009 #17

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I can't give you any help on that one, since we never burned our denatured alcohol in the lab, but the admixtures comprise a small percentage of the total volume. What are the recommendations of the lantern's manufacturer. Presumably since they are marketing these items to be used indoors, they must conform to some sort of safety guidelines.
     
  19. Mar 21, 2009 #18

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Not that I know of. Most versions I see nowadays just have isopropyl alcohol added and a little bit of methanol, just enough to make it undrinkable. The combustion products wouldn't be any problem.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Ethanol lantern
  1. 5000 Paper Lanterns (Replies: 8)

  2. The Mac-o-Lantern (Replies: 8)

  3. The ethanol deception (Replies: 100)

Loading...