# Ethanol lantern

#### Greg Bernhardt

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?

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org

#### Astronuc

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

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
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:

#### waht

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.

#### brewnog

Gold Member
Denatured ethanol will be fine.

#### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Denatured ethanol will be fine.
Yes, I agree.

#### turbo

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.

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
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?
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.

#### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
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.

#### rcgldr

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.

#### Monique

Staff Emeritus
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 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).

#### brewnog

Gold Member
You girls are so safety conscious.

Greg! Play with your invisible fire! Don't be held back by the spoilsports! Enjoy it!

#### alxm

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.
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.

#### turbo

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

#### Greg Bernhardt

are there any dangerous vapors from burning denatured alcohol?

#### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
You girls are so safety conscious.

Greg! Play with your invisible fire! Don't be held back by the spoilsports! Enjoy it!
Wait a second....what good is a lantern that has an invisible fire?

#### turbo

Gold Member
Wait a second....what good is a lantern that has an invisible fire?
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.

#### turbo

Gold Member
are there any dangerous vapors from burning denatured alcohol?
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.

#### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
are there any dangerous vapors from burning denatured alcohol?
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.

### Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving