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

Magnetic fuel saver

  1. Oct 29, 2008 #1
    Not sure if this has ben done before;

    I purchased one of these recently http://www.ecomagnets.com/thermoflow.htm

    It's basically a magnet that you strap to the fuel line of you're boiler. Claims that it increases fuel efficiency etc etc.

    It also claims it was discovered during WWII, to make bombers travel further.

    I had the efficency of a kerosene boiler tested with it on recently, it was 91%, I had another boiler tested and it was 89% (without magnet). But the latter was older.

    Unfortunately was not there at the time of testing so could not test the same boiler with and without block on it.

    Any thoughts??

    PS; it's not cheap either!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2008 #2
    There are websites full of schemes to boost car MPG and tests have shown that most don't work at all including magnets. Some show a slight improvement. Many show a worse MPG. Some can damage the engine. Some are dangerous.

    The advice on motoring sites is to alter your driving style to save on fuel.

    Someone pointed out that many fuel lines are made of steel and the magnet field wouldn't even reach the fuel.

    On another site people with a good knowledge of physics and chemisty couldn't see what possible effect a magnetic could have on fuel which is neither magnetic or conducts elctricity.


    Gas-saving devices mostly a scam........


    "The EPA to date has tested in the neighborhood of 100 gas-saving devices, the most recent at the request of the Federal Trade Commission, and only six "indicated a very small improvement in fuel economy without an increase in exhaust emissions." "
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  4. Oct 29, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah, its called the extreme miserly driving technique or something and it works quite well. The problem is that it can freak out other drivers who think they need that extra 4 seconds of waiting at a red light. I've noticed about a 20 percent cash/gas savings since experimenting with modest acceleration and slowing down some.
  5. Oct 29, 2008 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    A boiler's efficiency has little to do with thermodynamics. It is almost entirely about chemsitry of combustion. The enthalpy of combustion is childs play to calculate and what you find is this:

    -If your boiler does not condense the water out of the flue gases, it is 79%-81% efficient (lower heating value).
    -If your boiler does condense the water out of its flue gases, it is 92-96% efficient (higher heating value).
    [these values are the efficiency when new: efficiency decreases as components degrade]

    That's it. There are no other possibilities unless you design the boiler exceedingly poorly. Either way, there is nothing at all that a magnet can do to effect the combustion efficiency unless you stuff it into the flue pipe, creating an obstruction.
  6. Oct 30, 2008 #5


    I dont understand the part about condensing the vapor though. Does this just mean you have less water vapor in the combustion process and hence a more efficient burn?

    Is the flue the exhaust?

    The theory is something about making the fuel itself more 'combustable', maybe possibly makes a finer vapor.
  7. Nov 2, 2008 #6
    I believe the idea behind the magnets is that impurities are drawn out of the fuel (impurities characeristically contain iron, nickel, or cobalt I presume) and this magnetic filtration allows the machinery to run more efficiently. I dont see what else a magnet could be expected to do.
  8. Nov 2, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It's about removing water vapour from the exhaust. If you have hot water vapour going out of the chimney and into the air you are wasting energy. If you can cool the vapour turn that back into water you will recover some of the heat - you can use this to preheat the air going to into the furnace or the cold feed water going to a boiler.

    It's already about as fine a spray as it's going to be when it's injected.
  9. Nov 2, 2008 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry I missed that question - mgb is correct, it is about recovering the latent heat in the water vapor. And it is a significant amount of heat.
  10. Nov 2, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    In a car engine they do nothing, there aren't any magnetic impurities in the fuel.
    There are two reasons for using magnets in these claims.

    1, People don't understand magnets so any magical claim about them can be made.

    2, Indutrial processes do use (much larger) magnets to disrupt the formation of limescale deposits in water pipes. So you can muddy the waters by claiming that power stations use this technology.
  11. Nov 4, 2008 #10
    Found this quote here: http://www.enersolcorp.com/motive/index.cfm

    I don't know what effect a magnetic field would have on a hydrocarbon fuel. Can someone enlighten me?

    Would the molecules be at all disturbed by a static field? Even a very strong one?
  12. Nov 4, 2008 #11
    "I don't know what effect a magnetic field would have on a hydrocarbon fuel. Can someone enlighten me? "

    It is all nonsense.
  13. Nov 4, 2008 #12
    The question I always ask myself is: if these things really work so brilliantly, why don't the auto manufacturers install them as standard or as an option (if you get the "because they're expensive" excuse)?

    Surely they would have researched these things and then thought well, "I'll be damned, we can increase the fuel efficiency of our new lambo gallardo by just adding magnets, t'riffic!" Oh, but I forgot about the world wide capitalistic scam that the automotive industry the world over supports to make engines less fuel effiecient so we have to buy more petrol... :uhh:
  14. Nov 4, 2008 #13
    I have not yet had a satisfactory scientific explaination for the effect of a magnetic field on a hydrocarbon liquid.

    Is it;

    a) Absolutely no effect, even if you put it in a field of 1e100 Am^-1 nothing would be effected.

    b) A slight effect, the molecule might be affected if it is arranged in a certain way, but barily noticeable.

    c) It will be affected to a noticeable extent, but no effect on the fuel is likely
  15. Nov 4, 2008 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Some hydrocarbons (like parafin wax) do change their viscosity in a magenetic field.
    Ideally there shouldn't be any of these in fuel - but there will be traces.
    The magnets sold by these conmen are too small to have any effect.

    Magnets are fitted to the sumps of engines and in oil pumps to scavenge any metal fragments and provide a warning of worn parts. I can't find any evidence that they were fitted to fuel lines (for this or any other reason).
  16. Nov 4, 2008 #15


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Magnets work pretty well with my tinfoil hat.

    I just don't know why I need either.

    In an FMRI the magnets align the protons of each atom in one direction.
    Would that help pass gas more efficiently? If so, please give some warning.
  17. Nov 4, 2008 #16
    Thanks mgb_phys, and I suppose baywax also.....
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook