# Super Heated Steam

## Main Question or Discussion Point

I searched for this and get conflicting results. I have setup a demonstration that has a erlymeyer flask with a one hole stopped and water on top of a heating mantle. I then have a copper tube comming out of the hole in the stopper going into about 5-1"diameter coils and then finally comming out to an opening.

I boil the water and then ehat the coils with a propane burner...these coils get really hot and red in fact. My thermocouple says the temperature of the steam at the end is about 300 degrees celcius. However i cannot actually get the paper to ignite, it only chars and possibly make little red embers.

Any ideas on how to make it actually ignite? Am I doing something wrong?

thanks

## Answers and Replies

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Hi,

Although I do not know the answer to your question, I am interested in hearing more about the demonstration you are setting up. What is the purpose/question that the experiment is demonstrating/answering?

Is it just the steam that is touching the paper? Perhaps a fuel is needed for the heat to act upon to create a flame, I'm not sure though.

Q_Goest
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Any ideas on how to make it actually ignite?
er... hold it closer to the propane burner? :tongue2:

You need oxygen to make something burn, that's why it only chars. Not enough O2. The water vapor is displacing the air. Try injecting some oxygen into the water vapor stream. If you only use air, the oxygen in the flow stream is going to be highly diluted, so that might now work. You might also try just heating one side of the paper so the opposite side is exposed to air only.

Caution: Whenever using pure oxygen, I'd suggest using as much copper and bronze material as possible. Even stainless steel can burn in the presence of pure oxygen at a high enough O2 pressure.

Sorry I have not replied lately, I have been busy getting ready for the school year.

Rocketboy- I'm merely trying to show my kids the idea that "steam" is not that cloud they see when they breathe on a cold morning or the cloud that comes outta the shower. It's a demonstrationg to ahve them think that gases can be heated up too and don't just stay at one temperature. It gives the WOW effect, which is always good to see. The steam is generated in a flask that i stopper with a one holed opening into a copper tube and coil it...by doing that and then heating the coils the steam is then being heated more and more, and when i hold a piece of paper up to the end of it it chars and creates embers just from the steam hitting it.

Q_Goest-I'm glad you said that, I have had the idea in the back of my mind cause i belw on it one day thinking that was the issue and saw the embers glow even hotter. Injecting O2 might be an issue...i'm not sure if I have a source of O2 that would be suffcient enough....Could always setup a Hydrogen Peroxide decomposition reaction...that might do enough.

Thanks for all your help!!

Pete

Q_Goest
Homework Helper
Gold Member
How about a small medical oxygen cylinder such as used for home care? Look up 'oxygen' in your yellow pages, or look under medial supplies. You might also get an oxygen cylinder from a welding supply store. Generally you can rent these for a few bucks. Oxygen cylinders are also available in Sears, look in the tools section.

Danger
Gold Member
Hi Pete;
You could also investigate snagging a small nitrous oxide bottle from a speed shop. The ones made for motorcycles are not as large as the automotive variety. I recall as well that a few decades ago you could buy little pellets of 'solidox' that release oxygen when burned. They were used in a particular type of oxy-propane torch that my friend had.

FredGarvin
Just be damned careful when dealing with pure oxygen.

Danger
Gold Member
FredGarvin said:
Just be damned careful when dealing with pure oxygen.
Too true! I've never seen a picture of Pete, but if he's got kids he probably can't afford to lose any more hair.

I still have all my hair, but It's been close sometimes. Haha.

found a bottle of oxygen and it worked great, it went right up. I was thinking of using hydrogen peroxide and maganese oxide (catalyst) to make Water and Oxygen in the flask and boil that through the coil...wonder if that'd be enough oxygen to set it off?

pete

LURCH