Chafing Fuel

Chafing Fuel contains combustible chemicals and is a portable heating source. Chafing fuels are used for warming or heating food and the main fuels used can vary. Clean burning fuels are used such as:

· Ethanol

· Methanol

· Diethylene glycol

The use of these types of clean burning fuels allows chafing both indoors and outdoors, and these fuels are also quite often used for camping, heating and fondue.

When used as a camping fuel there are many advantages and disadvantages for using chafing fuels. The burn time per gram of fuel weight obtained by this method is very high, and they are very lightweight for their size.

Chafing fuels are also very clean burning, safer, quieter and are readily available when compared to most other portable heat sources. The main disadvantage of chafing fuels when compared to other alternatives is that their heat output is lower. Other alternatives include kerosene (paraffin) and white gas. Because of this lower heat output longer coking times are required.

Common chafing fuels include ethanol, methanol and Diethylene glycol. Ethanol and methanol are supplied in gel form and are both similar in consistency, operating procedures and product design. Methanol does not burn as hot as ethanol, methanol burns at 726KJ/mol compared to ethanol’s 1300KJ/mol.

Both of these common gels are supplied and contained in a steel can which has a resalable lid, and the burn times are reflected in the size of the tin. The most common sizes are two hour, four hour and six hour burn times, and the colour of the gel may vary according to whom it was manufactured by.

Diethylene glycol is different from ethanol or methanol because the fuel itself is not flammable. The housing container is equipped with a wick which allows the fuel to combusted, and it is considered to be a safer alternative to ethanol or methanol gels because any spilled Diethylene glycol will not combust. Diethylene glycol is available in liquid form therefore the container is of a different design having a screw cap which is more resistant to leaking. It also has a much higher heat of combustion than that of ethanol or methanol gel at 2155KJ/mol.

Dictionary definitions of ‘Chafing’ are: To wear away or irritate by rubbing: To annoy: To warm by rubbing, as with the hands.



Source by John Cheesman

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