Instructables

What do i add to my alcohol fuel for my flamethrower, to make the flames brighter?

Hi Im working on a flamethrower which is turning out pretty well, the only issue is, since im using alcohol as the fuel, the flames are pretty much invisible, i was wondering what i could add to increase the carbon content. Normally ide experiment with adding a little gasoline, or diesel to it, but i have to be careful with my pump, its made from either ABS or PLA, and for some reason everyone on ebay who sells them are very sketchy, ive bought 4 in the past and only the last one ever arrived.

Anyway, what can i add to my fuel to make its flame more visible?
Fortunately my flamethrower does not leak at all so its safe to move up from alcohol to something with a higher burning temp.
What can i add that will not dissolve the plastic, increase flame brightness, and not increase the burn temp too much.

Before hydrocarbons, are there any salts or chemicals i can dissolve into the alcohol to do this? i beleive i can dilute the alcohol a bit with water so it will take sodium, but will that have any significant effect?
The sun is pretty bright here so alcohol flames are invisible, gasoline flames however are very visible in contrast.

Thanks

rickharris1 year ago
Your playing with fire here and making something that in most countries is illegal. I won't even go into the danger
jpoopdog (author)  rickharris1 year ago
Well not in australia, you can buy them at some hardware stores here, they are used for weeding.

an Alcohol flamethrower is safer than a jet lighter, the alcohol is very difficult to ignite and the flames are pretty much useless for anything more than making an impressive flame, however if the flame is invisible then the whole thing is useless.

I know the danger, but i want to know how i can make the flame brighter, not discuss what i already know.
Ah not the type of flame thrower I was thinking about - A weed eater is just a big blow lamp. Although I have no experience of using or building a flame thrower I do know that putting paraffin or diesel into a flame makes it yellow.

Many chemical salts will colour flames:

Copper = green potassium - red Cobalt - Blue
From Wukipedia

As  Arsenic  Blue
B  Boron  Bright green
Ba  Barium  Pale/Apple green 
Ca  Calcium  Brick red
Cs  Caesium  Blue-Violet 
Cu(I)  Copper(I)  Bluish-green 
Cu(II)  Copper(II) (non-halide)  Green  Flame test on copper sulfate
Cu(II)  Copper(II) (halide)  Blue-green 
Fe  Iron  Gold 
In  Indium  Blue 
K  Potassium  Lilac 
Li  Lithium  Red 
Mn (II)  Manganese (II)  Yellowish green 
Mo  Molybdenum  Yellowish green 
Na  Sodium  Intense yellow 
P  Phosphorus  Pale bluish green 
Pb  Lead  Blue/White 
Ra  Radium  Crimson red
Rb  Rubidium  Red-violet 
Sb  Antimony  Pale green 
Se  Selenium  Azure blue 
Sr  Strontium  Crimson 
Te  Tellurium  Pale green 
Tl  Thallium  Pure green 
Zn  Zinc  Colorless (sometimes reported as bluish-green)
NOTE: Information only.

What you do with that information is YOUR responsibility in no way am I encouraging you to build. use or even consider a flame thrower in any form or option.
jpoopdog (author)  rickharris1 year ago
thankyou, however those salts will only alter the colour, i need to increase the intensity as well. Any ideas for anything i can add without seriously reducing the likelyhood of the spray taking an arc?

If this will put your mind at rest the flamethrower is already built, im just asking about fuel additives :)
Not really - sorry outside my area of expertise at this point..

What d you use it for?
jpoopdog (author)  rickharris10 months ago
like i said before, novelty purposes. just to use it for a cool effect, i mean really other than setting people and objects alight, what could any flamethrower be used for?