Author Options:

Why isn't 91% isopropyl alcohol working in any can/survival stove except mine ? Answered

Every time I try to make a can stove, the 91 % alcohol isn't working in any. It only works in my stove. can you help


I use 91% alcohol in my stove and it works great, since it's only $1 at most stores, the exception, I put a tea light candle under my stove (I support my stove on a mushroom can with the top and bottom cut out and hole along the top and bottom to let it breathe) to super heat it and I can get 2 cups of water to boil in less than 3 min.s and the water in the alcohol evaporates while is burns. I can also use 70% but after the alcohol burns out I'm left with a little water left behind.

lennyb has it right: it's the water in the alcohol.  Remove it how he said, since isopropyl alcohol is insoluble in salt water.  This works with both 70% and 91% rubbing alcohol.  Then you have gas line antifreeze which is 99% isopropanol like ISO HEET which is why it's called that.  91% works in your stove (love it, by the way--I have to try that) because your stove is so very short that you can't help but catch the fumes.

Denatured alcohol is ethanol, drinking alcohol that's had stuff added to make it un-drinkable.  It's more expensive and doesn't have quite the energy content as isopropanol.  The water separation trick doesn't work with ethanol, but I like VanWinn's suggestion of a pinch of salt to make the alcohol flame visible.  Ethanol will dissolve a bit of salt, and sodium colors the flame yellow.  Going a bit farther, strontium does red and copper does green, both available as chlorides.  Look for how to make colored flames.

Use denatured Alcohol (available at most hardware stores), rubbing alcohol still has too much water in it. If you want a more visible flame with denatured alcohol, just add some table salt, this will add more yellow to the flame.

also used with any rubbing alcohol salt will cause the water and alcohol to separate into distinct layers so you can separate them .
whats left over is not quite as good as denatured stuff but its still better than having 30 percent water left over after a burn.

try using more primer.

Isopropyl Alcohol is the simplest example of a secondary alcohol C3H7OH. In the USA it's made combining H2O and propene as a result it is soluble in water and has a relative high boiling point of 180 F. When Isopropyl Alcohol is first distilled it only 87.9 pure Isopropyl alcohol by weight and 12.% weight in water. Due to it's high water weight and the act that it is sable it has relatively high flash point of 54 F means that it does not gas actively by it self therefore agitation and warmer tempers all help in lighting it

pour the alcohol into the top

Just buy a bottle of Heet from any automotive section of a store/gas station. Works WAY better than isopropyl


9 years ago

Maybe you put too much in, it's the fumes that ignite, I think...

actually, I found that if you preheat the stove it will work for a little while, then relight.