Introduction: Firebreath With Mineral Oil (And Dangers of Other Fuels.)
Today I am going to demonstrate my technique for fire breathing using mineral oil. This is safer than using alcohol, kerosene, or lamp oil as I will explain why below. Note: I'm am going to probably receive a lot of hate for pointing out just how dangerous the supposed "Tried and Tested" Fire-Breathing Fuels are, but I do not care I do this because it needs to be said. Too many people are told that Alcohol, Kerosene, Lamp oil and other fuels are safe to use for Fire-Breathing and because of it they suffer Grave Injuries or worse from trying. This is what I am here trying to prevent today. In this Instructable, I am going to go over the Dangers of some of the other Popular liquid fuels out there, and explain the difference with the fuel I use (Mineral Oil) which is relatively very safe. Along with teaching you how to fire-breath using mineral oil like I myself do.
One last note I am not Responsible for any injuries or damages that may result from you trying this yourself. It is expected that if you try this you are an adult and accept full responsibility for your own actions and that I am no way liable in what you chose do do with this info... (Sorry I have to say it...)
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: The Dangers of Other Fuels (Alcohols)
Dangers of other fuels
Alcohol- Is dangerous for fire breathing for a multitude of reasons
1.) Unless you are using Ethanol alcohol most other alcohols are highly toxic even in small qualities and can kill you through swallowing or absorption!! (Such as Methanol, Isopropanol, and Butanol [but to a lesser extent.]) And don't think that for a second just because you don't swallow it that you can't be poisoned by it for that is completely inaccurate nonsense! Because of the presence of mucous membrane in your mouth you can easily absorbed toxins (Or anything really) held there.
This also brings me to point number 2.) Alcohol and fire breathing don't mix!! (I am referring specifically now to the kind considered "Safe to consume..." Otherwise know as Ethanol!) And by that I mean that at no point in time should someone be intoxicated while fire breathing, it's a stupid Idea and can easily lead to you being injured or worse someone else. Why worse..? Well let's put it this way, if they get injured because your drunk self decides to blow a fireball into their face then it's completely your fault and they were just an innocent bystander. (Unless of course in some miraculous feat they somehow forced you to do it... In which case they're probably at fault.) BUT if somehow you manage to catch your face on fire because you didn't take my heed, and decided to fire breath drunk anyways... Then your once again at fault... (Unless that same person mentioned above somehow... By some means, probably physical... Was able to force you to drink then fire breath, in which case you should probably call the cops and press charges on them...) Joking aside, this is not to be taking lightly and especially if you are using "Harsh" highly flammable fuels like alcohol, for it CAN lead to a death!!
Now here is the kicker 3.) remember how I mentioned those "Mucous Membrane thingys..?" And mentioned how that they can absorb stuff and junk..? While... That applies to Ethanol too, meaning once again you DON'T have to swallow the alcohol for it to be absorbed into you system and intoxicate you!! Just holding Ethanol in your mouth for a time can cause you to get drunk off it... (How awkward would it be to explain to the cops that why you blew that .8 while driving home was only because you had held some ethanol in your mouth for fire breathing, but never did you swallow a drop... Honest!! I wonder if they'd take your word for it..?)
4.) Alcohol is Flammable!! Well of course it is... If it wasn't we couldn't use it for Fire-Breathing right..? But that's not what I mean, what I mean is it is Highly Flammable and Its Vapors are Highly Flammable!! You have some Alcohol Dribble on your mouth and the fire gets a little to close suddenly you have a Fireball for a Face that more than likely you're not going to be able to put out before suffering Terrible Burns, that may possibly even permanently disfigure you. But it gets worse, like I said the vapors are flammable too, have some fumes in your mouth..? Fire can travel back into your mouth and burn you there, but beyond that the fire's sudden consumption of Oxygen can take it right from your lungs, having the potential to cause them to collapse. But even worse still is having the fire travel down into your lungs (Usually caused by sudden inhalation when a person is shocked from a Blowback) and having any vapor in them ignite, causing the inside of your lungs to get burned severely and probably causing collapse from the sudden lack of oxygen. Even if the Doctors are able to fix your collapsed lung(s), having burns inside your lungs means that your lungs and alveoli slowly fill with water, puss, blood (Ect.) from the blistered, burned tissue. Meaning if that your lungs weren't damaged enough originally to kill you, you'll more than likely slowly drown to death as your lungs fill with fluid... (I'm not trying to be Grim, I am saying all this so it is understood just how dangerous this can be. My goal is to stop stuff like this from happening, not scare people.)
Now there are people who professionally fire breath using alcohol, but a lot tend to cut it with paraffin oil or such. This is still highly dangerous but keep in mind one key word... Professionals!! They have been doing it for years, but keep in mind many of them have suffered at least some type of fire breathing related injury with varying degrees of severity before they had reached this point. And every time they do this they put themselves at a great risk that can be essentially avoided all together by using a different safer fuel! (Like one which I'm going to demonstrate today.)
Step 2: Dangers of Other Fuels (Kerosene and Lamp Oil.)
Kerosene and Lamp Oil- Is also dangerous for a multitude of reasons (Some similar, some different...)
But I do want to say Lamp Oil and Kerosene are not the same thing, some people want to try and say they are the same thing... Yes they are both Hydrocarbons true, but so is gasoline, motor oil, mineral spirits and lighter fluid/naphtha. So It's like the old saying goes a square may be a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square.
So both may be Hydrocarbons, but please understand they're not the same thing. And for those out there who want to claim lamp oil is perfectly safe for Fire Breathing DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!! Some say Lamp Oil is less toxic than Kerosene, I can't say for certain (A lot of lamp oils are Kerosene with bunch of unsafe additives...) but one thing is for sure both are still Highly Toxic!! Ingestion can be Fatal! (http://www.nafaa.org/ultra-pure.pdf) (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002807.htm)
So that brings up point 1.) If you swallow a little bit of either it can make you Extremely Sick and even Kill You!! Which that leads us to point 2.) Once again like with alcohol above, you can absorb Kerosene and Lamp oil through Mucus Membrane in your mouth. Meaning holding it in your mouth and not even swallowing a drop can still cause it to be absorbed into your system.
3.) Kerosene can cause chemical burns just from prolonged contact with skin (http://www.who.int/ipcs/emergencies/kerosene.pdf) in fact another user from a different Instructable had a case of this happen with a leaky container in their pocket. Now imagine if it can do that to your skin, what it can do inside your mouth or better yet going through your digestive tract!!
4.) Kerosene and lamp oil may have a "Highish" flash point (Kerosene and lamp oil 100-162F, high in comparison to gasoline's -40F or Ethanol's 63F at 96% or 79F at 40% [With water.]) making them considered "Safer" than alcohol for Fire Breathing, but if you have kerosene on your face and cloths it still can catch flame rather easily and burn intensely. Basically if something you're wearing has kerosene on it and it catches fire your probably not going to be able to put it out with out being burned severely first. (That's bad for your health M'kay..?)
Step 3: Dangers of Other Fuels (Gasoline.)
Gasoline- Don't... Just Don't...
Step 4: Why Consumption Grade Mineral Oil..?
Consumption Grade Mineral oil:
-Safe to consume in reasonable quantities. (In other words don't chug a gallon of the stuff and you'll probably be fine...)
-Used commonly as a medical treatment for certain... Uhhum.... *Clears Throat* "Gastrointestinal blockage issues..." (Aka Laxative...) For both people and animals.
-Softens and helps keep dry skin hydrated (Aka Baby Oil... [Side note: Baby oil is not in fact made of Babies...]) Now I know that softer skin doesn't really help with fire-breathing per se... But I'd take softer skin over Dry, Damaged, Chemically burned and Peeling skin (Caused from Kerosene or lamp oil) any day...
-Relatively cheap, you can get gallon used for livestock for under $15 bucks if you know where to look. (Sure it's not the cheapest thing ever, but what is your good health or even life worth to you..?)
-Has a extremely high flash point of around 335°F (http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9927364)... meaning it is extremely hard to get to catch fire unless you aerate it like you do while fire-breathing, so the chances of you face catching fire in event of Blow-Back, or your cloths is almost non-existent (I don't even think it's possible to be honest as mineral oil is hard to light even with a direct flame held for an extended period of time.) But if either were to catch fire it is fairly easy to put out unlike Kerosene, lamp Oil or Alcohol.
-If you swallow a large quantity of mineral oil you'll get diarrhea and some intestinal cramping, though dehydration is still a definite concern if this happens. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002684.htm)
Now on the contrary if you swallow a whole bunch of Kerosene or Kerosene based lamp oils YOUDIE!! But it's still preceded by Extreme Gastrointestinal Pain, Cramping, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Burns to Esophagus and Mouth, Severe Ear, Eye and Nose Pain, Vision Loss, Convulsions, Depression, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Headache, Loss of Consciousness, Seizures, Staggering, Weakness, Breathing difficulty (from inhalation), Throat swelling, Dehydration, High Blood Pressure and Potential Collapse of Heart valve(s). That's if you live long enough to have any of those symptoms. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002807.htm)
(Hopefully people can see why exactly I am so passionate when it comes to this subject, many people out there actually believe that Kerosene is safe to use!! And this is due too misinformation caused by lack of knowledge. That's why I hope with what I am doing I can open some people eyes to the dangers of using Kerosene, Lamp oil and Alcohol for Fire-Breathing and possibly save some lives in the process.)
So know that you know the dangers of other fuels, and the pluses of using mineral oil. Let's move on to the actual Fire-Breathing part of this!! (Yay!!)
Step 5: Precuations...
(Above is a video of mine when blowing Downwind and a windy day and you
can see that the flame travel slowly until getting close to my face then it almost whips back to bite me. That is a combination of fuel proximity and a low pressure zone. Also notice how the flame follows me as I pull back once again that is caused by low pressure zones my body generates as I move back. More on that though a little bit down. Don't worry I was completely fine, didn't even feel the heat. I just singed one of my eyelash's a bit.)
Anyways, yes mineral oil is safer... Yes it's unlikely to burn you if your smart about it... Yes it has a high flash point...
We're still playing with fire here and as such, never is it a good idea to fire breath on a windy day... Especially Upwind (Aka ♪Against the wind♪) now this should obvious a if you try to take on the wind with a giant fireball, the wind is going to win and you're going to lose (In a very potentially painful way...)
But on a windy day even blowing fire Downwind can be dangerous as your back to the wind creates a Low-Pressure zone in front of you and your face that can allow for misted fuels to accumulate and then ignite (Like me above.) Almost like the low pressure zones created in truck-beds while driving. But even if that wasn't a concern you still have to worry about sudden shifts in wind that might too cause an issue.
Also Hydrocarbons are dangerous to inhale as they can take a long time to break down once introduced to your lungs (Fire Breathers Pneumonia.) That goes for all Hydrocarbons (Yes even Mineral Oil) so one thing you have to make Absolutelysure of is you don't inhale or let anyone else inhale the mist that you Breath out. That includes (Even though it shouldn't need to be said) Fire Breathing at, or above people that are really close (Close is subjective as I gotten a few 20+ feet flames.) Or Fire-Breathing strait up above yourself and not steeping back immediately afterwards (To avoid inhaling any unburnt fuels that might be falling back down.)
Also, don't ever aggressively inhale immediately after having fuels in your mouth as doing so might cause some of the remnants to get sucked into your lungs. As a matter of fact I recommend only inhaling through your nose while Fire-Breathing and awhile afterwards (Until you feel all the fuel has worked it way out of your mouth.)
This isn't likely going to be a concern to people who might Fire Breathe once every three months as a party trick or to impress someone, as this tends to be accumulative effect in people who Fire Breathe frequently. But you should always do your best to avoid inhaling any fuel mist, better safe than sorry right..?
And one last this is to avoid you or anyone else inhaling any of the smoke produced, it's not much but... No smoke is good smoke...
Step 6: Practice With Water..?
Let me explain, Mineral oil is extremely difficult to catch fire in its standard pooled form. Yet when it is "Breathed" (AKA Just spit out at a high velocity, and fine mist) it catches fire rather easily... That is because of something called Aerating or introducing oxygen into a material.
Everything needs oxygen to burn (Well kinda) but there is a limit or Ideal ratio. For instance If something does not have enough oxygen to catalyze the fuel it simply does not burn or burns very poorly (Like the pooled mineral oil...)
Or if it has too much oxygen and too little fuel then there is not enough fuel to burn so it once again doesn't burn or burns very poorly. (That's why a simple candle burning doesn't cause all the oxygen in our atmosphere to suddenly ignite.)
But if everything is in an ideal ratio or close to it then a very vigorous flame or even explosion can occur because the amount of Oxygen and Fuel in mix are being consumed almost equally allowing for very little waste product. (Think Gunpowder, Gas Explosions, Fuel Injectors...)
So this rule applies for Fire Breathing too, if you were to just spit and not mist the mineral oil on the torch it wouldn't catch fire or barley catch fire. And if you were to hold the torch too far away that the mix of Fuel to Air is too low then once again it wouldn't catch fire or barley would catch fire. Only when the mineral oil is Misted properly and you mix it well with the air along with having the torch at an ideal placement can good fire-breathing occur...
Practicing with water will help to master on of those two priorities. Practicing misting the water (Think almost like a spit-take from Tv) is the first step to learning misting fuels. Essentially grab a bottle of water, put it in your mouth and spray it out as hard as possible while keeping you lips as tight as possible. Many describe this as almost like blowing a trumpet. The first couple of times I you do this you might just spit out the water and not mist it... I have taught a few people and this is a common problem, however usually it can be corrected in about 10 minutes of practice.
One thing I personally found makes this easier is only starting with 1/3 to 1/2 mouthful of water instead of an entire mouthful. Then as you get better work your way up. You should be able to get a fine mist to travel at least about 6 feet without any accidental spitting before moving to actual breathing.
Whew this has been a lot of writing... But I think I explained in depth what I wanted to so as such I ask you please watch my video on fire-breathing in the next step or the first one. That's where I go over a few other things like your torch and techniques. Thanks for reading!
Step 7: Video in Case You Missed It ;)
Well thanks for watching!