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Need suggestions for what binder to use


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#1 billysundays

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:23 PM

What binder can be used to make a log that would burn slowly in a campfire, over the course of several hours per log?

 

I'm trying to figure out how to make a fire log with strontium chloride mixed in that will burn red in a campfire for several hours.

 

First choice obviously is to add strontium chloride to a mix of paraffin wax and sawdust, as many have suggested before, but for the purpose of making a long-burning log that"s being placed in an already lit fire, I'm wondering if there would be a better binder source that could be used that would burn more slowly than a paraffin/sawdust combo, since the log doesn't need to also provide a fuel source. The log just needs to slowly release the strontium over several hours.

 

Plus, making a wax/sawdust log isn't exactly as straightforward as it sounds. The sawdust/wax mixture has to be compressed. That would require mixing the wax with a solvent, adding sawdust and placing all that in a briquette press. Its doable, but maybe there's a better solution that's not so involved.


Edited by billysundays, 08 September 2017 - 04:45 PM.


#2 OldMarine

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 04:52 PM

What about the rolled newsprint logs? I've made them with simple wheat paste and baking soda as a burn regulator. Maybe switch the 4% Baking soda to another carbonate? I have a device I bought years ago to roll the paper into logs but don't know if you can still find them. I'm liking these threads since I spend a lot of time sitting by the fire pit!


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#3 billysundays

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:19 PM

Is baking soda the burn regulator?

 

Glad you're into this idea as well, OldMarine. Huge bonfires have been the highlight of our family camping trips for 5 years now. I guess that makes us a family of pyros. ;)

 

Imagine my excitement when I came across the possibility of adding color to those large flames, online back in May. We have another trip planned for the end of October. I bought those powder packets, but the effective was too weak, short lived, and expensive for what I have in mind. I've been closing in on the best solution though. Copper wire with a garden hose works perfectly. I just need to get red into the mix. Just of matter of selecting the right binder at this point. Any info I've needed about fireworks has been easy to find, since I don't get into anything too advanced. Its this campfire project that's been a challenge. Go figure!

 

The kids don't know about this little project of mine, keeping it a surprise. Plan to put up a video of the fire afterwards on youtube. I'll make sure the post a link to it here when its up.


Edited by billysundays, 08 September 2017 - 05:31 PM.


#4 OldMarine

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:33 PM

Even as such a small percentage of bicarb in the wheat paste shows a bright yellow flame so I would imagine other carbonates would have the same effect


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#5 bobd

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:05 AM

Pat:

I would think that the yellow flame from the 'bicarb' (NaHCO3?) is caused by the sodium content.  Strontium carbonate will definitely give you a red(ish) flame.

Bob

But you knew that already.  No sarcasm meant.

B


Edited by bobd, 13 September 2017 - 11:59 AM.

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#6 billysundays

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 12:07 PM

Any binder that would be used, in this case, can't contain elements that would contribute orange, yellow or white to the flames, so nothing with calcium or sodium for sure, which includes plaster, concrete and most cements, which are calcium based, or baking soda of course.

 

Then the question of whether or not I want to the log to burn slower or faster is up for debate as well, since a faster burning log might give off more color volume but last shorter, so really the only solution is to run some test myself. I'll check back with some results once I do.

 

At the moment, I'm having trouble sourcing copper chloride. Firefox is out. They have copper oxychloride, but that's not ideal as I've read that it contains less chlorine on the one hand, and on the other hand the oxygen content actually inhibits to a degree the formation of copper monochloride species in the flames that contributes the blue color. Whether this remains true at the burning temps of a campfire, I don't know..

 

Any body have any suggestions for a source for copper chloride? Thanks for your feedback so far, everyone.



#7 Mumbles

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:17 PM

Depending on how much you need, you could get it from The Science Company.

 

https://www.sciencec...?s=Name ASC&p=3

 

It's not overly cheap, but I'm unaware of another good source now that skylighter seems to be out of the game.  You can get it through Amazon from the same place as well if that's more to your liking.


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#8 billysundays

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

Well this is funny, seeing as I have never required expensive "lab" grades of materials, Science Company represents only frustration for me, because its what pops up in a google search usually when no one else is carrying what your looking for, therefore you have inadvertently crushed my hopes of buying copper chloride any time soon by suggesting them. I had no idea the situation with copper chloride was so dire, lol!



#9 Mumbles

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:44 PM

IF you need it cheap, your best bet is probably buying copper oxide or copper carbonate and dissolving it in hydrochloric acid.  You can get HCl at the hardware store as muriatic acid for probably $3-5 a gallon (which is more than you're going to need).  Copper oxide and carbonate probably run $8-12.  You'll get more mass of product out than you put in theoretically.  


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#10 billysundays

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:58 PM

Well not long ago, I had the same thought, after I read this blog post on how easy it is to convert strontium carbonate to chloride with muriatic acid, I figured the same easy process would work for copper carbonate to the chloride salt. But something else I read warded me off to that idea, don't remember what it was, seemed to imply that it wouldn't work, but I might have understood it wrong.

 

So yes, thanks again Mumbles! Please, let me know or point me to the details of how to do the conversion if you can. I would go with converting copper oxide, since its 80% copper (the carbonate salt is 58%) and cheaper than the carbonate, so that would be the best value.

 

This idea does raise more questions though. Couldn't pure copper, like copper wire, be converted to chloride form using muriatic acid just as simply? Also, if copper oxide can be converted to chloride just the same as the carbonate salt, than how is copper oxychloride created?



#11 Mumbles

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 05:24 PM

Metallic copper does actually not react with mineral acids like HCl.  You need to use an oxidizing acid like nitric acid.  

 

Copper oxychloride is prepared by bubbling air through a solution of copper chloride, or by bubbling air through a mixture of copper and hydrochloric acid and often some other chloride electrolytes.  There's another method that involves adding controlled amounts of base to copper chloride.  This reaction is a little more art than science.  


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#12 billysundays

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:48 PM

So if copper chloride, upon a sustained exposure to oxygen, results in the oxychloride salt, than is it likely that copper oxide, when exposed to muriatic acid, result in the oxychloride salt as well?

 

Either way, can you point me to the "recipe", so to speak, on converting copper carbonate/oxide to chloride? I know with strontium carbonate, one uses an equal weight of muriatic acid assuming its 33% hydrochloric acid. Is the same true with copper carbonate or oxide? I assume it isn't.






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