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05-05-2015 03:41 PM  6 years ago
rexxigpilot

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rexxig2@comcast.net

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Felino, you've had a lot of good input from others since your original post, but have not added any yourself. A question came up about which particular type of alcohol are you referring to. I suspect you meant ethanol, since most of us know that model engine fuel contains methanol.

If so, the best answer to your question was provided by Jeremy. Even if you add nitromethane to ethanol to increase the reaction or burning of the fuel to increase power, the glow plug doesn't stay lit very well.

The platinum coating on the Nichrome wire used in a glow plug acts as a catalyst to accelerate the chemical reaction between methanol and oxygen. This and the wire's low mass are why it glows so brightly. The intense heat from the accelerated chemical reaction due to platinum as a catalyst and low mass combine to generate a high temperature, which gives off radiant energy of infrared wavelength (and a visible glow).

The chemical reaction between ethanol and oxygen using platinum as a catalyst doesn't have quite the same intense reaction. Therefore the glow is not as consistent/intense. Going with a finer wire diameter (lower mass) causes breakage of the glow plug. Using a spark plug ignition system adds complexity and weight.

So for now the best fuel for a glow engine is a combination of methanol with some nitromethane to increase power and make carb adjustment easier.
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05-05-2015 08:40 PM  6 years ago
Kevin Dalrymple

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Indianapolis

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Nice write up Rexxigpilot. I am sure this will help out the OPs answer.
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05-05-2015 11:04 PM  6 years ago
Aaron29

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USA

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The fuel we use is already 50%+ methanol (methyl alcohol). "Nitro" which is short for nitromethane, is just methyl alcohol fuel that has some nitromethane in it to boost combustion oxidation and increase power. We see 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30% nitro. That's the amount of nitromethane. Then there's the oil.

From a fuel perspective, once you remove the oil package, there's a good a 2-1 ratio of methyl alcohol to nitromethane even in the whopping "30% Nitro" fuels.

For the lesser blends, like 10%, that ratio is much higher. Like 6 to 1.

So basically, it already IS alcohol.
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05-06-2015 01:45 AM  6 years ago
EEngineer

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TX

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I believe FAI fuel has 0% nitro...because in most countries nitro is unavailable. At least it used to be that way.
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05-06-2015 02:56 AM  6 years ago
turboomni

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East of the Equator

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Yes it used to be 0%. I remember guys years ago trying to use it with USA spec high nitro engines and had to remove head shims to raise the CR for it to work.Setup is everything, All my heli's can fly far better than I can pilot them
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05-06-2015 07:02 AM  6 years ago
Felino

rrApprentice

Mexico city

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Actually I forgot to talk about the typical 96 degree alcohol that you can get from a drug store. (or any super market)

Regadrless of the 96 degree alcohol, then it is not so easy to use other type of alcohol fuels because the glow filament doesen't stay as lit as it should, right??

If the glow plug filament doesn't stay as lit as it should then tuning would be a nightmare besides other throttle issues.

I remeber YS produced some engines with spark ignition that mey be able to use other type of alcohol fuels.

The problem, of course, is that a spark ignition adds weight, cost
and power consumption. (ignition battery)

Funny that the spark ignition YS engines never became so popular.
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05-06-2015 08:53 AM  6 years ago
EEngineer

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TX

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from a drug store
Isopropyl alcohol...from a drugstore...doesn't have the "BTUs" that methonal has...
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05-06-2015 04:43 PM  6 years ago
Aaron29

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USA

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How bout some Ethyl Alcohol? Run diz bich on moonshine?
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05-07-2015 12:52 AM  6 years ago
EEngineer

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TX

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I can just see it.

A group of moonshiners get snagged.

We wuz jus making up a batch of model airplane fuel....honest...
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