View Full Version : Stove Wick Test

2006-09-01, 20:33
Had to do a test to satisfy my curiosity about the ability of 3 different materials that have been said to be used as wick materials.

Did this test today to clarify in my mind the capillary action of the three materials. Material that does'nt get consumed when used as a wick. Steel wool will burn when lit and enough oxygen supplied, but I included it for my benefit to see if it has any cappilary/wicking ability.

1. Fiberglass cloth, used for automotive repair.

2. Pink, home insulation, type used in the Ion and Cat stoves

3. 0000 (very fine) steel wool

The photo shows the fiberglass cloth wick on the left, the pink stuff in the middle and the steel wool on the right.

I first filled the aluminum containers with test material to equal volume/height.

I then removed the material and added 20ml of denatured alcohol to the containers. Volume wise it was about half filled.

I then returned the material to the containers pushing it into the fuel in order to observe the ability to wick it up.

After waiting one min. I tried to light the three materials. The fiberglass cloth lit but not the others. I then snuffed out the one that lit.

After waiting 5 min. I tried it again, same results. I did this three times, the pink insulation and the steel wool did not have the ability to wick up the fuel.

In conclusion I speculate that the pink insulation acts as a buffer/splash preventer in the stoves that use it. Not as a wicking material. When fuel is poured into the burners it provides fuel on the surface which readilly burns and acts as a preheat to the aluminum containers that they are in. The burners are shallow and vapors are close to the surface. They would ignite without the aide of the insulation.

These are my findings in todays test.

Those of you that are interested, conduct this test for youselves and then report back to verify my conclusion and results.

These photos show the things that I have mentioned.




"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained"

john pickett
2006-09-02, 10:44
Why did you use material that pokes so high out of the container? I would try the pink fiberglass again with the material flush with the top.(same with the others, of course)
John Pickett :captain:

2006-09-03, 20:57
John Pickett

Two inch wide fiberglass is what I use on one of my stoves and I am familiar with it's ability to wick up the fuel in stove building. So two inch high material was my base height.

As you suggested I reduced the height to 1/8 inch above(not level) with rim of container.

The results were the same. I expected that there would be some vapors comining off and that they would ignite and burn off and flame would go out. I was wrong, no ignition.

After 10 min. I tipped the containers containing the pink and the steel wool on their sides to see if fuel would drip out. None came out but on the side of the container that had steel wool was in I could feel it to become cool as if the alcohol was did touch that surface for a moment but it did'nt leak out.

I uprighted the containers and tried to light them. The steel wool one ignited in an area of about 3/8 of an inch where I indicated where fuel may have tried to come out. The pink insulation did not ignite.

The steel wool container very slowly spread its flame across the entire surface. The flame height did not exceed 2 1/2 to 3 inches. I speculate that the steel wool heated up and started to evaporate the fuel that was in the container.

2006-09-27, 21:28
Looking for some feedback here concerning the fiberglass material used in the Ion Stove. What is the purpose of it?

This information from Sgt. Rock please!!!!!!!!

SGT Rock
2006-09-28, 16:12
Looking for some feedback here concerning the fiberglass material used in the Ion Stove. What is the purpose of it?

This information from Sgt. Rock please!!!!!!!!

The fiberglass is something I added for cold weather use. What I found is that in colder weather the alcohol takes a VERY long time to start vaporizing right - every alcohol stove user knows this is an issue, but with the slow burning Ion it is even bigger an issue. So based on past experience with using fiberglass I added it to help wick fuel (it doesn't do this much) and to help speed up the vaporization as the fiberglass helps transfer some heat around the fuel.

2006-09-28, 19:05
Sgt. Rock, I had to ask because I thought it might have been to reduce the radical burn rate that occurs in small, thin walled, alluminum containers such as the wedding tins and cat food cans.

I have been reading the thread started by "Scout"
http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1213 that tells about the Ion stove that was giving him a hard time getting a boil. In there he says he burned 1 oz. in 9 min.not using the insulation.(Radical burn is what I call it) he then made another test and put the pink stuff(home insulation) in and extended the burn time to 22+ min.

In the same thread "Hog On Ice" said to help the stove get started a match was left in the center hole to help it get to goin.http://hikinghq.net/forum/showpost.php?p=8039&postcount=36 The match acting as a wick, bringing the fuel up and over the rim of the tin. The match then being consumed as the fuel burned. My experience has shown that high humidity and low barometric pressure has a direct negative affect on boil times. Somewhere in my posts I have mentioned that.

I'm making a little suggestion here that a piece of fiberglass cloth be used in conjunction with the pink stuff to help it get to goin in the cooler weather. The fiberglass cloth would extend up and beyond the rim of the tin by a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. The amount of fiberglass cloth to be determined by you after experimenting with it.

I know you are busy!!!!! And I appreciate your efforts in helping us out in these trying times. I can safely say that we all love you and your family. People that love to be out and about in our natural surroundings are a special people, we are a family, we really appreciate the knowledge and expertice that you share with us.

SGT Rock
2006-09-29, 13:50
No, I haven't noticed it slowing down the burn - speeding it up is more like it in this application.

I will look at the fiberglass cloth when I get home. That may be something to start adding.

Well as to checking this site - the people here act like adults most all of the time. I end up spending more time on WB which has a higher post count and more assholes on it. Sometimes one or two of them can consume a lot of a day.

2006-09-29, 20:28
I made a few double wall pop can stoves for other people, that were quickly built for limited use, and were basically for showing them how to build their own.
I was lacking in fiberglass for the interior of the walls (I add it to speed heating and to hold the alcohol and keep it from spilling (as badly) in an accident).
Anyway, I used cotton instead, worked like a charm.

I went home and built one for myself using cotton again. I used it off and on all summer and have no complaints.

--Flame normally doesn't touch the cotton at all, it's just a wick and holder.

2006-09-29, 20:59
Swiss army burner army has a wick in it i got 4 some are svea and trangia one would mot burn blue more yellow even with a good pre heat so i open it to see whats wrong it had a wick cant see why so its back in a cat food can just fits j p weld it still burns yellow i guess live with ithttp://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/th_210noname.jpg (http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/210noname.jpg)

2006-09-30, 01:02
O K here some stoves all fired up left to right Jeffy heet a regaler trangia and the swedish military the last one is the one i cut open and put back in a cat food tin it still works boy i need a tripod like tomorrow

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/th_alcohol5.jpg (http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/alcohol5.jpg)

2006-09-30, 10:21
Oops, I hope you have a really big fire extinquisher handy! :biggrin:

2006-09-30, 10:37
yep two of them one in a wide mouth bottle full of baking soda and a reg. fire extinquisher

2006-09-30, 15:08
Great photo Oops, just in time!!!!!!

Recently I was thinking of searching out photos of stoves showing their flame paterns just like what you show in yours Oops.

Everyone take notice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

About 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the holes of the stoves the littles flames merge into one big a_ _ flame.

In all the fiberglass stoves that I have shown in a multitude of photos, all start out with one big a _ _ flame. Why not bypass the little holes and little flames and build a simple one big a_ _ flame stove?

These wick style stoves with the big a _ _ flames don"t have the cold weather problems that are associated with Pop can stoves, Ion type stoves and all the others that need primer pans and primer wicks and primer matches and all the other things that are needed to get them to a goin.

This thread shows the wicking abilities of the pink insulation. ZIP, nothing. If anything, its like putting a lid over your fuel.

Have you ever seen the long disertations makers go through to tell you how to make their stoves?????? All the expensive tools needed, all the dimensions, holes spaced evenly,templates needed , band-aides for the cuts that you will get for sure. All the BS about how their stoves are efficient more so than the other guys. They tell you how critical it is to have the perfect distance from stove to pot, to have a reflector under your stove so you dont lose gross amounts of precious heat that determins wether your water boils or does not.
By-pass all this crap and make a simple wick style stove.

Not long ago I saw on a forum an individual said he had problems getting his super cat stove to work. Did he read the directions and understand them? That individual went on to become a moderator on a backpacking site. The more complicated the instructions the more frustrated you'll become. Build a simple wick stove, make life easy, hike more!!!!!!!!

All these stove guys have got you by the shorts with their technical jargon. Barnum and Bailey, they new their stuff.

Oops and I need a tripod like today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Again!!!!! take a look at the flames on Oops's burners, the little ones merge into one big a _ _ flame :biggrin:

2006-09-30, 16:12
yep don't forget there is no pot on it with pot stand the middle flame dies down then the out side spread out and do there job

2006-10-01, 00:44
ok got my tripod one leg type these stoves are made out of a small shoe Polish can cut out top put fiber insulation then a window screen then put one top the first one left is a altoids made as a pot stand the legs plug in and it all fist in the can the other is a isbit one i made v stand for the burner now the first picture they just getting started on a 1/2 it will burn 9 to 10 min. and get 18 oz. water to boil in 8 min the second picture full flame power

click picture for bigger
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/th_twostoves1.jpg (http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/twostoves1.jpg)

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/th_twostoves2.jpg (http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d52/oops62/twostoves2.jpg)

2006-10-01, 16:41
Oops, the one with the pink stuff and screen on top won't even light below 40 degrees.

The pink stuff aint worth a toot, tests prove it.

Can't wait to make an ion type, pure fiberglass cloth will take it to new dimensions. Actually I made a mini version using the tea candle tins. Now that one is the worlds smallest, lightest stove!!!!!!! :biggrin: