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Old 12-18-2008, 09:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Methanol in gasoline

... or maybe it should be labeled, "Why we don't use methanol in gasoline anymore"...

There is another thread on this site, Ethanol in Gasoline, where I touched upon how methanol should be used in gasoline because it doesn't form an azeotrope with water, thus it doesn't bring water into the gas tank. There is one HUGE reason why gasoline manufactures stopped putting methanol in gas. Aluminum is that reason.

You see, aluminum forms an oxide on it's surface which prevents further oxidation. It protects the rest of itself by having this outside "coating" of oxidation. If one uses methanol in the presence of this oxide, it is eaten away and the bare metal is exposed, oxidizing again to protect itself. If this cycle is repeated enough times, the metal is completely eaten away. There is a way to combat this, but it is expensive and I doubt that very many manufactures would agree to change.

Iron. Iron sleeves, heads, and valves would allow the methanol to pass by without molesting the aluminum in the normal way. But iron is heavy, it also has a different thermal expansion than aluminum, making it extremely difficult to use the two in an engine without having the connection weaken over time.

I am not sure about titanium. I am pretty sure that it doesn't react with methanol in the way aluminum does, but titanium is brittle, and expensive as hell. An alloy containing titanium and steel perhaps?

If we were able to make an engine able to burn methylated gasoline, without the worry of additional wear, we would have a solution to using corn (food) as a source of diluting gas, and be able to rid ourselves of wood waste.

Anyone with any engine building experience in this arena?

Wikipedia Quote:
"When produced from wood or other organic materials, the resulting organic methanol (bioalcohol) has been suggested as renewable alternative to petroleum-based hydrocarbons. Low levels of methanol can be used in existing vehicles, with the use of proper co-solvents and corrosion inhibitors. The European Fuel Quality Directive allows up to 3% methanol with an equal amount of co-solvent to be blending in gasoline sold in Europe. Today, China uses more than one billion gallons of methanol per year as a transportation fuel in both low level blends used in existing vehicles, and as high level blends in vehicles designed to accommodate the use of methanol fuels."

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Old 12-18-2008, 12:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In for the reply's.

I do know that racers who do use methanol have to use straight gas to flush out the fuel system and can't let it sit in there tanks.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That is interesting, I didn't know that methanol reacted with aluminum. I'm guessing aluminum corrosion would also be a factor with the old woodgas engines of world war II: Wood gas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny View Post
I am not sure about titanium. I am pretty sure that it doesn't react with methanol in the way aluminum does, but titanium is brittle, and expensive as hell. An alloy containing titanium and steel perhaps?
Quote, ASM Handbook:
"Unlike other engineering metals, titanium and zirconium alloys are highly susceptible to SCC (Stress-Corrosion Cracking) in anhydrous or near anhydrous methanol liquid and vapor."

Guess that shoots that option down. Now to find something else...

Okay... NEXT! *Ushers in Rearden Metal...*
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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All I have to say is about the "wood waste"

I think, personally, before we started cutting down trees to make the stuff, we should have looked into waste from wood operations currently being performed. Just my $0.02.
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
All I have to say is about the "wood waste"

I think, personally, before we started cutting down trees to make the stuff, we should have looked into waste from wood operations currently being performed. Just my $0.02.
I am talking about things like paper pulp waste, like at my work. We make paper, some of it is glass based, however a large quantity is cellulose based. Quite a bit of the paper that doesn't meet spec is used as "broke", or recycled into the system again.The paper that isn't able to be put back into the system is disposed of by incineration at a plant.

Other sources of cellulose include the trees that they ground up near my home during the apocalypse that happened last Friday (Ice Storm). I have never seen, nor have my parents who have lived here almost their entire lives, the amount of downed trees in the area. They are still working on it and, some areas of NH are going to be without power until 2009.
I hope I clarified my previous statement of "Wood Waste".
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Old 12-19-2008, 12:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's more clear, but I still maintain my point.. only replace "started" with "start" b/c I don't think we actually have started yet.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Funny
Iron. Iron sleeves, heads, and valves would allow the methanol to pass by without molesting the aluminum in the normal way. But iron is heavy, it also has a different thermal expansion than aluminum, making it extremely difficult to use the two in an engine without having the connection weaken over time.

I am not sure about titanium. I am pretty sure that it doesn't react with methanol in the way aluminum does, but titanium is brittle, and expensive as hell. An alloy containing titanium and steel perhaps?

If we were able to make an engine able to burn methylated gasoline, without the worry of additional wear, we would have a solution to using corn (food) as a source of diluting gas, and be able to rid ourselves of wood waste.

Anyone with any engine building experience in this arena?
Funny; there are problems with methanol as far as the aluminium. In Indy cars, Sprint Cars & Midget dirt racers which we use methanol as our fuel, 100%; The motors are tore down only after a few nights racing in the dirt cars and after every race for the IRL cars. The interior of all the fuel components are all anodized to cut down on the reaction. Years ago in the 70's when I started in racing in sprint cars we had to wash out the main fuel metering valve and the main pump, usually with diesel fuel or gas. The IRL mandated Ethanol starting last year so of coarse the power went down and the IRL let the engine size go up a little. Methanol has more energy than Ethanol, and yes you can feel it and see it on the dyno. Just has a little more zip! We all use aluminium heads and that hasn't been a problem as well as intakes either. But most all these motors now use direct port injection there isn't too much fuel in the manifolds and ports. That will now change pretty soon as Stand-Off injection is starting to come over to this side of the pond, IRL cars already. Neat stuff to watch!
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just a reminder, this is to add anhydrous methanol to the gasoline, up to 5%. The anhydrous is completely without water.

I am looking for a fairly light-weight, engine load withstanding metal that can withstand anhydrous methanol as well. Therefore no aluminum or titanium alloys, because their oxides cannot withstand anhydrous methanol. Steel is looking better and better...
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Funny; what I'm saying is you already have results of engines that have been running on the stuff since the early 60's. What are you trying to power? A model airplane or a car?

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