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Soldering with propane in Saudi Arabia


#1

Hello everyone.
I’m involved teaching bench skills in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. There are problems with the propane gas set-up. The tips are getting very gunked up and after a short while ( 2-3 weeks ) no gas comes through at all. We clean the torch tips but the gunk is deep inside and unremovable ( no alcohol in SA ) …and we have to keep purchasing new ones.

We managed to visit a kind local Artisan. We saw he doesn’t use a regulator and says no-one else does either. The gas goes direct from tank to torch. After 17 years of being in the business he says all the other jewellers do the same and there have been NO problems.
From a UK point of view this is a Health and Safety ISSUE! and we are reluctant to try this unless we trust that it is safe.
As you can imagine it’s driving us crazy…I’m wondering whether the propane is under a different pressure in the tank than the UK ones?. There is no information written on the tank but it would explain why no regulators are required.
Anyone have thoughts on this?.

Thanks so much
Alison


#2

Hi Alison,
Before anyone can comment whether its safe to use propane without a regulator we HAVE to have the following.
1.
Go to see your local artisan and ask/find out
a, what size tanks he uses ie what Kgs propane they hold,
b. what torch they use
c. where do they get their gas and torches from?
2.
a.what size tanks you are using
b. what torches are you using
c. what type of regs your using 2 stage with 2 gauges or ones with no gauges at all
ize3.
There was a long thread recently here where folk had the same problem but it was with throw away propane as in 1/2kg size tanks, not proper size like 15kgs or larger.
Its the additive that comes over and condenses in the torch.

If it was me, Id return the gas to your supplier saying its unfit for purpose and demand a full refund and the costs of the replacement torches.
await your full reply.
Ive been using proper as in 47kg size propane cyls as we say here in Dorset for 50 yrs!! without any problems. With standard 2 stage acetylene regs and standard BOC oxy propane /acetylene or Calor propane and air torches. up to 3in dia!! these are for running an large melting furnace.

Technical
Ted
Dorset
UK.


#3

Dear Alison,

Are you from the USA?

I can tell you all about the different Propane options and set ups.

Safey is always the most important consideration.

Shoot me an email at:

trhawkinsonltd@gmail.com

Best regards,

Todd Hawkinson


#4

I used 1 1/2 -2 kilo propane tanks here in Israel for many years without a regulator. These tanks are usually used for picnics and camping. One relevant point (since you are also in the Middle East) that I relatively recently learned is that all the tanks standardly sold in Israel as ‘propane’ are actually a mixture of propane and butane!


#5

Hi Alison,
It is possible that the “local Artisan” does use a regulator, but that the regulator does not look like a typical regulator with a gauge on it. For example, I use an EZ torch with propane. The regulator on my torch setup is hard to identify as a regulator as it does not have a gauge on it. If you follow this link, you can see what the EZ torch regulator looks like.

You mentioned that maybe the propane pressure in Jeddah is lower than the UK. Unlike oxygen and other compressed gases, propane stored in a tank is actually liquid with a vapour space above it. As you use your torch, the propane liquid actually evaporates to supply propane to your torch. The pressure of propane is fixed by the temperature it is stored at. At 80 (27C), the pressure is 128 psig, at 90F (30C) 149 psig.

Also, many warmer countries tend to use Butane rather than propane. I lived in Malaysia for a year, and our gas was supplied by butane tanks. I was also recently in Morocco and they had no propane, only butane. As a point of comparison, the pressure of butane at 80F is 23 psig. This is substantially lower than propane at the same temperature. I am not sure that you could get away with no regulator, even at this pressure.

Also, @janetb mentions that in Israel they use a propane/butane mixture. Generally all of the propane available in the UK and Canada and the USA has butane in it and conversely all of the butane available in warmer countries has propane in it. This has to do with the process used to produce these gases. Making pure gas is possible but not practical (ie uneconomic) hence the gases sold all have some contamination from other gases.

(Note that I am a chemical engineer and used to design the equipment used to make hydrocarbon gasses, including propane and butane)

I don’t know why your torches are gunking up. I have been propane for many years and have never had this issue.

Milt
Calgary, Canada


#6

Are all of your torches used with the same kind of hose?

If so, maybe you should try a different type of hose.

Also, do you open the torch valve after you shut off the tank, to bleed the line?

~

Maybe soaking those tips in an ultrasonic would help to remove the gunk.


#7

Thank you for all your replies …I now remember the propane is not under pressure. My theory is now completely squashed!.

I too have used propane ( in the Uk ) and never had this issue…ever!.

I m now back in the UK and our ’ head teacher ’ is in contact with Sievert in the hopes they can shed some light on it.

We can try the ultrasonic for cleaning…but it would be good to figure out a way of not getting the gunk it in the first place

I ll update if I find any solutions. It is so strange…

Alison


#8

This is very interesting … thank you !.


#9

Thanks Mitt,
I so appreciate your time in replying.
I saw with mine own eyes …no regulator whatsoever !. I must admit I was amazed. And reticent about trying it out myself … as you can imagine.
However…The gas itself does seem a bit different to the uk… but not significantly. It has dollops of pretty hot oil that come out periodically.

The next term starts in July so I hope Sievert will have sorted us out by then!.


#10

Thanks for your your reply!.
I ll look for the thread on the throwaway tanks.
We re using Sievert torches with regulators and hoses all purchased in the uk…the 15 kgs tanks are from Saudi. There was an issue with the threading that was addressed with seemingly no issue …I can’t imagine that that may have caused the gunk…but then again …
In any event Sievert is on the case now and I will update accordingly …
Cheers and thanks again
Alison


#11

Maybe it’s the “dollops of hot oil that come out periodically” that is clogging your torch tips.

Perhaps the hot oil is also eroding the inside of the hose… possibly the source of your super-gunk.