Thank you for your water torch questions. We (Spirig) manufacture the
Spirflame[tm], a fully patented multicell hydrogen/oxygen generator.
For this reply, I am going to substitute the more common term booster
or booster tank for “bubbler” in my replies.
By direct E-mail, I will send you list of Orchid members and
others who have allowed us to mention their names.
Each person in the trade has their own way of doing things. And
we have often seen one customer doing exactly the same work using
different booster fluids. One will use acetone (cool soft flame) and
another will use Methanol (hot pointed flame). However, as a Swiss
firm I keep a lot of statistics on what customers are using and why.
There is no “correct fluid” in this area for gold. Platinum and
silver is different, more easily defined. The majority of our
customers (Approx. 70 percent in North America once nonjewelry
accounts are removed) use methanol as their booster fluid.
There are a few of these charts, some quite old, are not always
complete or accurate. A quick look at our web site will show that
Spirig is a large suppier of temperature measurement labels and
equipment. So we have considerable experiance in the area of precise
temperature measurement. To quickly cutand paste and for technical
accuracy in the fine points, I use the term
Spirflame[tm] gas" for hydrogen/oxygen.
Spirflame[tm] Gas = 3,300 degrees C or 5,972 degrees F.
Spirflame[tm] Gas and Methanol = 2,700 degrees C or 4,892 degrees F.
Spirflame[tm] Gas and Isopropanol = 2,500 degrees C or 4,532 degrees
Spirflame[tm] Gas and MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) = 1,700 degrees C or
3,092 degrees F.
Spirflame[tm] Gas and Acetone = 1,500 degrees C or 2,732 degrees F.
We are also involved in a number of applications where booster
fluids are mixed in specific percentages to tailor a flame to a
customers specific need. A few of these are in the jewelry trade.
- Yes, you have it, although there are some interesting (important)
A) A “single tank” booster system is often not large enough to run
very long and still protect, and it is not as reliable as it should
be. It also will not compensate for gas expansion and contraction
which is needed to keep the booster fluid from sucking into the
generator and causing harm. It also greatly depends upon maintenance
for flashback prevention and success, not a good thing. You can
obtain double boosters which solve a number of safety and operating
problems (in our case even a Quad Booster with autofill for
continuous nonstop operation of multiple benches).
B) Also to control the flame configuration. As you go from one
booster fluid to a cooler one, the flame produced will also get
wider. The area of protection and coverage will improve. Boosters
also try to trap moisture. Water torches (single cell) often used in
the jewelry industry produce a very moist gas. So an additional
function of the booster is to try and catch this caustic moisture in
the booster fluid. This caustic material has the gift of clogging
tips, valves and safety items. Our Spirflames[tm] produces a much
drier hydrogen/oxygen gas allowing cleaner, more stable, burning. It
is a common requirement for our flame temperature to have to maintain
a plus or minus one degree of temperature. There is none of the
common flame pulsing and fluctuation often seen in piped, bottled or
single cell systems. The longer a single cell system is running the
easier this is to notice.
C) Not just control the temperature but stabilize the flame
temperature and size. Also to keep the flame from going to an
oxidizing condition (dirty flame) from electrolyte residue.
A note. There are significant differences in single-cell and
multicell hydrogen/oxygen generators, water welders and what they can
do. Old and new technologies. Each has there own place and value. If
we can answer any additional questions or supply please
fee free to contact me directly at 800 499 9933 or my E-mail.
Gary W. Miller
Sr. Technical Advisor