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Questions. Building Drum Heater  RSS feed

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Hello everybody.

I'm building a double drum heater with the vogalzang kit. I'm using 4 barrels instead of two. The bottom 55 gallon drum will have a 35 gallon drum inside of it and serve as the firebox. I want it to burn cleanly so in order to raise the temp in the firebox, I'm going to surround the inner 35 firebox drum with vermiculite or perlite within the 55. What is the best way to do this? I have heard mix the thermorock in with cement, loose fill it, or something I'm really curious about, use waterglass with the perlite as a bonding agent. Anybody out there built a drum heater? I would appreciate your groovy input. I can take picture of what I'm doing.

edit add: Am I in the right place/area?
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
89
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If you blend your vermiculite with cement and fill a 20 gallons space, it will weigh well over 300 pounds.  Add in the drum plus firewood and those vogelzang legs might not bear the weight.  Consider additional support.  Bear in mind that even thermal concrete will expand as it heats.  More heat, more expansion, and your objective is higher heat.  This expansion is in all directions, inward, outward, and axial.

To account for thermal expansion, consider packing the vermiculite or perlite without a cement/mortar/bonding agent.  This would allow the material to compress, absorbing the expansion rather than deforming both of the drums.

The Vogelzang drum kit is about as simple as can be.  Bear in mind that the flames will eventually corrode the drums, particularly the bottom (coals) and top (flame) of the combustion drum, and the flue pipe.  If the drum is oxygen poor (slow burn), the steel in the drum would produce more magnetite.  This will fall apart in flakes, but can hold itself up to some degree.  If oxygen rich (fast fire), the steel in the drum would produce more iron oxide (rust).  The rust is a much faster form of corrosion.  The combustion chamber can be lined with fire brick to protect the drum.  Standing the drum on end will make it easy to install the brick.  They gotta be tight.  You can mortar these in place.  Another option is a castable mortar.  This can be packed by hand to line the drum.

This stuff would work, 50# would line that drum. 
Rules:
-If you can make a mud pie, you can use this stuff. 
-Use as little water as possible
-It has to be dry/dryer/driest before your first burn, you can dry it with a couple of light bulbs left on for a few days
-When you start packing it in, you cant stop until you are done.
-you WILL wear a N95 dust mask while using this stuff
-After repeated cycles of heating and cooling, this stuff will present thermal fracturing-cracks.  As long as the pieces are snug together against the shell, they will support themselves.
 
                        
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Thanks for the helpful answer.

I have a welder so making the stand support the weight shouldn't be a problem. I wanted to use the concrete so it would have somewhat of a mass for a heat bank, but I didn't think expansion would be a problem big enough to cause problems? If that is the case, I will just loose fill with vermiculite.

Will the vermiculite be any kind of a heat bank? I'm thinking no but am still learning.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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vermiculite has mass, it will hold a little heat. 

firebrick or castable masonry will sirely hold the heat for an extended period.
You could always add some brick loosely outside the bun drum, inside the other drums, or outside of the stove.
 
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