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A Super-Material You Can Make In Your Kitchen (Starlite?)

 
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I wonder if this could be used as a liner for the riser in a rocket mass heater.

No information yet on whether this material erodes over time. I imagine it does. Interesting nonetheless.

 
rocket scientist
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Mart ;     That was fascinating !   Not sure if it could be useful with rockets but really cool none the less !   Thanks for sharing
 
pollinator
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Test it and let us know.    I was thinking a riser would make an interesting experiment with this say put this on the outside of standard bricks.
 
pioneer
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Ah, Matt beat me to the post. I was wondering the same thing when I watched the video this morning before work.
If nothing else it would reduce wear on the feeder bricks, probably at the expense of aesthetics.
 
gardener
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Wow,open air pyrolysis!
I can see this as a cast riser,just  flour water and baking soda.
The carbon might be too fragile anywhere else in the system.
Reminds me of the white bread carbon material experiments.
 
Matt Coston
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So, I just watched a livestream by Cody'sLab.

He briefly mentioned this NightHawkInLight video and commented that it really is not that impressive because the material is definitely an "ablative" (i.e. it erodes with use), and ablative heat shields are actually not that difficult to make.
 
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The question is what is the lifetime of this material given various conditions.

This would be a fascinating use case for building glass or acrylic (aquarium) masses to shield them in order to make a more compact arrangement. This really needs some experimentation and the cost (even if it has to be replaced eventually) is very attractive.
 
steward
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Boric acid is well known as an inorganic compound that complexes to carbohydrates and keeps them from burning, they just char.  When you treat wood with it it looks much the same...the wood chars with a torch and doesn't burn.  It will glow red and then cool "instantly" when you turn off the torch.  May be worth blending some boric acid into the mix or else perhaps use boric acid treated wood?  Boric acid treated wood is commercially available as a preserved wood since it resists insects and fungi.  

Alternatively it might be interesting to add a silane or colloidal silica so as to create a glass protectant during the charring phase.  That could also lead to a more resistant surface as well.

Do you think the PVA glue is used to better capture the CO2 produced so that it blows the PVA polymer into a foam?  I would think if the corn starch was fully dissolved that it could do the same so I'm guessing the PVA is there more just for making it putty like.

Fun stuff!  Thanks for sharing!
 
Greg Martin
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As I keep thinking about this I'm thinking we could make a paint that works like this.  Or better yet, a primer that you can then just paint over with normal paint.  It's silly that houses are not flame resistant.  Granted, the pyrolysis gases will kill you, but if the whole thing doesn't get burning then there won't be a lot of pyrolysis gases.  Chemistry like this is nice because it will still break down in the environment.  (I want to check on the PVA part really saying that, but it could be switched out with something that definitely will if not).
 
Gerald Smith
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Greg Martin wrote:As I keep thinking about this I'm thinking we could make a paint that works like this.  Or better yet, a primer that you can then just paint over with normal paint.  It's silly that houses are not flame resistant.  Granted, the pyrolysis gases will kill you, but if the whole thing doesn't get burning then there won't be a lot of pyrolysis gases.  Chemistry like this is nice because it will still break down in the environment.  (I want to check on the PVA part really saying that, but it could be switched out with something that definitely will if not).



I think you definitely have some solid thoughts here. We need to pursue these ideas...
 
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This Starlite has a very interesting history. All the big boys, NASA, Brit MOD, Boeing, ... looked at it.

Mystery of the 'blast-proof' material - BBC REEL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzIjkvRI7To

How does Starlite work? - BBC REEL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EjbxTCJGJ0

Other videos will pop up.
 
Terry Byrne
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Greg Martin wrote:As I keep thinking about this I'm thinking we could make a paint that works like this. .



The inventor/discoverer of Starlite had a test done on a BBC science show where the material was painted on an egg, which then had a blow torch put to it for 5 minutes. The reporter shut off the torch, took the egg and turned it over putting the charred side into his hand, saying it was just warm. He then cracked the egg and it was runny as a regular egg. That is in one of the videos I posted prior to this one.
 
Chris Kay
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the thread will never be over...

Super-Material Starlite Crucible Vs. Thermite


because; we are:-
 
pollinator
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Two hours burning in a 8” j-tube at half-to-full blast, a piece of starlite-covered cardboard at the bottom of the riser. Some of the cardboard isn’t even burned. (I made only a half effort to seal the starlite over the cardboard). The starlite isn’t even charred.

IMG_1214.jpeg
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Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Correction—none of the cardboard burned!  On closer inspection I just had to peel it off to see it was only covered with ash (from a previous burn)!  The peeled part reveals yellow starlite.

Please God let this not cause cancer.  
IMG_1215.jpeg
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pollinator
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Interesting stuff, there are dozens of videos and short term test but, I have never seen it put to use in a purposeful way relating to rocket stoves.
If it was possible to mold the stuff around a tube and make a riser then, test it for say 40 hours running, then we would know if it has a genuine use for us?
Perhaps as an insulated outer layer but we already have that available in many forms, what we need is an insulating fire face material that is safe to use.
 
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Fox James wrote:Interesting stuff, there are dozens of videos and short term test but, I have never seen it put to use in a purposeful way relating to rocket stoves.
If it was possible to mold the stuff around a tube and make a riser then, test it for say 40 hours running, then we would know if it has a genuine use for us?
Perhaps as an insulated outer layer but we already have that available in many forms, what we need is an insulating fire face material that is safe to use.



I agree with Fox James- The problem with these test, especially this one (videos) is that they seem to be a one and done test.  I have yet to see, the same material, go into test two, three and the next 50 times.  Is there a reason?

I do not have the space or time for such a test, but it seems simple enough, for those of you that have stoves you can tear apart easily to check what happens after sustained burns.  It would be fantastic to find the only reason that it is not pushed forward is the fact that there would be NO FINACIAL gain for someone, if everyone could easily make it.

But if we find, that the fragile carbon that is formed, is just that, super fragile, at least we will have the answer.  it would seem the easiest test would be as Fox James suggested,  do a riser, and let it burn, over and over  (it would be a summer project for me, but maybe someone could do?)

I try to build for a lifetime of service, with proven methods, but always interested in what next things "will be proven"  good or bad.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Yes, I. think the main reason it hasn't been tested for longterm burn applications is that it was of interest for shor-term uses (Boeing is the exception, but NASA just wanted a short-term shield that could be "toast" by the time you're done reentering atmosphere and even let a bit of heat through as long as it's not life-threatening.  Relatively few people are experimenting with rocket mass heaters, and it is a very specific test that needs to be run.

I am not committing to running it for 40 hours straight but I'll put it back in the burn chamber at the base of the riser and see how it does after a few more burns.

Also, if anyone thinks of a good way to attach it to the side of the riser I have (which is firebrick) so it won't fall down AND can be shielding a piece of cardboard in there then I can move the test up to the hottest part of things, the riser.  (I'm not clear on whether it's the top of the riser that gets hottest over time or the middle, as with a candle flame, can anyone answer this?)
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Mart Hale did a test of a starlite formula chimney, but not the same formula as I used.  So there's some uncertainty when different tests are being done wiht different formulae too.

https://permies.com/t/101520/rocket-ovens/Starlite-chimney-testing#2225817

 
Squanch that. And squanch this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree And Updates
https://permies.com/t/170234/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Jamboree-Updates
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