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Ethanol Ate My WeedEater

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: On-going design refreshes
Rob Spiegel   9/24/2012 7:23:48 PM
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I don't know about 200 years, Island_Al. We had slavery and the congressmen brought guns to Congress. You are right, though, about politicians sensitivity to lobbying. 

William K.
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Platinum
Re: On-going design refreshes
William K.   9/24/2012 7:50:31 PM
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Rob,

THings are better than a few years back, and there are fewer bank-owned houses for sale now, BUT there are still a whole lot of industrial buildings for sale or lease, and quite a few stores as well. So whatever recovery is in progress we are not seeing a lot of it. 

On the other side, gasoline prices in this corner of Michigan are quite uniform and 10 to 30 cents per gallon higher than any other area east of the MIssissippi river. But nobody has been able to prove that all of the prices tracking like links in a timing belt is not just a random ocurrence. That is quite amazing to me.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: On-going design refreshes
Rob Spiegel   9/24/2012 9:21:52 PM
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I glad to hear things are coming back, William. The auto industry seems to be in very good recovery mode, but a lot of the auto industry is no longer in the Detroit area. I understand there are more auto-related jobs in Ohio than in Michigan.

jmiller
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Re: On-going design refreshes
jmiller   9/24/2012 11:13:43 PM
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I wouldn't put a gas/oil mix in a small engine that doesn't need it.  Or vice versa so as a rule of thumb I only use ethonal in products that say it's okay to use them.

jmiller
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Re: Mine too!
jmiller   9/24/2012 11:17:20 PM
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You forgot to mention to subsidize the corn price to increase the ingredients going into the ethanol.

jmiller
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Re: Used alcohol for years in karting
jmiller   9/24/2012 11:20:17 PM
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Am I missing something because when I don't wan to buy the ethanol blend I just buy the regular stuff.  Are there places where you have no choice but to buy ethanol?

jmiller
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Platinum
Re: material evolution
jmiller   9/24/2012 11:36:36 PM
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I'd love to see some data on the amount of corn used for ethanol production compared to the amount shipped overseas.  The other part of this that I don't know if people understand is the government actually pays part of the corn price.  As well as a subsidy to rotate crops and plant beans every other year.  That's right the government actually pays people not to grow corn.  Not to mention the set aside acres program which actually pays farmers not to grow any crops.  I'm thinking ethanol is not as big of a deal as the other government meddling.

Dave Palmer
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Re: Used alcohol for years in karting
Dave Palmer   9/25/2012 12:39:03 AM
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@jmiller: In most of the midwest, regular gasoline is 10% ethanol. In Minnesota, E10 is required by law. Most other states don't require it (although in some urban areas 3-6% ethanol is required in the winter months as an oxygenate to reduce smog). However, most states allow up to 10% ethanol, and since gasoline blenders get a renewable energy tax credit based on the amount of ethanol they use, most blenders go right up to the maximum. I could be wrong, but I think having a choice between ethanol-containing gasoline and non-ethanol-containing gasoline is the exception, rather than the rule, in the U.S.

William K.
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Platinum
ethanol and damaged engines
William K.   9/25/2012 10:47:33 AM
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What has been ignored by all parties is the "DryGas" effect, where adding ethanol to gasoline allows water to be disolved and run through the fuel system without the engine ceasing to operate. That used to be a problem when water would get into the fuel somehow.

The problem now is that sellers can add water to the gas and the cars will still run and only have a moderate loss of power. Of course, there is also a "moderate" drop in miles per gallon as well. The reason that this is a problem is that I don't want to be paying $4 per gallon for water, especially in my gas tank! Besides that, the added water will speed up the corrosion a bit on metals such as aluminum.

But nobody seems to be at all concerned about this problem, at least around this part of the state. 

It seems like checking the conductivity of the mix ought to be a way to evaluate the proportion of water added, but I have not verified this.

Has anybody else experimented with water-in-fuel monitoring?

Dave Palmer
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Re: ethanol and damaged engines
Dave Palmer   9/25/2012 10:06:39 PM
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@William K.: I agree that you should (in principle) be able to measure the water content of a gasoline-ethanol mixture by conductivity, but I haven't been able to find any references on the Internet to anyone actually doing this.  The overall conductivity may be too low to measure reliably.

Another way (in principle) would be by measuring the density, except that the density of gasoline itself can vary by too much to make this measurement meaningful.

You could also add water until you get phase separation.  At room temperature, E10 will separate into two phases (gasoline and ethanol-water mixture) once the moisture content exceeds about 6% (edit: should be 0.5%, not 6%).  So if get phase separation when you add 5% water, you know that the gasoline already contained 1% water.

Or you could combine the two approaches, by adding a known amount of water to deliberately cause phase separation, then measuring the density of the ethanol-water phase only.

By the way, the amount of water needed to cause phase separation decreases as the temperature decreases.  We are just entering the time of year when phase separation often occurs in large storage tanks: the fuel absorbs water during the humid summer months, then undergoes phase separation in the fall as temperatures start to get cold.

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