Gasoline in the water or practical debunking of the myth of adding alcohol to the tank
Greetings to all readers of this blog. Entry anti-scientific, conducted for the purposes of practical experiment and does not claim to be true, proof of the author, just observations))). And so. It all started when the gas station poured about 3-4 liters of water in my tank. The tank was removed, flushed, dried and returned to its place. After a while, I paid attention to the fact that the engine was periodically running rough, idle was floating, even on a “suction”, worked intermittently. Inspection of the filters showed that there was water in the tank again! Where was it coming from? Did they pour it at the gas station again? I read comments, discussions of my colleagues on the driver’s cab and many other professional forums. There are a lot of comments and tips on this topic. Starting from the fact that yes, the water really gets together with the fuel at the filling station, condenses in the fuel lines and flows into the tank, in the presence of reverse and variable weather, i.e. frequently passing through zero ambient temperature. Some paid attention to the fact that this situation occurs more often with those car owners who do not fill up a full tank, but let’s say 5, 10 liters. Accumulating in the space free of fuel, moisture vapor condenses and settles at the bottom of the tank… at the same time, others said the same thing, but on a full tank. That as the fuel is consumed, through the pressure equalization ducts in the tank with the atmosphere, the very same moisture enters, especially in wet weather. Let’s assume that each of them is right in their own way. The fact is, there is water in the tank face! To what it leads I described above. Question. How to fight this phenomenon? Advice as always a lot and each in its own way effective. To choose a proven gas station, fill fuel through the filter (funnel with a fine mesh), pour into the canister stand and pour into a clean container, pour pure alcohol in the tank. They say it is an old-fashioned way and works 100%. Everybody knows that alcohol mixes well with water. There is information on the net (if you want you may look for it) that alcohol also mixes well with petrol. The principle of this method is that alcohol (pure) mixed with water to form a more or less flammable liquid and thus allows you to “kick out” the water from the tank. I am not strong in theory and chemistry, so I decided to check in practice the effectiveness of this method. In the kitchen, may my wife forgive me )))), I started mixing liquids in various combinations: 1. Ethanol 94-95% alcohol, density 0.7893 g/cm3, no spirit meter, we will take the word of the seller :), 2. Water, regular tap water density about 0.9982 g/cm3, 3. Gasoline, available at home only aviation grade B-100/130 density about 0.71 g/cm³) is usually used to remove all sorts of stains from clothing.
When trying to mix water and alcohol, as you know at the output everything is perfect, for a while the mixture was muddy, then settled down and became as clean as a teardrop. An attempt to mix gasoline and water for the sake of the experiment… ))) naturally gave nothing, there is no mixing. Two layers formed, water at the bottom and gasoline at the top. What is to be expected. We add alcohol to this “bordure”, imitating the state as in a tank, the alcohol slips through the gasoline, gets into the water and… mixes with water. Stirring with gasoline does not happen, and did not happen with any other combinations and exposure to stirring. About combustibility. Alcohol-water mixture burns only when water and alcohol are combined in a ratio of about 0.5 water to 1.2 alcohol. It turns out that something like 65-70% of the alcohol mixture. Below 65-70% it does not burn. So you have to pour about 1.5 liters of alcohol to 0.5 liters of water into the tank to make this mixture burn at least somehow. Based on the findings I conclude: pouring alcohol in the tank to remove water is pointless, and with the rising price of alcohol even more expensive venture. In other words, without removing the tank and clean it from the water spirit will save, provided that the tank is very little water. Well, a few photos of the experiment. Thank you all for your reading. Criticism and reasonable explanation are welcome. ))
Is it safe to add alcohol to petrol?
There has been a long-running dispute among car owners about whether to add ethanol to gasoline and what the consequences will be. Supporters of it bring their arguments and their opponents – others, but who is right, it is not clear.
In fact, this question is not as simple as it seems, and both sides are right, but depending on the situation. Let’s try to figure out when adding alcohol to gasoline is beneficial, and when it is harmful.
What are the benefits of alcohol
In Europe, you can find AI-95 gasoline marked Super E5 or E10 at gas stations. It is a mixture with ethanol, and the figure shows its content in percent. It turns out that this mixture has some advantages and can be safely filled into the tank? Yes, but not for everyone. Because there is a warning on those same gas stations – “consult the manufacturer before filling up”.
So, it turns out that you can fuel some cars with this mixture. And what are the benefits for these lucky gasoline consumers?
- Economy – this gasoline costs a little less, about 20% less.
- Eco-friendliness – emission of harmful substances in the exhaust is slightly reduced.
- Improvement of engine performance – a controversial point. Some motorists note that the engine is easier to start. Others have noticed that it is noisier.
In general, the gasoline-alcohol mixture does not have any pronounced advantages, and it is usually used simply because of its lower cost. At a time when a liter of gasoline is very expensive, every car owner is trying to save on fuel, because the difference of even a ruble per liter is gradually turning into considerable savings.
In Russia, ready fuel with ethanol is not sold, so car owners prepare it themselves. Get cheap ethanol of the right quality is very difficult. What kind of alcohol do they add? Isopropyl, which you can buy at a chemicals store or from wholesale suppliers. They just add it in the right amount to the canister and then pour the mixture into the tank.
It’s true, no one really knows what this addition of alcohol to gasoline will do. Measurements show some improvement in the exhaust composition. Objectively, there is no difference in engine operation, although many people may say that it does not seem to have become worse.
What are the consequences?
As we can see, the use of the mixture gives more of a psychological effect, and partly an economic one, because you can save a little money. But what are the other disadvantages of such fuel and what will happen if you just add alcohol to gasoline? The motorist who has started to use, for example, a 10% mixture can expect such problems:
- Rubber parts in the fuel system, such as gaskets, will deteriorate much faster.
- Alcohol can form condensate, which accumulates in the fuel system, and in the event of frost can freeze and completely cut off the fuel supply at best. At worst, it can rupture a tube.
- Engine parts are exposed to accelerated corrosion.
As you can see, it may lead to engine overhaul or fuel system flushing, which is not pleasant either. But a caveat must be made – all of this happens in cars that are originally designed for pure gasoline. The models that provide filling with alternative fuel do not suffer from this, the constructors have foreseen this trouble and used materials resistant to alcohol.
Therefore, before pouring alcohol into the tank, you should read the instruction manual and specify whether its use is allowed in your car, and in what quantity. Remember:
If the manufacturer does not allow use of alternative fuel, but you use it, you lose your car warranty!
So if you are a lucky owner of a brand-new Mercedes-Benz or Lexus, think about what it will cost you to save on fuel, especially in light of the upcoming engine repairs. You will be deprived of a warranty. Whether there is such economy? Let’s see.
Is it profitable to add spirit to petrol?
In the advertisement of such alternative fuel, they also mention increasing of torque, power increase, detonation elimination, oil service prolongation and a lot of other attractive things. They especially like to mention this for the 30 percent blend. In reality, all of this is not the case, and such a high ethanol content is not allowed for all car models.
The purpose of all this propaganda is to save valuable hydrocarbons, especially in countries where they are scarce. In Europe, in Brazil, and in many other countries, this is justified – they mostly import fuel. So they are looking for ways to make it cheaper and convert cars at least partially to biofuels – the same alcohol that can be obtained from plant raw materials.
Why do you need to know that? Because in these countries, their cars are adapted to this fuel. They run perfectly well on it and will not turn into a pile of scrap metal, which your Lada will become after such an experiment. While not all manufacturers allow the use of different types of fuel in their cars, and you should not forget about it.
So, the first conclusion is that having saved a small amount, you risk to kill your engine very quickly. Of course, if it is not specially adapted.
Now let’s consider whether this fuel itself is cheaper. This is a moot point, since the complication of production itself leads to an increase in cost. But since alcohol itself is cheaper, the blend may cost a little cheaper than pure gasoline. However, there is a point here:
Blend consumption increases by about 12% compared to pure gasoline.
So by buying a little cheaper but consuming more, you might gain almost nothing. But it is quite possible to make problems with your engine.
Of course, everything is strictly individual – you need to check whether biofuels are allowed in your car, and if so, assess their availability and current prices. You need to see how much alcohol is allowed to add to gasoline. If the circumstances are favorable, you can save money. But if your car is not adapted to the mixture, we recommend you to refrain from experiments.