Originally posted by HistoricMustang
From post #297 -
"I took a bunch of 35mm snapshots, but they mostly just showed huge columns of smoke. I do recall the great difficulty the firemen had in putting out many of the flames: they'd die down to nothing, apparently extinguished, then 10-15 seconds later they'd flare back up again. And again."
Then does the above observation from Joel, who witnesssed the accident, tie into what you two are discussing?
This is a bit obscure to answer because I am not that certain on it all.
I have a background in chemistry but at the time when I got my education the fear for benzene and other similar molecules began to increase because the carcinogenic characeristics of this kind of chemicals became known. Remeber the outcry of the public when it was told that in order to reduce the Tetra-Ethyl-lead levels in commercial fuels were reduced and the "Lead" being replaced by benzene. Something the oil companies had not told publiicly that loud?
But I dare to risk my neck and tell it as I remember things. If anybody else knows more and/or knows I'm wrong, please correct me.
If the fuel used by the Fords was indeed dobed with benzene and/or benzene-like components, then I think that this might explain some of the black clouds being so dense. And this for the following reasons for as good as I can remember them.
Benzene is a liquid but it is less volatile that gasoline. Though basicly it burns well, it takes more efforts to get the burning process started. It has a higher octane rating. Yet it contains high amounts of energy that is released if the burning process is complete. But I remember having seen movies of a benzene fire and there was far more black smoke visible because of the burning process being more difficult. Once burning real well and with enough oxygen however...
If I have understand it well, a benzene fire is more difficult to start than with other fuels. But it can be enhanced by mixing it with more volatile components with a lower flaming point. Once these burn they act as a catalyst to enhance the benzene burning.
In fuel blends the use of benzene was popular because to generate much engergy you didn't neet such a large volume for it as with alcohol. But making the stuff burn entirely was the main problem. Therefore it needed an igniter that burned first and then started the benzene burning within the cylinder.
And as for closure.....
A practical example about which has been published.
in 1988 Honda used for its turbocharged F1 engines a mxture of 84% toluene and 16% n-heptane. Toluene is a derivative of Benzene, on the 6 atom carbon ring I mentioned before there is a single C atom with 3 hydrogenmolecules attached onto.
Now you need to know that n-heptane is of a lower quality that straight gasoline (octanes) but the mixture Honda used was legal as it was rated comparable with an 102 octane rating as the rules prescribed.
But toluene contained more energy per liter than any other fuel and the F1 turbo engines were restricted to a maximum of 150 liters for an entire race, they needed a very energetic fuel compound. Toluene was the best option and to get it burned and make the fuel legal it was mixed with heptane.
But think about this: The Honda fuel was legal, rated at 102 Octane, yet it didn't contain a droplet of any carbonhydrate component, to be identified as an octane! (And a number of different octanes do exist)
I hope all this fueled discussions at least is a of a tiny bit of help in this `heated ` debate and that I don't `fuel` yet another controversy?
I feel a bit burned out by now.....
Or will I be burned off because of having made mistakes????