RC Fuels Nitromethane, Castor Oil, Synthetic, heli fuel, 4 stroke, etc...Fuel Q&A is here!

Nitro fuel storage.

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Old 09-30-2009, 09:03 AM
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dakotanut
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Default Nitro fuel storage.

I recently heard not to store Nitro fuel out in the garage. It will absorb moisture and won't be worth a dang. Is this true? I'm kinda new to Nitro and this was new to me. What other precautions should be made with this stuff? I'm not one to store fuel inside my house. It is very combustible. Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:34 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Please store your fuel in a cool place, in the dark, tightly capped. It is better if stored when the bottle is mostly full, this prevents excess moisture from going from the air in the bottle into the fuel each time you open the bottle. Do not expose your fuel to heat or sparks or static electricity. I do not store my fuels on concrete because moisture from concrete long term can have more moisture get into the bottles, made of HDPE (high density polyethylene). I would NOT store my fuels in glass, or in cans with non-plastic liner lids. Old cans can and may spark if they are old and rusted. That being said, fuel can be stored fairly long term if these precautions are taken. Pure nitro is very dangerous and when heated in an enclosed container, bad results can follow. I DID used to store my fuel in those amber-brown gallon bottles when rat racing and doing control line combat. Luckily, I survived into adulthood. :-) Okay, not even my SECOND childhood, because I never got out of the first. If you treat your fuel much like a bottle of gasoline, you will be on the right track. No sparks, don't store right next to 110v outlets, i.e., just use common sense. Enjoy your flying and I hope this information helps. The old fuel mixing dinosaur.
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:42 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Great info. Thanks a lot. Just not sure I want to put it inside my house. Kinda scary to me.
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:32 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I store mine in the closet of a spare bedroom (airplane workshop). Fairly constant temperature and no direct sunlight. My garage is attached to the house so the risk of burning down the house is the same either place. Inside might be safer since it gets really hot in the garage.
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:39 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Ok. That away I'll forget it when I need it. LOL. I just don't want this expensive fuel to go to waste.
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Old 09-30-2009, 02:53 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Don't worry, you'll forget just about everything at one time or another. My brother and I fly together. We used to drive separately but now we ride together. Between the two of us, we have forgotten:
Transmitter
Transmitter frequency module
Buddy box
Wing tube
Rubber bands
Wing bolts
Wing (or fuselage)
Fuel
and all sorts of other small things.

It is 36 miles to the field from my brother's house and 45 from mine. When we forget something major it blows the whole day.
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:55 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I forgot my glow starter the other day, then realized I didn't have my back-up either. Cost me about 50 minutes of flying time between trips.
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:28 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

OH. I was just talking about my fuel for my little truck. Is it all the same?
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:39 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

The storage conditions are the same
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:07 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Ok. I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was in the plane forum. Thank yall for the info though. I really appreciate it. Have a good one. I've had a bad one. It doesn't look like it is gonna get any better either.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:56 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

The glow engines forum is really for all glow engines. I have planes so that's my reference.
With surface models you still have your support equipment and it's easy to forget all or part of it.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:55 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.



Methanol + Nitromethane fuel does not require as stingent storage conditions as gasoline does.

Glow fuel has a higher flash point than gasoline and a lower volatility.

Care must be taken to avoid moisture ingress. It is helpful to  purge your fuel can with argon gas (It's inert)  so that it can keep moisture rish air out if storing long term. In winter the atmospheric humidity is usually lower than in sumer so often winter storage is not a problem. its mostly warm humid areas where storage prevents a challenge.

Always buy a glow fuel with a demulsifier in it.

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Old 06-23-2010, 03:13 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

The garage is fine. The plastic has a low permeability to water. That means its hard for the water to get in, or out. Which is why it is used for milk jugs, juice, and water.. Its not perfect, but since the fuel will most often have a bit of pressure, and permeability to differant solvents (the fuel and its additives) then fuel getting out may be a bigger problem. That is why they should be stored in a cool place, to keep the internal pressure low.
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:02 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

the plastic is not the issue, its the seal under the cap. Plastic containers have one bad thing going for them, they are often not moulded well which results in poorly fitting caps that can lead to "breathing" and condensation of water vapour in the container.

Lined metal containers are good here but ensure the cap threads are greased to prevent corrosion and spark creation. Methanol with Nitro has a much higher flash point than gasoline so its rarely a problem storing these fuels in metal containers. Racing gasolines are stored inmetal cans.

Much of the recommendation around glow fuels handling, oil content etc is based on economics, not safety or reliability
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:45 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

The main problem that has bit me with old fuel is light exposure.

I have been successful with long term storage as long as the fuel is kept in absolute darkness.

Keep it in the original case carton?

Store it in metal cans?
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:06 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I do not recommend storing model fuels in tin cans, UNLESS the cap is plastic. Old metal cans will rust, and present a very dangerous spark that can fire up your fuel. Modelers have been severely burned or killed with these older, rusting cans, so please be careful. Perhaps the best storage container for fuels is HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) gallon or quart bottles. Keep tightly capped, at room temperature, not in an outside hot shed or storage building, and store your fuels in the dark. If you keep some castor oil, be sure to open it only when you need it and immediately cap it back up. Various molds and other biologicals will grow in your castor oil if you are not careful. Castor is a great lubricant, but you need to make sure you store it properly. Methanol in your fuels attracts moisture, and it is best to tightly cap your bottles for storage. Enjoy your flying, boating, helicopters and cars, and be safe.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:21 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.


ORIGINAL: Fuel Dinosaur

I do not recommend storing model fuels in tin cans, UNLESS the cap is plastic. Old metal cans will rust, and present a very dangerous spark that can fire up your fuel. Modelers have been severely burned or killed with these older, rusting cans, so please be careful. Perhaps the best storage container for fuels is HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) gallon or quart bottles. Keep tightly capped, at room temperature, not in an outside hot shed or storage building, and store your fuels in the dark. If you keep some castor oil, be sure to open it only when you need it and immediately cap it back up. Various molds and other biologicals will grow in your castor oil if you are not careful. Castor is a great lubricant, but you need to make sure you store it properly. Methanol in your fuels attracts moisture, and it is best to tightly cap your bottles for storage. Enjoy your flying, boating, helicopters and cars, and be safe.

Unopened metal cans have never been a problem, and rust by itself is not a problem. The issue with nitro is it will react with alkaline compounds and ignite. That is why the nitro drag racers wash down their metal fuel tanks, (or did before they lined them) with a mild acid after a day of racing. So likely other alkaline corrosion as well as rust was on that cap. Although this is a bit off topic. Just interesting info.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:44 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Sport Pilot,

You are right about the unopened cans. My concern is that some inexperienced modelers might use an old handy gallon can. In those cans, the spark generated from just opening a rusty cap can ignite the methanol, it has the higher vapor pressure, and the results are not very pretty. I buy my nitromethane in 5-gal pails and 30 gal drums. The danger in pure nitro is heating it under pressure. THEN you will see fireworks, the likes of which you have never seen before. After the Oklahoma government building bombing, large quantities of nitro have been very difficult to obtain. The reason for the caution on the metal cans is that there are clearly documented cases of severe burns and worse from these rusted metal cans. Some fuels are sold in metal cans, but if you notice, the lids are not the typical all metal lids, they are lined, and some are all plastic inside. Those cans are safe, so long as they are stored properly and not badly rusted on the bottoms of the can. As a 12-year old, I used to store my fuels in my closet, but used those brown chemical reagent gallon bottles. I don't do that any more. :-) NOT recommended.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:12 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

While a spark is possible, it will not usually result in a fire, and even then not a huge fire, the fuel will burn in the can just a few inch's from the top. It is not a large high heat fire as with gasoline. Of course if spilled or warm it could be much worse. I thought you might be refering to a past incident where some one tried to loosen a cap from a can of nitro by tapping it with a hammer and it exploded. Might be a myth but it is possible for corrosion to cause an alkaline compound that would make it shock sensitive.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:01 AM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

You will have a hard time explaining that relative lack of flammability and burning near the top of the can to the fellow who loosened a rusty cap on a gallon can of fuel and got burns over much of his body. Nitromethane that is hot can well be shock sensitive. Main hazards on flammability and explosion with pure nitromethane is when it is under heat and pressure. Of course there are chemical conditions that make this situation even worse, and even initiate disastrous results as well . My sense is it is responsible to caution folks about storing model fuels in traditional gallon cans, they can pose a significant risk to the unsuspecting. Just look at the few fuels that come in cans and you can see a more modern plastic or other material-protected cap. By the way, I also do not recommend tapping on any closed container of pure nitromethane. My chemistry training, degree and experience argue otherwise, as well as mixing up model fuels for planes, boats, cars and helicopters between a long time and forever. :-)
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

Nitromethane that is hot can well be shock sensitive.
Nitromethane by itself is not shock sensitive, but it can be when in contact with alkaline materials. No problem with plastic or lined containers. I think we are talking of the same incedence and he burned because the cap exploded off of the can and the high nitro fuel (or maybe pure nitro?) burst out of the can, or exploded. But it is hearsay (or a myth) and the story keeps changing, so who knows.

Main hazards on flammability and explosion with pure nitromethane is when it is under heat and pressure.
I believe there is only one known case of this, a rail car full of nitrometane sitting in the sun for days, and the cause is only a guess.

By the way, I also do not recommend tapping on any closed container of pure nitromethane.
It should not be a problem with an approved container. Race cars slam their tanks into walls and pavement with no explosions at many national events. It's those old corroded pre lined containers that are the problem.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:15 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I store mine out in the garage. It can get humid, but it's usually dark.

There's no reason to store something as combustible as model fuel in your house. I wouldn't ever store a can of gasoline in the house..same goes for model fuel.

As far as moisture, obviously the less "head room" in the jug the better off you will be. But I don't think much moisture is absorbed through the container. I also believe the cap doesn't let much pass either. The bottle bloats in the heat, and shrinks in the cool.

Besides, I've had 1/3 full jugs sit all year and still work fine.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:00 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I don't think that anybody said to store it in your house? Although it is safer than gasoline, I wouldn't want to store it in a house.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:16 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

The following is an MSDS sheet (safety data sheet) for nitromethane:
"Stability and Reactivity

Stability:
Shock and heat sensitive. Thermally unstable. Reacts violently with a broad range of materials. Contact with organic bases (amines), acids, and some metal oxides such as lead pigments, may markedly increase its sensitivity to detonation by shock. Heating of closed containers may cause detonation. Mixtures of nitromethane and known sensitizers are explosive and should be handled with extreme caution."

1. A previous response given was incorrect, methane itself IS shock sensitive, and in pure form, quite dangerous when carelessly handled. Moreover, there are agents that render it even more explosive in confined spaces.

2. Nitromethane IS highly sensitive to both heat and pressure and carries a chemical reactivity rating of 4, quite high.

3. The exploding tank car of nitromethane referred to earlier was very likely an adiabatic event, you had high temperature and pressure, the two events I previously said would be a very dangerous combination. No wonder it exploded.

4. Anyone who goes around tapping on nitro containers is extremely foolish, even on a good day.

5. The burned modeler opening a tin can was not using straight nitromethane, he was using regular model airplane fuel.

These comments are not to scare modelers, but just to have them understand that when you store your fuel in tightly closed, proper containers, in the dark, out of direct sunlight, heat, static electricity and ignition sources, you should be safe. If you will excuse the pun, it seems a lot wiser to shed more light on this subject than heat, and it does help to know something about the properties and nature of chemicals. Interested modelers can easily find information on their fuel methanol and nitromethane on the Internet by looking for the MSDS sheets available. Search Terms, methanol, methanol MSDS, nitromethane, nitromethane MSDS. Those two ingredients, plus the oil in your fuel are the major, if not exclusive ingredients in most model fuels.
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:28 PM
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Default RE: Nitro fuel storage.

I've been flying Sig 10% nitro fuel for some years now. I store it in my separate well insulated building shop left in the plastic jugs in the cardboard carton. There was a problem a couple of years back with some of the Sig bottles leaking out the bottom. I had about three of those. I'm presently flying four year old fuel. I fill by opening the cap and sucking fuel out with a syringe, then recapping. When I get down to about a quart left in a jug, I start a new jug. When it gets down enough, I pour the old quart in.
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