Bad Methanol

GAKARTER

Member
Got about 4 gallons of methanol that has been stored in a 5 gal plastic jug for over a year. It currently clouds up on a "water check" test. Was clear and good a year ago. Is there any way to make this stuff good again so it would pass the "water check" tech or does it just need to be dumped?
 
i just burn some in a metal bowl or metal measuring cup , and see how much water is left over when done burning . you can taste it with your tounge also
 
Got about 4 gallons of methanol that has been stored in a 5 gal plastic jug for over a year. It currently clouds up on a "water check" test. Was clear and good a year ago. Is there any way to make this stuff good again so it would pass the "water check" tech or does it just need to be dumped?

i wouldnt race it..........or taste it..:)
 
Wouldn't the water be absorbed in the alcohol and go up in steam as the alcohol burns in a measuring cup, Mike? Thinking gas line antifreeze (which is nothing more than methanol) that is used to absorb moisture from your car's gas tank.

I've seen guys heat their trailers at swap meets in November with a pool of alcohol in a flat cookie pan. Never saw anything left over -- sure wouldn't want to taste it either. :)

If it's cloudy -- kill some weeds with it.
Also be sure to rinse your fuel jug well with clean alcohol before you fill it again with clean fresh alcohol.

Nothing worse than being tossed for cloudy fuel because of a little water contamination and trying to save a few bucks.

--
Thanks and God bless,
Brian Carlson
Carlson Racing Engines
Vector Cuts
www.CarlsonMotorsports.com
Celebrating 25 years of service to the karting industry
765-339-4407
bcarlson@CarlsonMotorsports.com
 
when I get my internet back up and going for my desktop computer I will respond with some pertinent information pertaining to your situation and the cloudy fuel I have done extensive testing in the area of alcohol and gasoline and when I get my computer going here again I'm on my cell phone right now and it's a pain in the b*** I'll comment on this topic
 
you dont swallow it . i had a guy once show me , he had freash alky in one can and old in another . the new freash alky pour a little on your fingers and touch it to your tounge . when its fresh and good you will try to spit it out quick !! old alky has no real sting to your tounge . then he put some in a steel measuring cupand burned it . and there was a small amount of water or a liquid that wouldnt burn off left over not alot but a little
 
Alcohol does not attract water!! Alcohol turns to water when it comes in contact with a hydrogen atom. Alcohol has an oxygen molecule with only one hydrogen atom. It wants two hydrogen atoms. H20 That's why there's so much water in the world. If your container is very well sealed, the alcohol is probably good. If the alcohol is clear, it's probably good, but why take a chance, trust but verify. lol
 
Al, that is only partially correct. Methanol is extremely Hydroscopic meaning that it does attract and bond with water. Because of this it will pull moisture from the atmosphere if it is not stored in a well sealed container. In high volume storage and production methanol is kept in a closed system often using nitrogen to fill empty space.
In addition to that problem Methanol vapor in the presence of sunlight will rapidly oxidize and break down into CO2 and H2O. The resulting H20 will then be absorbed the same as ambient humidity.

To the original question, the method of dehydration for methanol is a chemical one because it so effectively bonds to water that distillation is not very effective. It isn’t something worth trying to accomplish so you are far better off replacing it. Keep it in the smallest practical opaque container minimizing the air space to keep it pure.
 
Al, that is only partially correct. Methanol is extremely Hydroscopic meaning that it does attract and bond with water. Because of this it will pull moisture from the atmosphere if it is not stored in a well sealed container.
I can only tell you what I was told by a very good chemist. And if you look up methanol in Wikipedia, you will see a drawing of the methanol molecule. It very distinctly shows an oxygen atom connected to one hydrogen atom. The need to bond, by the oxygen atom, to 2 hydrogen atoms, is very strong. And once the bond is made, it's very very hard to break. In fact, it takes more energy to break the bond then you can get back from the 2 elements. That's why they use solar power to do it.
If methanol was actually attracting water, the container would get fuller, and I've never seen that happen.
Comments compliments criticisms and questions always welcome.
 
I can only tell you what I was told by a very good chemist. And if you look up methanol in Wikipedia, you will see a drawing of the methanol molecule. It very distinctly shows an oxygen atom connected to one hydrogen atom. The need to bond, by the oxygen atom, to 2 hydrogen atoms, is very strong. And once the bond is made, it's very very hard to break. In fact, it takes more energy to break the bond then you can get back from the 2 elements. That's why they use solar power to do it.
If methanol was actually attracting water, the container would get fuller, and I've never seen that happen.
Comments compliments criticisms and questions always welcome.

This subject really deserves much more time that I am to give it right now so this is going to be high level. If you are interested I will go into more detail later. Interestingly enough you are well on your way to answering the riddle with your statement about Hydrogen bonds. The fluids are fully misciable meaning they bond but it does not form a new compound. Methanol atoms and water atoms actually fit together more tightly than each do with themselves. The way this works is impacted by the speed in which the two are mixed as well as changes in temp but generically speaking if water is introduced quickly the resulting volume will be equal to the volume of water + the volume of methanol BUT if the water is introduced slowly the hydrogen atoms will bond and some water will disociate (reversibly break apart) and actually take up less space. The result is very interesting because the small increase in water volume will result in a solution with less volume than the methanol alone. The two compounds do not form a new compound and can be broken apart it is simply a hydrogen bond. It is far more complex than this but I would need to do some research to go any further.
 
If you really need to save the 4 gallons you could always delute it with good fuel.

May take from 10 to 1000 gallons but i am sure at some point it would pass the water test.
 
Many of you remember a while back on this subject that i was DQ'd for the first time in my 35 years of racing because of cloudy fuel. along with being embarrassed, I was angry. I didn't demonstrate my anger at the track, I just walked away knowing that the track had a cloudy fuel rule. The next day, I water tested the fuel from the jug and it was good. I then pulled some from my tank and it was cloudy when water was added. I knew I hadn't added anything to my fuel so I needed to find out if the contamination was a positive or negative contamination. We won the event but had it taken away from us. I purchased the proper equipment that week to do specific gravity. In the equipment there was a formula that would determine the purity of the alcohol. I tested a jug of non cloudy fuel and documented my numbers. I also did the formula check and the alcohol was 98.7% pure. I then tested the cloudy alcohol. The hydrometer reading was slightly different and the formula for purity showed 96.5% purity. Taking into account that the cloudy fuel had a lesser purity, we still ran our regular numbers on the tach and the temp along with lap times being very close to our known numbers. So even though the fuel was cloudy, it was not illegal. BUT, when you race at a track that doesn't have the hydrometer to do the correct test, it is your responsibility to not run cloudy fuel. On another note, the alcohol did not smell different than the legal alcohol and THAT is a good test also for tracks to follow to back up a suspicious fuel (alcohol) NOTE: There is no known additive ( power boost ) that can be put in alcohol that will still have the same smell as alcohol. Alcohol that is 99.99 % pure has it's own specific smell !! A builder in my area brought me some alcohol to test. It had a smell that was not recognizable to me. ( I had my own race track for 25 years and I did a lot of sniffing in that 25 years ) When I tested it with water it passed. When I tested it with the hydrometer, it passed that also but it was at the top of the purity % range. Here is what they did. they mixed an additive to the alcohol to bring it up to the max purity so that it would still pass the hydrometer. I talked with the Indy 500 Alcohol technician back in 1989. He told me that Alcohol has a distinct (to it's own properties ) odder. Therefore the fuel would be considered illegal based on odder. Just thought I would share. By the way, I also have the new Digitron 64 fuel tester and I absolutely love what I am seeing.
 
Many of you remember a while back on this subject that i was DQ'd for the first time in my 35 years of racing because of cloudy fuel. along with being embarrassed, I was angry. I didn't demonstrate my anger at the track, I just walked away knowing that the track had a cloudy fuel rule. The next day, I water tested the fuel from the jug and it was good. I then pulled some from my tank and it was cloudy when water was added. I knew I hadn't added anything to my fuel so I needed to find out if the contamination was a positive or negative contamination. We won the event but had it taken away from us. I purchased the proper equipment that week to do specific gravity. In the equipment there was a formula that would determine the purity of the alcohol. I tested a jug of non cloudy fuel and documented my numbers. I also did the formula check and the alcohol was 98.7% pure. I then tested the cloudy alcohol. The hydrometer reading was slightly different and the formula for purity showed 96.5% purity. Taking into account that the cloudy fuel had a lesser purity, we still ran our regular numbers on the tach and the temp along with lap times being very close to our known numbers. So even though the fuel was cloudy, it was not illegal. BUT, when you race at a track that doesn't have the hydrometer to do the correct test, it is your responsibility to not run cloudy fuel. On another note, the alcohol did not smell different than the legal alcohol and THAT is a good test also for tracks to follow to back up a suspicious fuel (alcohol) NOTE: There is no known additive ( power boost ) that can be put in alcohol that will still have the same smell as alcohol. Alcohol that is 99.99 % pure has it's own specific smell !! A builder in my area brought me some alcohol to test. It had a smell that was not recognizable to me. ( I had my own race track for 25 years and I did a lot of sniffing in that 25 years ) When I tested it with water it passed. When I tested it with the hydrometer, it passed that also but it was at the top of the purity % range. Here is what they did. they mixed an additive to the alcohol to bring it up to the max purity so that it would still pass the hydrometer. I talked with the Indy 500 Alcohol technician back in 1989. He told me that Alcohol has a distinct (to it's own properties ) odder. Therefore the fuel would be considered illegal based on odder. Just thought I would share. By the way, I also have the new Digitron 64 fuel tester and I absolutely love what I am seeing.

It was illegal if it becomes cloudy, may not have been cheating or intentional but still it was illegal.
 
It was illegal if it becomes cloudy, may not have been cheating or intentional but still it was illegal.

WKA book says when cloudy fuel is detected, it should be backed up by a hydrometer. Illegal and contaminated are two different things. So in my mind, it was not illegal but in the mind of those who do not understand, I guess it would be illegal.
 
Back
Top