I came up with a better solution than what i've ever seen.
The concept is simple, combine longer burn times with hotter burning temperatures.
I haven't done a FULL analysis of the solution, however before I am done completing it,
I think it's worth mentioning, that with 1 cotton ball and my solution I can burn for up to 15 minutes.
The solution is a 3 part mixture of wax,petroleum jelly, and alcohol (isopropyl or straight alcohol (160+proof)...
Right now i've tested with equal ratios 1:1:1 of the 3 fuel sources.
The creation is easy:
1- Melt wax + Petroleum Jelly
2- Add alcohol (or other liquid fuel here)
3- Dip cotton balls and saturate
4- Place on chilled (option) drying pan lined with wax or parchment paper
That's it... the wax and PJ seal the alcohol in the mixture....
I have still yet to do full analysis:
- water boil times
- weight (I suspect <= 1oz)
I also am going to be messing with the ratios, some of thoughts are to increase the wax content for longer burn times....
Comparing this to the esbit or the weber fuel tabs it seems to blow them away.
I will be posting some pictures and a full video soon of the whole process....
They're small enough that you can use a tuna can - cut a couple air vents, and you have a stove...
bring along X number of tuna cans for food on your trip and you also then have additional fuel stoves in a simple manner :-D
You can be as creative as you wish with the can stove design....
Another note is that there seems to be at least 2 stages of burn, if not 3, with this:
- stage 1: first 5 minutes - strong boiling point flame
- stage 2: second 5 minutes - solid flame - not as large
- stage 3: last 2-5 minutes - simmer point flame
Cost breakdown (I used walgreens to get the products - not cheapest by far)
All in all I spent $15
In all I can produce 250 cotton balls for $15 using this technique...
That equates to roughly 62.5 hours of burn time for $15 ...
Compared to esbit:
- cheapest I could find on google + shipping = $7.31 for 12 tabs = 144 minutes = 2.4 hours x 2 packs = 4.8 hours = $14.62 .... that's 7% as cost effective as my method
Compared to weber fuel (24 pack):
- cheapest I found on google was $3.29 + free shipping = 24 tabs x 7 minutes = 168 minutes x 4.5 packs = 12.6 hours of burn time = 20% as cost effective..
These numbers will change as I find more efficient ratios ....
You would have to buy 4x the amount of weber fuel to get equal burn time as the improved cotton fuel balls
You would have to buy 13x the amount of esbit fuel to get equal burn time....
Breakdown of 62.5 Hours of burn time:
- cotton balls: $15
- Weber: $72.48
- Esbit: $190.36
Anyway, I hope this helps some of y'all out...
btw, i used simple tea candles for melting the wax - easy to measure and do ratios in proper proportion...
Will keep posted about videos, pics, etc, but there's enough here to test your own :-D