A couple of things. First, I have followed the literature on flame chemistry and combustion engineering for some time now, and I do understand the basic chemistry and thermodynamics. Second, I have also followed the literature on CO deaths in small enclosures, including tents and huts for some time.
Can one kill oneself by using a stove in a moderately (or even partly) sealed enclosure such as a tent? Oh yes, absolutely, and people have done just that on a number of occasions, around the world. We have had that happen here in Oz in a snow cave, with heavy snow fall blocking vents, wet snow stopping air flow, and a well-known white gas stove. The four bodies were found in and out of sleeping bags, with the stove set up, valve open and tank empty.
> They had mis-assembled their lantern
User error. Unfortunate of course, but the responsibility rests with the user. A bit like driving a car at 100 mph on a wet road.
> a plume that registered 500-1000ppm CO. That's a monstrous amount of CO
True, I agree. MSR seem happy to sell the Reactor stove which emits (by my measurements) around 2,000 ppm. User responsibility to take the necessary precautions.
On to techie details.
> Flame quenching is a second order effect.
I am not sure what you mean by 'second order' here. I don't think the term means anything. What I am sure of is that flame quenching does happen in practice, as I have run enough enough experiments under controlled conditiosn to verify this. That is, I have put cold steel and titanium in and out of a flame and monitored the effect on the CO levels. It happens.
> A recirculation explanation seems to fit your data quite well.
We will have to disagree on this. It does not fit the data at all. See next.
> but it's hardly a failsafe design.
Nothing in this world is failsafe. However, experimental data from actual measurement shows that one can have a stove emitting under 10 ppm of CO in the exhaust stream, sometimes as low as 2-3 ppm. If the hazard from recirculation was that severe, you would not get that result. the recirculation theory fails the experimental data. So I don't think it is all that preposterous.
> the kind of attitude that the buying public wants to see in their would-be stove designers
Me, I go for experimental results over theory every time. Sure, the theory is valuable in helping you design something and understand what may be going on, but only real measured data tells you whether you got the theory right! I have the data.