Flamethrower

Contents

1. Overview
2. Materials
3. Construction
4. Tests
5. Aftermath

 

Overview

Flamethrowers are one of the most fascinating weapons ever created, probably due to the visual satisfaction it brings. Everybody loves a big flame, and that’s one of the main purposes of a flamethrower.

Basically, a combustible liquid is shot out at high velocities at a heat source (ie. candle) using the pneumatic air gun I made. The liquid will ignite and deflagrate in mid-air, travelling to its target and setting it on fire.

Difficulty: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Cost: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Time: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

 

Materials

1. Pneumatic air gun
2. Flammable liquid
3. A target you don’t have quite the liking for

 

Construction

The design is fairly simple.

I pressurised the airgun to a mere 10 PSI (or possibly less), and stuff a ball of wet tissue down the barrel. This wet tissue protects the valve from the thinner and also, it pushes the thinner out, thus preventing any from flowing back.

The airgun will then be aimed at a lighted candle. The thinner, upon leaving the airgun, will ignite immediately when in contact with the flame of the candle. It continues it journey through the air while deflagrating until it reaches the target, which it will set fire to.

I had the experiment set up in the backyard. I got a cardboard soaked in water as the target placed about 2-3m away.

 

Tests

Shot 1:

About 30ml of thinner was used.

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

I also extracted the individual frames from the video for closer examination:

Shot 2:

Slightly more thinner was used, about 40-50ml. Also, I placed a cardboard next to the chair with the candle to block out the wind from extinguishing the candle.

A larger flame was produced this time.

Also, if you listen in, you can hear my mom exclaiming “AIYO-AIYOOO!”.

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Individual frames extracted from video:

Failed Shot:

There’s also a failed shot which ended quite terribly. It was actually the 2nd shot. Basically, 98% of the thinner shot out of the airgun missed the flame of the candle, and didn’t get ignited. It ended up splashing on the cardboard and all over the floor. The 2% that got ignited came flying behind, landing right into the pool of thinner, setting the backyard’s floor on fire. The fire spreaded really fast. Really got me very worried there.

As you would have noted, I have removed the audio from the video completely because’ let’s just say, I wasn’t saying nice things at that point in time.

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

 

Individual frames extracted from video:

 

Aftermath

People learn from others’ mistakes, so should you.

Here’s a really stupid picture of me wrestling with fire…



But hey, I won in the end.

And also, fire extinguishers are important in households or you’ll end up doing something like this:

The floor was covered with soot at the end of the experiment. Really hard to clean off. Really hard.


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Disclaimer: All experiments and projects presented here are highly dangerous and purely intended for educational and experimental purposes only. Do not attempt them at any rate.