denatured alcohol

denatured alcohol defined in 1909 year

denatured alcohol - Denatured Alcohol (Methylated Spirit);
denatured alcohol - This is simply alcohol which has been so treated as to spoil it as a beverage or medicine (or drink of any kind), and prevent its use in any manner except for industrial purposes. The following information is extracted from F. B. Wright's practical handbook on the "Distillation of Alcohol" (E. & F. N. Spon. Ltd.).

The common form of alcohol known as " denatured spirit "or " methylated spirit" consists of alcohol to which one tenth of its volume of wood alcohol (methyl alcohol), or other de-naturising agent, has been added, for the purpose of rendering the mixture undrinkable through its offensive odour and taste. Methylated spirit being sold duty free, is applied by chemical manufactures, varnish makers, and many others, to a variety of uses, to which, from its greater cost, duty-paid spirit is commercially inapplicable. It has often been attempted to separate the wood spirit from the alcohol, and thus to obtain pure alcohol from the mixture, butalways unsuccessfully, as, although the former boils at a lower temperature than the latter, when boiled they both distil over together, owing probably to the difference of their vapour densities.

De-naturing may be accomplished in many ways.

In England a mixture suitable for industrial purposes, but unfit for any other use, is made by mixing 90 per cent, of ethyl alcohol (alcohol made from grain, potatoes, beets, etc.), with 10 per cent, of methyl or "wood alcohol." Under the new law the proportion of wood alcohol is cut to 5 per cent.

In Canada "methylated spirits," as it is known, is composed of from 25 per cent, to 50 per cent, of wood alcohol mixed with ethyl alcohol. This proportion of wood alcohol is far more than is necessary, or than is necessary in any other country.

In Germany, the de-naturing law passed in 1887 was so framed as to maintain the high revenue tax on alcohol intended for drinking, but to exempt from taxation such as should be de-natured and used for industrial purposes. De-naturing, as stated, is accomplished by mixing with the spirit a small proportion of some foreign substance, which, while not injuring its efficiency for technical uses, renders it unfit for consumption as a beverage. The de-naturing substances employed depend upon the use to which the alcohol is to be subsequently applied. They include pyridin, picolin, benzol, toluol, and xylol, wood vinegar, and several other similar products. As a result of this system Germany produced and used last year 30,642,720 gal. of de-natured spirits, as compared with 10,302,630 gal. used in 1886, the last year before the enactment of the present law.

The following are some of the other de-naturants used in Germany: Camphor, oil of turpentine, sulphuric ether, animal oil, chloroform, iodoform, ethyl bromide, benzine, castor oil, lye.

In France the standard mixture consists of: 15 litres of wood alcohol, ½ litre of heavy benzine and 1 gram malachite green.

An illustration of de-naturing on a large scale is given by the methods and operations of a large London establishment. On the ground floor are 4 large iron tanks holding about 2500 gal. each. On the next floor are casks of spirit brought under seal from the bonded warehouse. On the third floor are the wood alcohol tanks, and on the fourth floor cans of methylating materials. On the fourth floor the covers to the wood alcohol tanks were removed (these tank covers were flush with that floor) and the contents gauged and tested. The quantity to be put into the tanks on the first floor was run off through pipes connecting with the first-floor tanks and the upper tanks relocked. Then going to the second floor, each cask of the grain spirit was gauged and tested, and the tank covers, which were flush with the floor, were removed and the casks of the grain spirit were run into the tanks below. The mixture was then stirred with long-handled wooden paddles, and the tank covers replaced, and the material was ready for sale free of tax. The mixture was 10 per cent, wood alcohol and 90 per cent, ethyl alcohol made from molasses, and was what is known as the ordinary methylating spirit used for manufacturing purposes only and used under bond. The completely de-natured spirit is made by adding to the foregoing 3/8 of 1 per cent, of benzine. This benzine prevents re-distillation.

The use of de-natured alcohol as a fuel has yet to be fully developed. Although alcohol has only about half the heating power of kerosene or gasoline, gallon for gallon, yet it has many valuable properties which may enable it to compete successfully in spite of its lower fuel value. In the first place it is very much safer. Alcohol has a tendency to simply heat the surrounding vapours and produce currents of hot gases, which are not usually brought to high enough temperature to inflame articles at a distance. It can be easily diluted with water, and when it is diluted to more than one half it ceases to be inflammable. Hence it may be readily extinguished; while burning petrol, by floating on the water, simply spreads its flame when water is applied to it. Although alcohol has far less heating capacity than petrol, the best experts believe that it will devolop a much higher percentage of efficiency in motors than does petrol. Since petrol represents only about two per cent, of the petroleum which is refined, its supply is limited and its price must constantly rise, in view of the enormous demand made for it for automobiles and petrol engines in general. This will open a new opportunity for de-natured alcohol. Industrial alcohol is now used in Germany in small portable lamps, which give it all the effects of a mantle burner heated by gas. The expense for alcohol is only about two-thirds as much per candle-power as is the cost of kerosene. Even at 1s. to 1s. 3d. per gallon de-natured alcohol can successfully compete with petroleum as a means of lighting.

Objection has been made to the use of alcohol in automobiles and other internal-explosive engines, that it resulted in a corrosion of the metal. This is vigorously denied by the advocate of alcohol fuel, and the denial is backed by proofs of the use of alcohol in German engines for a number of years without any bad results.

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