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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 08:49 PM
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OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

Now that school is back in seesion, and along with that great portion of my time comes chemistry, I have to come up with a suitable project. The assignment is to come up with an experiment that illustrates the benificial chemical reactions all around us everyday. So I got to thinking about the most benificial reaction possible.

What in the world could be more benificial than making a potato go really really really far away really fast?

So I have decided on the Potato gun as my project, but have yet to get my teacher to approve it. I'm sure he will.

My actual question is, what is the best fuel to use in the combustion chamber. So far I have gotten the best results from Right Guard (a mixture of propane, butane, isobutane, and all that wonderful powder and perfume). I need a reaction that has most of its force exerted very early in the burning process. From my research, it is not as much the size of the explosion, but rather the speed of the explosion. Because it takes such a small force to push a wet potato down an equally wet PVC barrel, an extremely powerful explosion isn't a must.

For the ignitor, I am using an Bar-B-Q grill ignitor. You know, the push button kind. The spark is pretty dang big, and lights off every time.

Keep in mind I am using schedule 40 PVC, so no oxidized reactions or Hydrogen will be used. It would be awesome, but I don't thinnk I want to pay hospital bills that big.

Ed

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 09:11 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

You can get away with that in the hallowed halls of political correctness? I heard that the fundamentalist christians can't even say gay sex is a sin on campuss. I am all for tolerance, and I hope that you get your chance to discharge firearms in the name of education, more power too yah. I used hairspray in my potato lobbing days!
good luck, jjc

post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 09:18 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

<font color=blue>Most potato guns I've seen use butane... just a small spray in the lower chamber..

BOOOM!

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 09:30 PM
 
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

YUP!
That cheap Suave or how ever you spell it.
About a $1.50 a can.
Works REAL good.

Straight butane works pretty good too, but you can get into trouble real quick with it.
Design of the combustion chamber is crucial to REALLY long range, and the approach angles to the barrel from the combustion chamber.
These are LOW order detonations.

Don't get the bright idea of using acetylene from a cutting torch or carbide chips, that will be a HIGH order detonation, and you may be picking pieces of you potato gun out of your forehead...
I blew one to hell and back, and I would have never thought that there was enough to make it even go off....

This is a good way to teach physics and chemistry! When was the last time you saw a kid actually WANT to learn chemistry?

KID, get your education, and a little collage, and join the military, they are looking for people like you!!
You get money for more collage, a paycheck twice a month, you get to travel, and best of all, YOU GET TO BLOW SH*T UP!!!!

"I Have The Body Of A God... Buddha"
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 09:53 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

That was exactly what I did. It was a lot of fun, until some friends get killed from being disrespectful to the equipment, and you come to the realization this stuff can snuff you out in under a micro-second. It tends to wake you from your adrenalin high in a hurry.

Sorry I have no recommendations for you, but I don't know what, other than the norm, would work better without some potential problems.

JEEPN
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 09:58 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

Because this is my first year of chemistry, could you please explain the diference between a low and high order explosion, having something like that in my presentation would probably earn me a higher grade.

I have been thinking of working on getting into Annapolis then joining the Navy. My grades are good enough and I know the congress person who would nominate me.

Ed

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 10:31 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

How about just compressed air? There are plenty of sites.

http://www2.csn.net/~bsimon/pngun.htm

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 10:34 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

OK let me get this back on topic, real quick like!

A couple of years ago I went to Glamis for Thanksgiving weekend. Now to an Okie this is the biggest party I've ever seen. Ten thousand people in one place and ALL vehicles are OFFROAD! That is just at Comp Hill! At night! Anyway - on Saturday I decided to see if I could go to Mexico without officiallly crossing the border. You know, OFFROAD! A little map recon and off I went to find the American Canal because there is a dirt road beside it and it looked like I'd be able to cover some distance in a small amount of time using it. I'm in my Jeep (now we're back on topic)(94 YJ, so it's shortwheelbase!) and heading south when I perceived some three individuals holding a long tubular thing and moving it around and causing some thing to happen at some distance. Closing the gap and coming to a stop resulted in my introduction to a potato gun. I had heard the phrase once before but had no idea what it was. I found out that day that is one of the funnest things a guy can have! A broomstick, a ten-pound sack of potatoes, the PVC barrel and PVC chamber and piezo ignitor and a can of ...... ether!

WORKED! Really worked! Those potatoes went so far that I never saw a one reach apogee! The kick was amazing! I had a ball and if it hadn't been so far from civilization I'd have gone to the store and bought another 25 lbs of potatoes!

The amount of ether was very small and very effective. The man said he had been doing it for years and never had a problem. Indeed, his boys were the ones loading and charging.

Anyway, I was in a Jeep and .....

sln

post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 10:35 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

What workes the best in our "Spud Gun" is Deep woods Off. We are using the same ignition method as you, but with a modified spark unit (gold plated contacts 1/2" apart). We are also using sched. 80 PVC pipe and the gun is 6 feet long! Shoots a potato about 300 yards at the optimum angle. Good luck in your research. PLEASE be carefull !

Mike H.
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I can't go to work today...the voices said "Stay home and clean your guns!"
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2000, 10:42 PM
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Re: OT - Potato Guns and Chemistry

belive it or not Bacardi 151......REALLY We have used alot of thing, but this works thes best!

~~TIM~~

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