Plastic and gasification

You may think I’m talking about putting plastic in a gasifier. That’s not so great either, but in small quantity it can be done.

No, I’m talking about plastic on the hot areas of the gasifier, specifically close to the hearth, flares or engine exhaust. First let’s look at the advantages of plastic vs steel.

It’s cheap. It never rusts or corrodes. Sometimes it’s flexible. Many times it’s easy to seal up, and welding it can be done at low temperatures. It’s many times lighter than steel. And there’s tons of it around. Sounds great!

However, when you get near the heat, that all changes.

Plastic gets hot, and softens. It loses all it’s strength. An internal “bang” can cause plastic pieces to shred or tear. Or they can warp and deform from the heat.

If it gets too hot, it can even melt, holes will appear, and occasionally the molten plastic will drip out. (And if your hand happens to be in the way, it acts like napalm - you can’t get it off. Molten plastic is very sticky until it cools. Ref picture below.)

If it actually ignites, it can be difficult to put out. The smoke is noxious, particularly from PVC.

Summary; plastic is really good for cold places on your gasifier. Just keep it away from the heat.

Chris ,

Ouch !!

That hurts just looking at the picture !!

Hope the plastic didn’t affect the banjo playing!!

Wayne, I’m alright, don’t worry. My own stupid mistake, and I got what I deserve for not heeding the above common sense.

It’s blistered pretty good, but the burning pain is done. Hope to be in pretty good shape by Friday.

I do remember someone saying - “Pain is a wonderful teacher!”

Ha! Ha! Yes; pain is indeed a wonderful teacher. Best not to completly shield children and the young from all of life’s pains so not to inhibite them learning common senses.
Where so many are now deprived, never having been exposed to HOT surface in-room heatstoving and recoverable “Ouch! That hurts!” And the acrid smell and ear chewings waiting for layed-on, or too layed too close plastics burning stench to complelty burn-off.

Ha! Even catch old, should-know-betters with this some times.
My 50+ YO sister backing up to my woodstove a couple of cold Christmases ago in a 100% polyester skirt. Yep. Seen those blisters on legs too.
Glad you brought up the engine exhausts heats and plastic ChrisKY.
My wife will now for sure dodge around, or brake to a stop for “It’s alive!” blowing plastic grocery bags anymore. By the time she got her car home to me it was good and melted onto her exhaust pipe. Took her 3 weeks of driving around buring it off to not smell like an illegal at night household trash burner. Not in a place I could safely torch burn it carbonized to a nuetral smell for her either.

Ah. Probably OK with these pictures. I learned not to put up any of my blown apart plastics bloody and bruised picturers (from operating other peoples systems). You just never know who is going to faint. Anymore I walk away from most gasifer plastics creations unless I can see lots of over-pressure sneeze release built in. At the least a clamped section of blow-out hose!

Steve Unruh

According to the Marine Corps, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Congratulations Chris, you just got stronger!

Chris ,

I have learn not to weld and cut while wearing old and ragged loose fitting clothes and coveralls. But a few years back I was wearing the above and burning off some grown up pasture. My clothes caught fire and I remember being taught in the first grade to stop,drop,waller and holler. I did just that and each time I stopped and dropped I would set fire to a new patch of grass.

After joining some cottonmouths , turtles and frogs in their mud hole I concluded my first grade teacher knew little about waist high dry sage grass!!

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Burns are definitely painful, we feel your pain brother. Hope this was not on your “new and improved” blower set up.

Ok, for our friends across the pond, another quick glossary for words that are probably not in your English translation dictionary:

“Waller” - Verb meaning “to wallow or squirm on the ground.”

“Holler” - Verb meaning “to yell very loud.” Also sometimes used as a noun to refer to a ravine or slough. In some hill country areas, the person who has the highest social standing in the community lives “at the head of the holler.”



The first day yesterday I found that after your steel poker is in the hopper while lighting up for a couple of minutes , you don’t want to throw it down where it will melt through your plastic feeding the engine LOL! weakens the gas alot. Ha ha leason learned repair done. Now to take the grand kids for a drive on wood.

Hi Alex,

thanks for that explanation. I knew 3 out of 4, but the waller kinda put me over the edge… and I couldn’t find it on the usual internet sites either. But I also had to look up squirm and wallow.

Hi Wayne,

on the same subject: A cottonmouth is a snake, right?

Hi Chris,

when I was in Canada I was on UW’s solar race car team. I designed the aluminum space frame of our vehicle and we got it welded up at Waterloo’s Raytheon subsidiary. After the car was almost finished (the carbon and glass fiber aerobody was mounted already), we had to weld an additional bracket to the frame. Ned, the (by the way excellent) aluminum welding guy from Raytheon came to the university shop to use their welder, because we didn’t want to haul the vehicle for this one small weldment. In order to protect the non-detachable parts (mostly of the aerobody), we put a fire blanket (?) underneath that spot to be welded rather widespread, to be safe.
Of course, I watched the welding (after all, it was “my” frame…) and saw a drop of molten aluminum falling down between the frame and the blanket. Right after Ned finished the welding, I (kinda knee-jerk reaction like) reached for the blanket to pull it aside to see, where the the blob of aluminum had gone. The car was lucky, I wasn’t: The aluminum had gotten caught in a tuck of the blanket and i touched it with the tip of my left middle finger. Boy, did that hurt! It was pretty bad and became a blister that almost doubled the size of my finger tip.

Moral: Pain IS a wonderful teacher! Always careful around welders and torches nowadays!

Best regards,


When working around hot iron if you hear it sizzle before you feel the pain it isn’t gonna be good

Hey, I smell burning skin/hair…
Wait a minute, thats me!
All part of it. :slight_smile:
Congratulations on the truck!
Ya got a Dakota tied up yet?
Have a good trip to Argos.
Lots of pics and vids for us wannabes

Ouch. Pain is a brilliant tutor. At the start of the year I finished off a night time college course on “beginners welding”, learning mig, tig, gas and arc. No prizes for guessing my motivation to learn! Anyway, after kneeling down to weld a vertical seam with the mig I realised one thing. Even though I was wearing full overalls, steel clad boots, leather apron and sleeves, leather gauntlets and a reactor full face mask, I realised that the top of my head was still exposed to the sparks. I have a thick head of hair and the burning smell set in quite a way before the pain on the noodle hit. Lesson learnt, I now wear a hat as well. Better than the guy in the next booth who welded, checked his phone then leaned on the still red weld seam. Set fire to his overalls and blistered all four fingers on his left hand. Ouch indeed.

After getting a mig bb in the ear welding a hopper sander I added earplugs to my welding gear.

OUCH ,and watch those bic lighters, another guy burnt his skin bad when his bic lighter exsloded in his pocket.and i remember catching ear sparks once also when welding over head mostly, make sure you pants hang over your boots good or you wont like malted steel in your shoe’s at all.GOOD DAY

I’ve got many a pair of holy socks… welding sparks down the tops of shoes can be a real pain… Not to mention setting my self on fire while grinding… I was like man am I ever getting warm, hey, I’m on fire… would you look at that.

Nothing like a long thick beard !!!

I wondered why my shoes were always loose; then I realized my laces were melted in two pieces with weld spatter!

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Here is my answer to sparks in my hair , I have a piece of canvas cable tied to my welding Sheeld , it also stops back light reflecting on the sight glass .
Hope fully I can add a photo !
Thanks Patrick

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