Burning Offerings Part 3: Preliminary Burn Test Results

Since the information was so elusive for me to find I decided to publish what I had- including my own burn test results- in the hopes that maybe it helps someone else looking to burn offerings in the future. Initially, though, all the information in this series appeared in one article along with these results. After so many people showed interest in it, I decided to break it into a multi-part series with more in depth information.

This post contains the original results of the preliminary burn test; the bowl arrived and I proceeded to spend the afternoon performing burn tests in order to check fuel ratios and container performance. 

Vintage, dated approximately 1980;
Stainless Steel, grade unknown;
Measures 6″ wide (handle to handle)
and 5″ high (with lid applied).

91% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol was applied to the center bottom of the container;
done using a medical syringe (no needle) in ml measurements.

A small piece of natural linen paper measuring 2″ x 2″;
Paper was lit with lighter then dropped into the container.

Test #1
Measurement of fuel: 0.1 milliliter
Result: No burn; Alcohol partially evaporated before attempt to light. Not enough remaining vapors to facilitate burning.

Test #2
Measurement of fuel: 0.4 milliliter
Result: Short burn; 3 seconds time with short flames halfway up the container. Outer container slightly warm to the touch but not uncomfortable.

Test #3
Measurement of fuel: 0.5 milliliter
Result: Medium burn; 13 seconds time with flames over container’s edge. Outer container hot to the touch, and handles slightly warm but not uncomfortable.

Test #4
Measurement of fuel: 0.8 milliliter
Result: Good burn; 20 seconds with flames over container’s edge. Outer container hot to the touch and handles slightly hot.

Test #5
Measurement of fuel: 2.0 milliliters
Result: Great burn; 32 seconds with high flames. All portions of the container are hot to the touch.

Test #6
Measurement of fuel: 6.0 milliliters
Result: Excellent burn; 83 seconds with high flames. All areas of the container very hot to the touch and soot patterns are visible around interior edges of the container.

These are just the preliminary tests done without offerings. It was done without offerings for several reasons- the primary one being safety. I needed to assess the structure of the bowl, test whether or not it was thin enough to make Thermal Shock a concern, and figure out the best amount of fuel to use. An additional reason, too, was to assess whether or not I would need to put an insulator material in the bottom, and whether or not burning items in the bowl would create soot markings- which is important to know, because if it does then you will then need to wash it after each burn in order to prevent weakening of the metal.

After the results of the test, I will definitely be doing a few things differently.

First, I likely will use an insulator in the bottom. I’m not sure if I’ll use sand or something else that is non flammable… But I am definitely not a fan of how my particular container likes to disperse the alcohol to the edges. An insulator such as sand or fire safe rocks in the bottom might help to control that so it’s at least worth experimenting with various insulators.

Secondly, I will definitely not be exceeding 6.0 ml of fuel due to the height of the flames at that ratio… One minute is sufficient enough to successfully burn off any applied offerings, so additional fuel is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. However, I will likely end up adjusting my fuel ratios for each burn depending on the type of offerings being given at the time (higher for liquid, lower for foodstuffs) in order to account for the item’s own flammability levels. This will likely require additional testing later as well in order to find the best ratio for each type of offering.

For a list of IriPol resources, including those I used to inform the opinions mentioned in this article, please view this page here.tumblr_od9z4kycsq1urp3f5o1_540


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