Alan J Fletcher wrote:

12 kW. The flames and ventilation holes are quite large, and you can easily see the flames. I expect that a 130 kW reaction in a 1 L volume would be incandescent, so if there were holes, you would notice.

To TEST it you'd either have to seal it, or at least run a smoke test over the whole surface and see if it sucks in air or expells combustion products.

I draw the distinction between "not NOTICED" and "tested and NOT FOUND".

Actually, with a 12 kW reaction in a closed room you would not only notice most chemical reactions, you would be asphyxiated by many of them. There is no way you can burn something like gasoline without noticing the odor. You would be choking on the fumes. That is a serious assertion. The human nose is one of the best chemical detectors around, capable of detecting ppm amounts of many chemicals, and things like hydrogen sulfide at levels of 0.01 ppm (according to one source I just found).

The role of sulfur in early transistor research was first elucidated when one of the researchers smelled sulfur fumes after producing a batch of devices.

In other words, direct visual observation of light from incandescence, and smelling chemical products with the nose is a TEST as good as any you can perform with instruments. That's what I say to you young wiper-snappers. That's what doctors should learn about making diagnoses.

As far as I know, the only hydrocarbon fuels that you can burn in an enclosed room that would be both safe and not instantly detectable by sense of smell would be butane and hydrogen. I have no idea whether burning beryllium in air would produce an odor, but beryllium is one of the most dangerous elements, and if they were burning it in air, I think they would be dead. I am not being flippant. This is a reasonable way to analyze the likelihood of one reaction or another. It is a variation of the "dead graduate student problem" which proves beyond question that cold fusion is not plasma fusion. (Skeptics think it proves that cold fusion does not exist but I take a different lesson from the fact that cold fusion cells do not kill people with neutrons.)

- Jed

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