: "Russ Stanton" wrote in message
:> It started outside the home in a pile of rags that had been used by :> "professionals?" to apply a linseed oil finish to cabinets in the redone :> kitchen. The rags were piled next to the house, caught fire and the fire :> went up the cedar siding, thru the soffit and into the attic , where it
: When I know I'm going to be producing a bunch of rags like that I keep an
: old paint can full of water outside the garage and the rags go into that
: until I'm ready to dispose of them.
Won't the problem reoccur when the rags dry out (of water), and the
oil starts to oxidize? I've never understood how putting the
ouly rags in water is supposed to halt the problem.
-- Andy Barss
If you put a lid on the can, it won't dry out for months, even years if well
sealed. Being in a can, the rags would not burn very much anyway as the
oxygen would be gone in seconds.
Even a metal can with no water can work.
Bu that still doesn't answer Andrew's concern, which I share. what
happens when you take the oily rags out of the water can and dry them
out? or when you open your no-water can and let fresh oxygen get at
the rags? or if the can gets crushed? The can can only be a temporary
Or do you allow them to start fires in your waste disposal site? I can
see keeping them for kindling, but I do generate enough wooden
kindling to last me throughout a Yukon winter, so I don't need oily
rags in my fireplace or wood stove.
Who spreads out his oily rags to cure/dry and then throws them out,
just like Doug Miller says.
The problem with oily rags is rapid evaporation of the solvents can
cause heat build up. You won't get this problem if the rag is layed
flat because there is no where for the heat to gather. Another way to
dissipate the heat is to have water evaporating along with the oil. As
the oily solvents evaporate the water is also evaporated and the water
vapor carries away much of the heat, disallowing the dangerous build-
up. The oily solvents make the water evaporate faster and the water
makes the oily solvents evaporate slower. All working together to
solve the problem.
Just my educated guess but is based on knowledge of the use of drying
agents and how they work, especially in terms of interaction with
On Wed, 4 May 2011 08:54:50 -0700 (PDT), "SonomaProducts.com"
Evaporation removes heat since it takes heat to turn a liquid into a
gas. Andy's right that it is the oxidation of the oils that cause the
Water prevents the rags from igniting as it limits the amount of
oxygen available for oxidation of the oils.
Evaporation causes cooling, not heating. The reason the oily rags combust
is because the oxidation reaction of drying oils like BLO and tung oil
creates heat. Keeping the rags flat allows the heat to radiate away before
the rags can reach combustion temperature. Note that rags doused with a
non-drying oil, like engine oil or cooking oil, will not self-combust.
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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