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What burns faster- pellets or bricks?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Adios Pantalones, Jul 31, 2008.

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  1. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Do bricks have a binder in them?

    I assume that bricks and pellets are largely the same thing, but that pellets having a huge surface area will throw heat faster. I'm asking because I may want to have a little on hand to experiment with when I fire my wood-fired pottery kiln later this month to see if I can get a temperature jump out of them.

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  2. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not 100% sure about the binder in bricks, but I would assume they are only held together by the immense pressure used when they are formed.

    I'd bet the farm that pellets would burn faster than bio bricks given equal amounts of each.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My experience when trying to burn a mass of pellets in a wood stove is that they sit and smolder. It seems like you would need a stove like a coal burner with air feed underneath them to get them to burn well. A mass of bricks however, do burn quite nicely.
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    The kiln has lots of air from underneath and gets a coal bed a foot deep or more, so I think the pellets will burn (especially when I'm in the 1700-2400 F range).
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    biobricks, like pellets are a 100% natural product.

    there are 2 predominant substances in both pellets and bricks, cellulose and lignen.

    the lignen is the binder. this substance has been used for years as a bookbinder. it is a natural water soluble substance (which is why pellets blow up and fall apart when they get wet)

    as for which burns faster, its gotta be pellets , pound for pound pellets present a far larger surface area, as well as a smaller individual mass so the whole pellet will heat to combustible temperature faster by far and with the larger amount of surface area will release hydrocarbons for pyrolosis at a much faster rate.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Try it out in the labs Mike. Put 10 lbs of pellets in a wood stove and see how they burn. Not too much heat is what I saw.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Thanks guys.

    BeGreen- in the kiln, I think it will take off like a rocket. There's enough air from underneath that a coal bed a foot deep will burn out in probably a half hour (13.5ish cu ft firebox)
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Getting air underneath them is the key. It should be an interesting experiment. What are you going to use to stop them from falling through the holes in the grating?
  9. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    There are 3 "mouse holes" under the floor that are maybe 4.5"x4.5", with a 1"thick piece of kiln shelf over them (with broken bits of shelf keeping an air space) to keep them from getting clogged up.
    I won't be burning pellets alone, but will be adding them along with wood. Air is sucked also (in addition to coming in under the floor and through mouse holes) from the top of the firebox, through the wood charge which is suspended above the coal bed so that flames are downdrafted (natural convection driven) towards the coal bed where they are further heated- so maintaining coals and air control etc is important or the temp will not continue to rise (to about 2400F). Maintaining coals is sometimes an issue when I burn pine, so I often add shorter lengths and offcuts that will not be suspended by each end on the hobs bricks. I am hoping that pellets may be a good emergency fuel that I can dump in and will fall through the wood into the ash pit and provide some heat from below for this process.

    I'll take good pics next firing. The flame coming out the chimney 15' up is pretty neat at night- and aseeing things glowing almost white hot in the chamber is incredible... if you don't melt the camera taking a pic.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Pics would be great. I saw a firing once in Cornwall CT. It was pretty impressive.
  11. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    if they are just dumped in there on the floor of the firebox of course they will not burn readily ,however if air is allowed under them and they are suspended (such as in a "prometheus" basket ) they will burn at the rate that air is supplied to them.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yah, I didn't have a basket and my hands got too hot holding them up :lol:
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