Saturday, September 4, 2010

Propane is generally stored and transported in steel cylinders as a liquid with a vapor space above the liquid. The vapor pressure in the cylinder is a function of temperature. When gaseous propane is drawn at a high rate, the latent heat of vaporisation required to create the gas will cause the bottle to cool. (This is why water often condenses on the sides of the bottle and then freezes). In addition, the lightweight, high-octane  compounds vaporize before the heavier, low-octane ones. Thus the ignition properties change as the tank empties. For these reasons, the liquid is often withdrawn using a dip tube. Propane is used as fuel in furnaces for heat, in cooking, as a energy source for water heaters, laundry dryers, barbecues, portable stoves, and motor vehicles. Propane remains a popular choice for barbecues and portable stoves because its low boiling point of −42 °C (−44 °F) makes it vaporize as soon as it is released from its pressurized container. Therefore, no carburetor or other vaporizing device is required; a simple metering nozzle suffices. Propane powers some locomotives, buses, forklifts, taxis and ice resurfacing machines and is used for heat and cooking in recreational vehicles and campers.