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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Aerosol Cans + Electricity?

    So I had a can of Dustoff, and pretty much wasted the whole thing by turning it upside down and using it as freeze spray, freezing random stuff around the house not needing freezing.

    Anyway, the can's now almost empty, which has me wondering... It has all sorts of warnings about how you had better not incinerate / puncture it. My first thought was that I could get my money's worth by trying to shoot it from a distance, but this plan was somewhat impaired by the fact that I don't own any sort of firearms, nor does anyone I know.

    Tossing it into a bonfire and running like hell crossed my mind, but being a geek, I devised an even more insane plan... Rather than starting a fire, I want to use electricity to heat the can. I figure a couple 100' extension cords would give me plenty of distance... Then just two (thick, to carry a lot of current) wires attached to opposite ends of the (metal) can. Run it through a light switch, hook it all up with the switch off, and then flip the switch from a safe distance.

    In reality, I think I'd just trip a circuit breaker. But what I'm wondering is... would I? Or would this lunatic plot of mine succeed? 15 Amps (what most of my breakers are at) at 120V could generate quite a bit of heat; how warm does a (mostly empty) aerosol can have to get before exploding? And how big of an explosion would ensue? Has anyone been insane enough to try 'incinerating' the aerosol cans, against the warning, to see what happens?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    NY, NY
    I have thrown spray paint cans into fires.. and didnt run that far.
    It didnt explode.. dont know why.. the fire went on for well over 5 hours..
    And it was a big one.. flames reached over 30' in the air.
    [With friends in the middle of woods]
    (dont worry.. we had rocks around.. so no forest fire lol)

    I dont beleive it would work with electricity.
    I think instead, you would short your house, as the electricity would just go through the can.

    If you really want to blow it up, put some explosive under it lol.

  3. #3
    I've exploded aerosol cans a lot and one of my friends is a bit of a pyromaniac. I guess it depends on how much is in the can etc. but you can always try it if you're that bored
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  4. #4
    15 AMP breaker will trip almost immediately. The reason it says not to incinerate / puncture it, is because the can is under pressure, You have went around freezezing things and its almost empty now, you can stab it with a screwdriver and most likely you will just get a little spurt out of it..

    As for throwing it in a fire, now that it's empty absolutley nothing will happen. When the can is pressurized and you apply heat to it, the gas thats in there expands creating even more pressure. So if the can has no more gas in it, you will have to cross your fingers and hope whatever is in there will boil and create enough gas to allow the can to explode.

    Many times flames will find their way to the nozzle melting the plastic and breaking seals, depleating the gas (whatevers left) and the can will do nothing..
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    In my younger days (well, maybe not that long ago! lol) I tried exploding various aerosole cans, although they were usually nearly empty, and I never got any explosion or anything out of them.

    Having said that, I had some idiot kids light a fire in my back lane a few days ago, with a load of paint spray cans, which exploded for a good 30 mins, going pretty high in the air and one even landed on my roof (I was NOT pleased).

    As for electricity, dont think it would do anything, as previously mentioned your circuit would trip almost instantly, long before the can could heat up even enough to explode a full can (not an expert, but im pretty sure thats right).
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