burner fuel tank located at the rear of the car

The burner fuel tank (also referred to as the main fuel tank or kerosene tank) on a Stanley started out being copper construction for holding gasoline.  In 1913 when Stanley converted the burner to kerosene the tanks continued to be manufactured of copper and were located under the front seats. With the building of condenser models in 1916 the burner fuel tank was changed to steel construction and moved to the rear of the car.

The burner fuel tank is designed to hold approximately 25 gallons of kerosene. It has an integral level indictor on the side and a short gooseneck filler tube. Unlike the pilot fuel tank, the burner fuel tank is not pressurized.



Petroleum is the name given to the liquid also known as "crude oil" pumped out of the ground. This black-brown liquid contains aliphatic hydrocarbons, or molecules composed of nothing but hydrogen and carbon. The carbon and hydrogen atoms link together in complex molecules or "chains" of different lengths where the length is determined by the number of carbon atoms present in the molecule. A single carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms attached to it is the simplest molecule or chain. Known as methane (CH4), this gas so light that it floats like helium. As carbon and hydrogen atoms are added, the chains get longer and take on different properties and characteristics.

The first four chains -- CH4 (methane), C2H6 (ethane), C3H8 (propane) and C4H10 (butane) -- are all gases, and they boil at -161, -88, -46 and -1 degrees F, respectively (-107, -67, -43 and -18 degrees C). The molecular chains up through C18H32 are all liquids at room temperature, and the chains above C19 are all solids at room temperature.

Each of the different molecules, depending on their chain length, has a progressively higher boiling point. This means that each can be derived from crude oil by boiling the crude oil and separating out each molecule by distillation of the vapors that are emitted by the boiling crude oil. This is what happens in an oil refinery. Crude oil is heated and the vaporization temperature of each petroleum-based product can be distilled out into its gaseous, liquid, or solid state.

The crude oil chains in the C5, C6 and C7 range are all very light, easily vaporized, clear liquids called naphthas. The naphtha product family is used as solvents, as fluids in dry cleaning, as well as paint solvents and other quick-drying products.  Included in this family are alcohols, mineral spirits, lacquer thinners and similar materials.

The next major grouping is the fuel family.  Refined to meet a particular need, fuel oils are mixtures of aliphatic (open chain and cyclic compounds) and aromatic (compounds similar to benzene) petroleum hydrocarbons.  In addition, they may contain small amounts of nitrogen, sulfur, and other elements as additives.  The chains from C7H16 through C11H24 are blended together and used as gasolines.  Members of the the gasoline group vaporize at temperatures below to near the boiling point of water. That's why gasoline evaporates.  Kerosene is another member of the fuel family with molecular chains in the C12 to C15 range. Kerosene will eventually evaporate but takes a long time to do so. Along with kerosene are the diesel and aviation fuels. This group also includes the heavier fuel oils (like heating oil for houses).  Primarily their boiling point ranges, chemical additives, and uses distinguish each of the blends from other members of the fuel oil family.  All fuel oils are liquids at room temperature, although they can evaporate.  The rates at which various fuel oils evaporate is dependent on the temperature and the composition of the individual fuel oil.  Most fuel oils are yellowish to light brown in color and generally have a kerosene-like odor, are flammable, and burn at temperatures between 177 C and 329 C.

After the kerosene family are the lubricating oils. These oils no longer vaporize at normal temperatures but need to be heated to a high temperature to vaporize. For example, engine oil can run all day at 250 degrees F (121 degrees C) without vaporizing at all. Oils go from very light (like 3-in-1 Oil) through various thicknesses of motor oil. There are also the steam cylinder oils and the thick gear oils in the lubrication class. The final members of the lubrication group are the semi-solid greases. Molecular chains above the C20 range are generally solids. This molecular group starts with paraffin wax, then moves into the tars and asphaltic bitumens that are used to make asphalt roads. All of these different substances come from crude oil with the only difference being the length of the carbon chains.

Just as a can of "regular" soft drink has more calories than a can of "diet" soft drink, so too does a gallon of diesel or kerosene fuel have more Btus than a gallon of ethanol fuel, methanol fuel, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas, or hydrogen (these are different types of clean alternative fuels).  An advantage of kerosene as a fuel is that is provides about 12% more heat per gallon as compared to gasoline.  More heat means more steam and faster steaming per gallon of fuel carried by the car.

The energy content of a gallon of gasoline ranges from about 109,000 to 125,000 BTU (British Thermal Units). The average is about 114,000 BTU. The energy content of kerosene is between about 128,000 and 130,000 BTU per gallon.  Thus kerosene has a lower heating value rating than gasoline as less liquid fuel is required to obtain a given amount of heat energy.  The heating value of a fuel is defined as the total heat in BTUs obtained from combustion of a specified amount of fuel and its stoichiometrically correct amount of air, both being at 60F when combustion starts, and the combustion products being cooled to 60F before heat release is measured.

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