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[pct-l] Cat Stove -Aluminum vs. Steel

In a message dated 2/20/02 9:18:34 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
Chris.Ratliff@asml.com writes:

<< Did an experiment last night with two versions of the Cat Stove.  The 
first version was a steel version of the cat stove using tuna cans and the 
second version was cat food cans(aluminum), both had nearly the same 
dimensions (less than .100 difference) and were the same in all other 
 The conclusion:  Aluminum boils water faster by about 1.5 minutes
 Reason why: Aluminum has a higher radiative reflectivity.  This means an 
aluminum enclosure will contain heat better than an equivalent steel 
 Initially I was too cheap/conservationist to buy the cat food because I do 
not have a cat, but I could not get my pint boiling times down to less than 7 
minutes.  This is when I realized that the can material may have something to 
do with it.  With aluminum the boiling times are down to 5.5 minutes.
 This information may already have circulated without my knowledge, or I may 
have a flawed experiment.  Let me know if anyone can confirm or disprove.
 Christopher Ratliff

Something is wrong here, but I'm not sure what.  First, your boil time should 
be closer to 4 minutes if you're trying to boil one pint of cold water.  I 
suspect from your times that you're heating a quart of water.  

A bit of background:  The CatStove is a lightweight version of my original 
tuna can stove (steel).  I still carry my original tuna can stove, which 
weighs a little bit more but is indestructible.  (Anyone hiking the AT this 
year who wants to check it out can just ask.  I'm starting NOBO about April 7 
from Springer Mtn, GA.)  This stove has served me well on 1,500 miles of the 
PCT ('99), and the JMT ('00), and Brian used it on part of his '01 Triple 
Crown hike (after his CatStove and the rest of his pack were lost by 
Greyhound between Albuquerque, NM  and Bennington, VT.)  

I confess (!) that I went to the CatStove not so much to save an ounce, but 
because "Charlie Tuna" changed the dimensions of their cans.  I could no 
longer find steel cans to make the tuna can stove.

OK, even so, I have noticed no great difference in performance between the 
aluminum and steel versions of the stove.  Either will boil a pint of water 
in 4 to 5 minutes in good conditions.  

PS:  Chris, since we live in the same neighborhood, I hope we can get 
together and find out what's different with our tests/experiences.  Give me a 
call at (650) 941-7978.