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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,
<< 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.
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.