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Fequently Asked Questions
What is methanol?

Also known as “wood alcohol,” methanol is a clear, flammable liquid.  Methanol occurs naturally in the environment because of biological processes conducted by vegetation, microorganisms, and other living species. Methanol is produced synthetically through the catalytic steam reformation of a hydrocarbon feedstock, typically natural gas, over a nickel catalyst.Methanol also can be produced from a wide range of renewable resources.

How is methanol produced?

Methanol can be produced from any carbon-based source.  These would include: natural gas, coal, municipal wastes, landfill gas, wood wastes, and seaweed.Methanol is primarily produced by steam- reforming natural gas to create a synthesis gas (combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide), which is fed into a reactor vessel in the presence of a nickel catalyst to produce water vapor and methanol.  A distillation is step is used to remove water from the finished methanol.  

What are some common uses of methanol?

Methanol has a number of uses.  As a basic building block for hundreds of chemical products, methanol is being used safely and effectively in everything from plastics and paints, to construction materials and windshield washer fluid.It is the principal ingredient in various organic chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, chloromethane, and MTBE. Since 1965, methanol has been the only racing fuel used by the Indianapolis 500.Methanol also is an ideal hydrogen carrier fuel for fuel cell technology applications.  In addition, methanol is used for denitrification in municipal wastewater treatment plants and can be an excellent turbine fuel for electric power generation.

How much methanol is produced?

Global methanol production capacity stands at about 35 million metric tons per year (close to 12 billion gallons).There are ten operating methanol plants in the United States, with a combined production capacity of nearly 3.7 million metric tons (1.3 billion gallons).  Plus Canadian supply.

North American demand

The Total North Americian Demand for methanol is over 10 million metric tons, with imports from Trinidad, Chile, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea  making up the remaining supply.

World demand increases approximately two to three per cent per year

Antifreeze Poisoning and your pets As winter approaches, many people will "winterize" their automobiles, including a change of antifreeze. Take care to keep both new and used antifreeze in a sealed container, out of reach of pets.

Clean up any spills of antifreeze on driveways and other hard surfaces.

Dogs and cats find antifreeze quite tasty and if they find antifreeze they'll drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic causing kidney failure that is often fatal in just a few days.

Very small amounts of antifreeze can be fatal. If a cat walks through a puddle of antifreeze and then licks its paws, it can ingest enough antifreeze to cause death.

About five tablespoons can kill a medium sized dog. If you see your pet drinking antifreeze, or are at all suspicious that your pet may have had access to antifreeze, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Signs of antifreeze poisoning depend upon the time after ingestion. In the first few hours after ingestion the pet may be depressed and staggering and may have seizures. They may drink lots of water, urinate large amounts and vomit. The pet may appear to feel better but in a day or two get much worse as the kidneys fail. Signs of kidney failure include depression and vomiting. The amount of urine they pass will often decrease to a very small amount.

The diagnosis of antifreeze poisoning is made by blood and urine tests although some of these tests become negative by the time kidney failure develops.

Once kidney failure develops, most animals will die.

Antifreeze itself is not very toxic but it is broken down by the liver to other components that cause the damage.

Why are Phosphates used in antifreeze/coolant?

In the North American markets, a phosphate inhibitor is included in many formulas to provide several important functions that help reduce automotive cooling system damage. The benefits provided by the phosphate include:

Protect aluminum engine components by reducing cavitations corrosion during high speed driving.
Provide for corrosion protection to ferrous metals.
Act as a buffer to keep the antifreeze mixture alkaline. This prevents acid build-up that will damage or destroy metal engine parts.

European manufacturers feel that these benefits are achievable with inhibitors other than phosphate. Their main concerns with phosphate containing products are the potential for solids dropout when mixed with hard water. Solids can collect on cooling system walls forming what is known as scale. This concern comes from the fact that European water is much harder than water in the Canada. Because phosphate "softens" water by forming solids of calcium or magnesium salts that can dropout of solution, there is potential for cooling system blockage. The phosphate level in most North American and Japanese antifreeze formulas do not generate significant solids.

 Scorpion’s modern antifreeze formulations are designed to minimize the formation of scale. The small amount of solids formed presents no problem for cooling systems or to water pump seals.


What the difference between EG and PG coolants and antifreezes

Both ethylene glycol (EG) and propylene glycol (PG) are used as the antifreeze base. From here the additional additives and inhibitors are added. Each glycol has supporters, although the best choice depends on the intended use. There are several considerations to be made when choosing an antifreeze, the most important being performance. In the area of performance there is very little difference in EG and PG. Additives determine most performance criteria so all coolants supplied by a respectable manufacturer will perform well. The one major difference in EG and PG is toxicity.

Because the most persuasive reason to use PG instead of EG based antifreeze is toxicity, we should discuss a little about toxicity. The first thing to think about is the difference between acute and chronic toxicity. Acute toxicity refers to toxicity that has a short duration. If you survive poisoning with an acute toxin, there are usually no lasting effects. Chronic toxicity on the other hand is something that lasts a long time. When poisoned with a chronic toxin, symptoms may not appear for a long time and they may last indefinitely.

PG differs from EG in both acute and chronic toxicity's. In antifreeze we are most concerned about one time accidental ingestion. Therefore our interest is in acute toxicity. The acute toxicity of PG, especially in humans, is substantially lower than that of EG. Propylene glycol, like alcohol, is not toxic at low levels. In applications where ingestion is a possibility, PG based antifreeze is a prudent choice. EG is the most common base used in the manufacturing of antifreeze.

Another consideration is that all antifreezes pick up heavy metal contamination during service. When contaminated (particularly with lead) any used antifreeze can be considered hazardous. Because of metal contamination many people feel that the toxicity of used antifreeze is the same regardless of glycol. This is where we look at chronic toxicity. PG is not a chronic toxin. EG and heavy metals are chronic toxins. Heavy metals, on the other hand are not acute toxins at the levels found in used antifreeze. For this reason PG based antifreezes, are much safer for people and pets in case of accidental ingestion even after use.

What about methanol poisoning?

Methanol can be harmful if swallowed, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled.  Ingestion of as little as one to four ounces can cause irreversible injury to the nervous system, blindness or death. 

Methanol is already present within the human body in small quantities from eating fruits and Vegetables, and drinking diet soda containing artificial sweeteners.

When properly contained and handled, methanol can be a safe and effective product for a wide range of applications.

What's In My Cooling System?

Your cooling system is what keeps your car from having a meltdown. If you didn't have some way to cool things off, your engine would turn into a solid block of useless metal in no time flat. All of the parts that make up the cooling system have one goal of moving antifreeze around the engine so it can absorb and dissipate heat. The basic system is made up of the following components:


coolingsystem

1.radiator
2.radiator top hose
3.radiator bottom hose
4.water pump
5.thermostat
6.thermostat housing
7.electric cooling fan
8.thermo-time switch

The numbers correspond with the diagram. Below is a definition of each component.


Radiator The radiator is the most prominent part of the system. Coolant that has traveled through the engine is pumped through the tubes of the radiator and is cooled off for another round.


Radiator Hoses Your cooling system has a number of rubber hoses that move the fluid from one place to the other. These need to be replaced before they become brittle and cracked.


Water Pump The water pump does what you think it does - pumps the coolant through the system. The pump is belt driven, except in the case of some race cars that use an electric water pump.


Thermostat Your engine isn't always the same temperature. When you start it on a cold morning, you want it to get warm quickly. If you stop in traffic, you want it to cool itself off. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant so that it cools down more or less depending on the temperature of the coolant. It rests in a housing just after the radiator bottom hose.


Electric Cooling Fan Many cars these days have an electric fan for either primary or added cooling. The fan draws air through the radiator when you aren't moving fast enough to get things cooled down.


Thermo Time Switch Also known as the fan switch, this is the temperature sensor that tells the electric fan when to blow.