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Calla Lily
04-14-2010, 05:00 PM
I searched, but didn't find this scenario: A priest sex-abuse survivor throws a Molotov cocktail into church during Mass.

Is there any way this:

1: would fail, i.e., the glass would break but the gasoline not explode? Is alcohol (vodka, etc.) less volatile than gasoline here and plausible enough to use?

2: the glass would not break (lands on the carpet) and the device could be put out by smothering or a foolhardy person grabbing it and dousing it in the baptismal font?

Thanks!

Puma
04-14-2010, 05:19 PM
Yes, the glass could break - gasoline doesn't explode, when it's unconfined, it flames up.

Yes, alcohol is less volatile than gasoline.

Your scenario might work if the bowl was deep enough - but gasoline does float on water.

Hope that help. Puma

DeleyanLee
04-14-2010, 05:23 PM
Also remember that it's not the gasoline that catches on fire--it's the fumes from the gasoline. Gas is a liquid and liquid doesn't burn--its fumes do. ;) Which is why not all alcohols burn the same way--not all of them have combustable fumes.

If the glass doesn't break, someone could just step on the burning wick-cloth and extinquish it. It could also just be pulled from the bottle and drowned in the fount, if you prefer. No need to submerge the entire contraption to extinquish the fire.

Anything is possible. Just write it well enough so that you sell it to the reader.

MarkEsq
04-14-2010, 05:24 PM
I had a case recently with a Molotov cocktail fail. The dufus didn't throw it, he placed it on someone's porch. He assumed the wick (cloth) would burn down and ignite the gas in the bottle. But when the flame got low to the neck, it had no air and just went out. Can you do it that way?

Williebee
04-14-2010, 05:29 PM
I was thinking that when the bottle broke through the window, glass shards dragged the rag out of the bottle's neck, separating the flame from the bottle before it hit the ground and broke.

Calla Lily
04-14-2010, 05:33 PM
I love AW.

Puma, thanks for the technical info. Mark, thanks as well. But I do want it thrown in for the startle effect.

Deleyan and Willie, both of your suggestions will work. This is a tell situation anyway--setting up the villain as a great and upstanding guy by his reaction to this story while his true evilness will appear up about 10 chapters later.

Many thanks, gang!

shaldna
04-14-2010, 07:07 PM
1: would fail, i.e., the glass would break but the gasoline not explode?

Yes, it's possible. It depends how things land. It's entirely possible that the flame could go out as it's thrown, it's also possible that the individual components would land without interacting


Is alcohol (vodka, etc.) less volatile than gasoline here and plausible enough to use?

Yes. vodka doesn't burn very well, and gasoline will only explode underpressure. so what you will essentially have is a spill of gasoline that is on fire, rather than an explosion.


2: the glass would not break (lands on the carpet) and the device could be put out by smothering or a foolhardy person grabbing it and dousing it in the baptismal font?


Possible, but unlikley.

I assume that you want this to go out?

I could go into the logistics of bomb making, but I'm at work and I don't really wan tto be arrested.

Calla Lily
04-14-2010, 07:14 PM
Yes, it's possible. It depends how things land. It's entirely possible that the flame could go out as it's thrown, it's also possible that the individual components would land without interacting

Yes. vodka doesn't burn very well, and gasoline will only explode underpressure. so what you will essentially have is a spill of gasoline that is on fire, rather than an explosion.

I assume that you want this to go out?

I could go into the logistics of bomb making, but I'm at work and I don't really wan tto be arrested.

LOL! Please do NOT get arrested in the interests of research. I do want it to go out or be extinguished by someone. Thank you!

PeterL
04-14-2010, 07:19 PM
Or it could just bounce off someone's leg and roll along the floor. without breaking. Just leaving it there would let it burn out slowly. It could be even funnier, if someone used nylon for the wick, it rolls to a stop on the floor, the nylon partly melts and solidifies so that it blocks any gasoline from feeding the flame, and it goes out with most of the gasoline in the bottle.

jclarkdawe
04-14-2010, 08:51 PM
I searched, but didn't find this scenario: A priest sex-abuse survivor throws a Molotov cocktail into church during Mass.

Is there any way this:

1: would fail, i.e., the glass would break but the gasoline not explode? Is alcohol (vodka, etc.) less volatile than gasoline here and plausible enough to use? The glass can break without lighting the gas. It happens. The wick is inserted into the neck of the bottle, but it actually doesn't burn through the neck. When the glass breaks, the force of the landing should cause the gas to splatter in a wide pattern (drop a glass full of water on pavement to see what I mean). However, the neck of the bottle is the strongest point and doesn't tend to break. So unless the splatter hits the area where the wick is, it won't flare up. It happens often enough, but I don't think anyone has developed the statistics for this.

As stated, gas doesn't explode, but flares up very rapidly, with almost explosive force. Aviation gas is the best. Real vodka with a very high proof can burn fairly well, but most of the stuff you can buy (and tolerate drinking) is watered down enough to not work as well. The higher the proof, the more flammable it is. Sterno with some vodka can be fairly effective as a longer burning mix. If I remember right, alcohol has to be 100 proof to burn. The higher the number the better the fire.

2: the glass would not break (lands on the carpet) and the device could be put out by smothering or a foolhardy person grabbing it and dousing it in the baptismal font? Happens all the time. Classic case is using plastic bottles. Wine bottles are not good to use, as their design is very strong. Size matters here. Beer bottles don't contain enough fuel to do much. Of course, too big and it's hard to throw. Half gallon bottles tend to be best.

If it doesn't ignite, it will probably go out on its own. Stomping on the wick will work. It's not being especially foolhardy.

Thanks!

If you watch videos of riots where they're thrown, you'll see how many misfires there are. It is not a reliable weapon.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Calla Lily
04-14-2010, 09:32 PM
Jim, you are a fount of information. *wonders what the QLH squirrels will be throwing now*

Thanks, Peter and Master of Squirrels.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 12:19 AM
I'm from Belfast, and I went to state school, so bomb making is like second nature.

We don't favour MC's because they are unpredicatble. Here we call them 'Petrol bombs'

Slightly more effective are 'pipe bombs' which can be make with a combination of sheep dip (seriously) and sugar, and a length of copper pipe. You can get those things to go 80 feet in the air.

DoomBunny
04-19-2010, 08:53 AM
I'm from Belfast, and I went to state school, so bomb making is like second nature.

We don't favour MC's because they are unpredicatble. Here we call them 'Petrol bombs'

Slightly more effective are 'pipe bombs' which can be make with a combination of sheep dip (seriously) and sugar, and a length of copper pipe. You can get those things to go 80 feet in the air.

Beat me to it. :) I've, uh, seen quite good pipebombs made from match heads. If the gauge of the pipe was too thick, or the ends not correctly sealed, they could fail quite impressively without much damage.

Molotovs are notoriously unreliable, but don't require much planning, so they're good for your purpose. What if he got so worked up implementing his revenge the bottle landed in the font? I like this idea for a scene, all his rage and humiliation building to this moment and he's foiled by bad luck.

SirOtter
04-19-2010, 09:38 AM
Ya'll are forgetting one vital component of the well-made Molotov Cocktail, according to Steal This Book. Broken up bits of styrofoam, or a handful of styrofoam packing peanuts added to whatever accelerant you're using (Hoffman suggested a mixture of gasoline and kerosene) and allowed to soak long enough to absorb the mix will spread the mayhem more effectively. He also suggested a kerosene soaked tampon rather than a regular cloth rag for a fuse. For placing one with a directional intent, sort of a homemade Claymore mine, duct tape a cherry bomb or M-80 to the side of the bottle opposite the direction you wish the fire to spread. Set it down, orient the thing, light the fuse and run like hell.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 12:02 PM
Nail bombs are similar, and devestating.

Calla Lily
04-19-2010, 03:27 PM
DoomBunny, I didn't think of that. :( Now I'm thinking I need to change this scene altogether and move it to the climax. It was supposed to be a lunchtime story deflecting suspicion from the bad guy.

*chases plot bunny with fresh carrots*

And thank you, everyone! Lots of interesting ideas to work with. AWers are the best.

debirlfan
04-20-2010, 08:06 AM
Something to consider - you can't put gasoline out with water - but you can use water on a methanol fire (I think ethanol is the same).

DoomBunny
04-20-2010, 12:12 PM
DoomBunny, I didn't think of that. :( Now I'm thinking I need to change this scene altogether and move it to the climax. It was supposed to be a lunchtime story deflecting suspicion from the bad guy.


Seems like a good deflection to me. :D

Maybe this is also the point where the victim starts to come to terms with his past and gives up on revenge?

Calla Lily
04-20-2010, 03:34 PM
Seems like a good deflection to me. :D

Maybe this is also the point where the victim starts to come to terms with his past and gives up on revenge?

What fun is that? :tongue Actually, what looks like is going to happen is this sweet little old nun who as a teenager was in the Swedish Resistance (helping the Danish Resistance) is going to take retribution into her own hands and shock everyone (because of real wrongs to nuns who are friends of hers and confusing the perpetrator with someone from her past (she's 75 and in early Alzheimer's).

The fun is she's not the MC and there'll be just a bit of foreshadowing in 2-3 places indicating what will happen.

And this is one of the reasons I love writing!