We’re going to talk about the MSR Reactor stove system. The Reactor systems consists of a pot and a very efficient cookstove that are designed to work together to create a stove that will perform consistently in all environmental conditions and across all fuel canister conditions. The thing that makes the Reactor different from every other canister stove is that it is a pressure regulated stove. Why is this important? Well, let take into example the PocketRocket which is one of the best selling MSR stoves. This stove, and all other canister fuel stoves, will run at the pressure of the canister. Pressure and temperature are proportional meaning that as it gets colder the pressure in the canister is going to drop lower and lower. Volume of fuel in the canister and pressure are also proportional, so as the canister is used and becomes less full, the pressure is also going to decrease. These are two problems that plague all canister fuel stoves. The engineers at MSR set out to solve that problem. Recognizing that pressure was the driving force, the first thing that they did was to regulate the pressure on this stove. This little metal disc that you see on the bottom of the reactor stove is a pressure regulator. It effectively takes every ounce of fuel that comes out of this canister and to approx 13psi. Why 13psi.? It is a very low pressure setting for a stove like this. A typical Isopro canister will run at about 60-65 psi., at room temperature, when brand new which means that even in very cold conditions and on a nearly empty canister you are still going to get a very consistent burn and a consistent flame out of the Reactor stove. The challenge was not to pressure regulate it. The challenge was to at very low pressure to get a stove to actually boil water in a reasonable amount of time. To contain or have the same performance characteristics that another canister fuel stove would have at room temperature. The answer to the “how do they do it” questions lies in the system. It’s not just the stove and it’s not just the pot, it’s the system. We are going to take a very low pressure stove and create a flame that is a radiant burner. What we mean by a radiant burner is that unlike most stove that have a rising blue flame, think Bunsen burner and high school chemistry. You are going end up with a glowing surface, think the surface of the sun, think of the way the suns heat can hit your face on a even cold winters day and you would still feel it. It is a very efficient heat source and we wanted to duplicate that in this burner. Simply having a radiant burner does not create the most efficient environment. What we need to do is to get the cookware to work together with that radiant burner. So what MSR did was designed an anodized aluminum cook pot. Why anodized aluminum? Because anodized aluminum is the best conductor of heat and results in a pot that is very light, yet still very efficient at conducting the heat through its material and into the water that is on the inside. On the bottom of the pot you will see that there are some heat sink fins. These fins are designed to increase the surface area on the bottom of the pot, capture as much heat as possible, and transfer it through that anodized aluminum very efficiently into the water that you are trying to boil. Around the outside of the pot we have shield, a shroud if you will, that is designed to incorporate over top of the burner head so that there is no airspace between the pot and the top of the burner head. All other stoves are designed to need allot more air to complete the combustion reaction. With the Reactor, the air is entrained before the flame and only before the flame. So, the Reactor is designed more efficiently to only need air to be infused into the system early on. There is no way that wind can pass between the burner head and t he cook pot bottom and carry your heat off to some other place. All of the heat is going to get jammed through the aluminum on the bottom of this pot, into the water that you are trying to boil, so the you very efficiently, effectively, and quickly boil your water and get on to doing what you have set down to do and that is to eat.
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