Our lab grade calcium acetete appears as a white solid and is hygroscopic. It is slightly soluble in methanol and insoluble in acetone, ethanol, and benzene. It is popularly used to make Ethanol Jelly, also known as "California Snowballs".
You can easily create your own ethanol jelly fire-starter by mixing a saturated solution of calcium acitate with ethyl alcohol. This way the ethanol fuel is more practical to store and transport.
Here is the recipe:
- First make a saturated calcium acetate solution by mixing 17 gm calcium acetate with 40ml of water.
- Next, in a separate container, measure about 100ml of ethyl alcohol.
- Add the ethyl alcohol to the calcium acetate solution and stir. You should see a jelly-like substance form instantly.
- Pour off any excess liquid and store the ethanol jelly in a ziplock bag until needed.
Historical note...the basic commercial mixture was invented around 1900 with an evolution since of names. In 1918 the manufacturer promoted the product as a gift for a soldier going overseas. NOW the mixture is commercially called STERNO to use as a food warmer.