Hexamine fuel tablet
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A hexamine fuel tablet, also known as Esbit, or heat tablet is a form of solid fuel in tablet form. The tablets burn smokelessly, have a high energy density, do not liquify while burning and leave no ashes. Invented in Murrhardt, Germany in 1932, the main component is hexamine.
Esbit (which stands for Erich Schumms Brennstoff in Tablettenform or Erich Schumm's Fuel in Tablets) is a genericized trademark as it is used to refer to similar products made by other companies.
The tablets are used for cooking by campers, the military and relief organizations. The tablets are often used with disposable metal stoves that are included with Combat ration packs. Backpackers concerned with ultra light gear, tend to buy or make their own much lighter stove. An Esbit stove can be made by cutting off the bottom of an aluminum pop can, and turning it upside down to support the fuel tab; a pot can be supported above this with a circle of mesh chicken wire or tent pegs. Although not ideal, fuel tab can be placed on a rock or on the dirt, with a pot supported above by rocks.
Another common use is to provide a safe heat source for model steam engines, such as those manufactured by Mamod.
- Ultra light weight compared to other stove options.
- Compact; entire stove system and fuel can be stored inside cooking pot; use plastic bags inside and out due to burned residue.
- Boils water, but not ideal for any cooking requiring simmering.
- Not particularly powerful stove fuel, and sensitive to wind; far more efficient with a surrounding foil windscreen.
- Expensive fuel and less widely available, compared to alternatives such as alcohol or petrol stove fuels.
- Hexamine tablets give off noxious fumes, requiring foods being cooked to be contained in a receptacle such as a pot or pan. Burned tabs will leave a sticky dark residue on the bottom of pots.
Various names for Hexamine tablets circulate, some of which are:
- Hexi Tabs
- Hexamine Tabs
- ESBIT Tabs
- Fuel Tabs
- HEF Tabs
- Hexi Blocks
- Esbit Compagnie GmbH website
- Esbit MSDS
- Typical Esbit stove
- Lightweight Esbit stove
- Lightweight Esbit stove system