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The hand blaster, hand blaster ball is the name given to a pyrotechnic toy, always available in pair of two, which appears as spherical items that upon strong contact generate a loud crack, without fire or sparks.
Hand blasters consist of two ceramic balls, coated in a waxy layer containing mixture of potassium chlorate, sulfur, glue and powdered glass (silica), similar to the caps from toy cap gun. They are colored in different colors, like red/blue, red/green, yellow/green, yellow/black, etc.
The balls are initiated either by striking each against the other, or by hitting one ball against a coarse hard surface, preferably containing sand (like concrete). When the coated surfaces of the two balls hit together, there is a cap-like blast produced. The resulting detonation releases a sulfurous smell, which comes from the resulting sulfur dioxide of the strike reaction.
Availability and uses
Hand blasters can be bought from some toy stores or street vendors. They can also be bought online.
Hand blasters can be used as source of shock sensitive powder for pyrotechnics. While one could also isolate potassium chlorate from them, the amount obtained is small.
Hand blasters can be used in scientific experiments as demonstration of activation energy.