Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Firework chemicals from white phosphorus

AdamAlden - 7-4-2022 at 01:59

I've been wanting to make white phosphorus again and was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what to do with it once I made it. I want to act fast as it degrades quickly into plain red phosphorus (well not completely but it does get contaminated with red phosphorus.

My question is does anything come to mind? It would have to be easy to make like... Mix this chemical with the white phosphorus to make this chemical. XD

How would white phosphorus react to a dilute nitric acid? or sulfuric acid? would the resulting compound make a colored fire?

Ive been researching laws on making fireworks at home and it seems like id be able to screw around in the back yard as long as I dont sell or transport.

Ormarion - 7-4-2022 at 02:21

Uh..well reading this i feel like you are not really aware about white phosphorus toxicity wich is near cyanide DL50. I would HIGHLY recommend you to not make white phosphorus if you don't have any real project related to it (even if it's very dangerous you can make P2O5 from it for example). Especially if you plan to make "fireworks" from it, there is a reason why it is used as a chemical weapon...I hope you will consider this message, we don't want you to hurt yourself or anyone else

[Edited on 7-4-2022 by Ormarion]

woelen - 7-4-2022 at 03:30

White phosphorus has no place in fireworks!

There are much better fuels and much safer ones. Sulfur, metal powders (Al, Al/Mg, Fe), certain sugars, other organics.
Many oxidizers explode with white phosporus on contact or self-ignite.

Even red phosphorus, although it is non-toxic, has little use in pyrotechnics, due to its flammability. With many oxidizers it makes very sensitive mixes (e.g. Armstrong's mix, which is very dangerous), but this is nothing compared to mixtures with white phosphorus.

Besides that, white phosphorus is extremely poisonous. Appr. 100 mg can kill a grownup person, it is more than twice as toxic as cyanides. It also is more insidious, it has long-term effects and may introduce severe long-lasting health issues if you are exposed to it frequently, or in a high dose.

Herr Haber - 7-4-2022 at 04:46

White phosphorus is as much a chemical weapon as picric acid. Incendiary, yes but even then most of the time it's not intented as such.

The only use I can see for phosphorus in fireworks is with the red allotrope: on the matchbox that will help you light your fuze.
Armstrong mixture mentioned by Woelen is also known as a death mix.

If you are going to make fireworks you should maybe read Conklin.

Sulaiman - 7-4-2022 at 05:26

As a youth in England I played with white P,
it behaved as expected.
Some time ago here in Malaysia I bought 500g white P for some special effects,
due to ambient temperature here white P is not phosphorescent,
it bursts into flames within a minute of exposure to air.
I guess that southern California summer temperatures would also cause white P to auto-ignite.
White P does not burn like wood etc.
it throws flaming balls of molten P around - extremely hazardous.
Unless you have a really good reason to, I advise not playing with white P for any purpose.

Certainly one of the scariest chemicals that I've owned.
(so scary that I burned off the remaining stock rather than store it in a domestic environment)

Antiswat - 19-4-2022 at 07:17

i think you need to start off by playing a bit around with matches (ironically...) and then aim for making more generic mixes
i would advice one mixture for you but its a bit dancing with the devil as its prone to blowing up loudly in open air or when mixing it up
by any means start out with small amounts and forget about white phosphorus


MadHatter - 19-4-2022 at 07:58

Red P is banned for use in most consumer fireworks in the U.S. with the
exception of things like friction/impact sensitive materials such as party poppers,
toy gun caps, etc..

ยง 1507.2 Prohibited chemicals.

Fireworks devices shall not contain any of the following chemicals:

(a) Arsenic sulfide, arsenates, or arsenites.
(b) Boron.
(c) Chlorates, except:
(1) In colored smoke mixtures in which an equal or greater amount of sodium bicarbonate is included.
(2) In caps and party poppers.
(3) In those small items (such as ground spinners) wherein the total powder content does not exceed
4 grams of which not greater than 15 percent (or 600 milligrams) is potassium,sodium, or barium chlorate.
(d) Gallates or gallic acid.
(e) Magnesium (magnesium/aluminum alloys, called magnalium, are permitted).
(f) Mercury salts.
(g) Phosphorus (red or white). Except that red phosphorus is permissible in caps and party poppers.
(h) Picrates or picric acid.
(i) Thiocyanates.
(j) Titanium, except in particle size greater than 100-mesh.
(k) Zirconium.

As a person who temporarily lost my eyebrows due to Armstrong's mixture
I agree with others. Don't use phosphorus(any form) in fireworks.

bluamine - 19-4-2022 at 08:52

If you're looking to make red phosphorus I think you have to use a solvent like benzene, chloroform, and carbon disulfide and wait until the the reaction in light reaches its end