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Author: Subject: Danger of flash powders and my stupid injury
mech252
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sad.gif posted on 2-3-2019 at 06:56
Danger of flash powders and my stupid injury


English isnt my first language so there can be gramar mistages...

This happened to me at time when i had no experience with flash powders and i underestimated them ...
I was testing some pyrotechnic mixtures. Every time i made 1g of mixture and ignited it directly. I started with fountain conpositions and then moved to flash powders, first i tried some aluminium based flashes and then i wanted to try some magnesium flashes. It was 50/50 magnesium ,barium nitrate mixture and i ignitet is as others directly witch was something i will never do again.
I felt short sting on two of my fingers and i was completly flashblinded. As soon is i could see something i looked at my two fingers and they were covered in white-black layer, so i washed it of. First i thought its just 1th degree burn with small (about 5cm or 0.5 ing wide) 2th degree. Later it turned out to be one big fairly deep 2th degree burn (5 cm or 2 inch long and 3 cm or 1 inch wide). It healed slowly and i still have big well visible red spots...
I never ignite mixtures directly since then and you shouldnt either...


[Edited on 2-3-2019 by mech252]
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MineMan
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[*] posted on 2-3-2019 at 14:27


I have certianly done the same with PP and sodium benzoate. It was on a Kleenex and I lit the Kleenex. Sorry to hear about your accident...

You seem young? I think we have all made mistakes like this, it seems energetic substances always surprise us, even when they should not.
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johnmay
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[*] posted on 3-3-2019 at 00:18


Yeah, every starting pyro kid has to have their hands burnt, thats the way the lessons are learned.
You should try using some kind of lit piece of stick that will give you some distance and you will be fine.
Some kind of good, resistant gloves are handy, like welding class or something.

Learn your lesson and take care.

Regards,
JM.
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sodium_stearate
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[*] posted on 3-3-2019 at 09:00
when a rocket is not a rocket.


I hear ya. My first real lesson about the imminent
dangers that lurk in unexpected, or not well thought out
situations was this story from back when I was
about 14 years old:

A friend and I had been experimenting with various
ways to make small rockets. Match-heads clipped from
wooden matches were one source of fuel we found
that worked somewhat.

We'd had some luck filling small cardboard tubes with
the match heads and then sealing the top and making
a nozzle on the bottom. Attach it to a stick, and it would
go up a short distance kind of like a bottle rocket.

From there, we made the transition to filling small
steel used CO2 cartridges with the match heads.
We'd stick a fuse in the open end, light it, and get back.
The result was that the escaping gas would cause the
cartridge to go zooming off, spinning wildly on some
unpredictable path.

Adding fins to it did not help.

So, one day we got the bright idea of turning it into
a sort of mortar arrangement. The idea was to
take about a 3 foot length of copper pipe and drive it
into the ground. The pipe could be aimed at an angle.
We thought for sure this would guide the cartridge
out in a straight line of flight.

So, one day when we had the pipe in the ground
and we were ready, I did the honors. I lit the fuse
and slipped the cartridge down into the pipe, where it
slid down to the bottom.

We waited a few seconds for the flight of the cartridge
as we expected to see it come launching out of the tube.

We were standing right there.

What did it actually do?

BOOM!!!! It blew the copper pipe wide open
at ground level! Peeled it just like a banana.
The top few feet of pipe went flying several feet away,
and many pieces of sharp copper shrapnel stuck in
nearby trees and in the wooden side of his parent's
garage.

No injuries to us.

But we both stood there dumbfounded and stunned
by what had just happened! Imagine what could have
happened to us if that flying copper and steel had hit us?

By the way, no remains of the cartridge were ever found.

That still stands to this day as lesson #1 in
"always expect the unexpected" :o

[Edited on 3-3-2019 by sodium_stearate]




"Opportunity is missed by most people
because it is dressed in overalls and it
looks like work" T.A. Edison
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Linus1208
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 13:44


Quote: Originally posted by johnmay  

You should try using some kind of lit piece of stick that will give you some distance and you will be fine.


I often use a rake with a sparkler attached to it's end when I'm experimenting with new flash compositions, it gives you enough distance, time and heat to safely ignite it.
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Lion850
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 14:31


When I was in high school some 45 years ago we made pipe bombs. Take 40cm of copper pipe. Drill small hole in the middle. Hammer flat and then over itself one end. Fill some 75% with our home made mix of potassium nitrate, sulphur, and coal dust. Hammer flat and over the second end. Put in a large concrete barrel in the back yard, push a lit match into the hole and run away. Fortunately the mix burnt slow. It would start to blow out the hole, sometimes explode after some 10 or 20 seconds but other times just blow. Neighbour only once complained when the bang woke their baby.

I do remember 2 close calls around that time. I once held a teaspoon of sodium peroxide and aluminium powder and ignited it with a drop of water. Was left with a face covered with white powder and flash blind for a minute or so. On another occasion I chucked a large piece of sodium into the dogs water bowl and was watching it burn from a few meter away when it exploded. I was plashed and my eyes burned, I shouted so much my mom woke from her Sunday afternoon nap, ran out and hosed me off.
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SWIM
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 17:04


Mech 252, also use safety glasses or better yet a visor.

Protecting the eyes is most important, but avoiding burns to the face is also important.
Its the one place where you probably most want to avoid scars.

First time I blew up a CO2 cartridge was in my front yard.
I was lucky to not catch any shrapnel, but also unlucky in that a piece of shrapnel cut the phone line to the house, which was about 4 meters above ground level.
I just pled ignorance when the parents got home.

BTW: Your English is actually better than many native speakers (at least here in the USA).




Amanita Vaginata: The mushroom you can't talk about without people thinking you're trying to imply something.
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caterpillar
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[*] posted on 4-7-2021 at 05:13


Same situation, KClO3 + Al powder. A few gr only.



Women are more perilous sometimes, than any hi explosive.
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katyushaslab
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[*] posted on 4-7-2021 at 07:26


This is exactly why I heavily encourage people to use electrical ignition, even for "small" amounts of compositions when testing. That way you get to stand well back and push a satisfying button.

Nichrome wire is cheap, lengths of two cored wire is cheap... No excuse really.

Soldering nichrome to copper can be hard, crimping or wrapping will do for most things. But if you do want to solder, an acid flux is a must - it has to strip off the passivation coating from the nichrome so it will bond.

[Edited on 4-7-2021 by katyushaslab]
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Linus1208
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[*] posted on 17-7-2021 at 04:44


Similar thing happened to me when I tried to burn of a chunk of bp sticking to a spoon from granulating. It happened around a month ago and the burn is still clearly visible.

I also flashblinded myself completely for a few seconds and slightly burnt my eyebrows and hair when I thought it was a good idea to grind together 0.5g of permanganate / Mg flashpowder in a mortar and pestle, I nearly used no pressure at all besides the weight of the pestle (it was a quite large one though) but it still ignited very suddenly.
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Linus1208
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[*] posted on 17-7-2021 at 04:49


Quote: Originally posted by katyushaslab  
This is exactly why I heavily encourage people to use electrical ignition, even for "small" amounts of compositions when testing. That way you get to stand well back and push a satisfying button.

Nichrome wire is cheap, lengths of two cored wire is cheap... No excuse really.

Soldering nichrome to copper can be hard, crimping or wrapping will do for most things. But if you do want to solder, an acid flux is a must - it has to strip off the passivation coating from the nichrome so it will bond.

[Edited on 4-7-2021 by katyushaslab]


I often use a plain old sparkler, for very sensitive flashpowders(e.g. said KMnO4) or flashpowders I don't have any experience at all with, attach the sparkler to the end of a long stick or something similar (I often use a rake). For large amounts of compositions I mostly use electric matches, they are quick to assemble / use and can be bought cheaply from amazon.
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MineMan
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[*] posted on 17-7-2021 at 13:35


Flash powder testing of new comps should be done in 50mg quantity. In addition, the surface burning of flash has virtually no comparison of its confined burning. I don’t understand these techniques, simply use a torch an only 50mg.
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