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Author: Subject: First Rocket Candy attempt

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[*] posted on 22-1-2011 at 14:28

I was just wondering if you guys have done any more experiments with rocket candy?

If you want to know what your stump remover contains the simplest way of finding out is by looking up the MSDS on line.
I have done this multiple times to find various chemicals locally. Rocket candy is about as safe as you can get with an energetic mixture (as long as you do in fact have rocket candy). I have been making it since the early nineties and I have never had anything close to an accident. I have never seen it ignite from friction or impact, not saying that it can't, but I have really tried to get it to go off with the friction and hammer test. I also destroyed the thermostats in an electric frying pan so it wouldn't stop heating and cooked up a batch and let it keep heating just so see what would happen. All it did was brown never ignited. I did see a guy have a close call, he was making recrystallized rocket candy and let some of the propellant boil over and run into the plug of his skillet. When the propellant got into the plug it ignited but it didn't ignite the rest of the propellant.
That being said don’t get over confident with rocket candy. It has more power than black powder and just a teaspoon of black powder in a gun has enough power to kill a large animal like a bison. I hope that putts things into perspective.
The most common problem people have with rocket candy is not when they are making it which is probably safer than pouring sulfuric acid or lye form a beaker. The big problem with rocket candy is when they go from making a batch of propellant to actually wanting to make a rocket motor. It can be vary hard for the beginner to control the surface area of the propellant, or to even know what to look for when making propellant grains. Next they take this propellant with an unknown surface area and ignite it in a casing not knowing that they just made a pipe bomb.

So most guys start at the other extreme and deliberately make motors that are under pressured, while this is a little safer there are dangers involved with this approach if you rush into things. Many guys once they get a working motor are so excited they move forward with a working rocket before they have characterized their motors. Invariable the motor is underpowered and their rocket turns into a land shark that could cause physical harm or start fires. So you can see as with any endeavor it may be more complicated than you think. Best of luck if you do decide to continue.
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Hazard to Self

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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 07:10
Nothing like rocket stuff...

I have to say, one can learn a whole lot of great chemistry and physics via rocketry. And making your own propellant and motors? Even more. As with any experimental chemistry it requires a modicum of caution and common sense. You've heard enough particulars.

Personally I think Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) is safer, but that is opinion. Plus you do require more, and more expensive; chems. So Candy propellant is a logical 1st try.

If you are doing Candy, read Richard Nakaa's stuff until you know it cold. He is the Guru of Candy propellant. I watched him cook up a batch for a K motor in my kitchen once. The wife did wonder what the smell was.

I wouldn't be trying any additives until you got the basic formulation down. In particular I'd skip the FeO. It's a standard burn rate enhancer for APCP, I use it in most formulations; but I don't think it would do anything useful in Candy.

And as the previous thread mentioned; the hard part in the do-it-yourself motor biz is making your motor stay together. Making propellant is like making bread, ugh except for the high temps and such. Once you get close there are a near infinite number of formulations that work OK. But making a motor that has, a nozzle that stays together and is properly sized; a lining that doesn't burn through; a case that doesn't let go; etc., etc. is much more challenging. But it sure gives you a lot to study and learn.

Also check to see if there are any Tripoli ( sites in your area. You can see some great launches and likely meet guys who do some motor building.

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Hazard to Others

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[*] posted on 27-6-2011 at 08:01

One thing to note is that since solid rocket propellants generate gas (pretty much by definition), a sample of burning propellant tends to sputter smaller bits of burning propellant around.

Please do keep this in mind when testing a small batch next to your main batch, or anything inflammable :o

Safest place to test your rocket propellant samples are either in an earthenware flower pot or trough, or in a depression in a sand box/in the ground.

I can sell the following:
1) Various high purity non-ferrous metals - Ni, Co, Ta, Zr, Mo, Ti, Nb.
2) Alkex para-aramid Korean Kevlar analogue fabric (about 50% Du Pont's prices)
3) NdFeB magnets
4) High purity technical ceramics
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White Yeti
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[*] posted on 2-8-2011 at 14:07

"Ammonium nitrate decomposes into N2 O2 + maybe it isn't ammonia I"m smelling?"

It's a good idea to note that ammonium nitrate decomposes explosively...

"While cooking I got a whiff of some of the fumes and they immediately made my lungs close up and I had to back away."

Do you have asthma?
I'm serious, I accidentally inhaled SO2 once, and I have asthma related problems, it knocked the air out of me for an entire 10 minutes, followed by a few hours of wheezing. There might have been SO2 production from the decomposition of metabisulfite.
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