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Author: Subject: Flash Powder
PHILOU Zrealone
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[*] posted on 19-12-2005 at 10:41


If H2S smell evolved from contact with snow...it was simply because Al2S3 that forms upon reaction between Al and S2 decompose upon contact with water...and snow is water. So the hydrogen is exogen!

Al + S --> Al2S3
Al2S3 + 3H2O --> Al(OH)3 + H2S(g)

Glycerin will oxydise in many ways upon contact with KMnO4...
CH2OH-CHOH-CH2OH --> CH2OH-CHOH-CH=O --> CH2OH-CHOH-CO2H

CH2OH-CHOH-CH2OH --> CH2OH-CO-CH2OH --> CH2OH-CO-CH=O -> CH2OH-CO-CO2H --> CH2OH-CH=O + CO2

CH2OH-CHOH-CH2OH --> CH2=CH-CH=O + 2H2O

etc etc etc...any combination of ceton, aldehyd acid oxydation
Until oxalic acid and subsequent oxydation into CO2 and H2O!

Simple alcools doesn't work good because if they react, their decomposition products and the initial alcool are too volatile to keep the heat of reaction undissiped...by boiling off they take the heat.
Heat/Temperature is a crutial aspect because glycerin/KMnO4 is strongly dependant on it.
Any factor that can increase heat confinement will help...
-larger amounts (No I don't invite you to try :mad:!)
-viscous water soluble compound (suggar shoud work and will be oxydised upon time by moisture from the air...so storage is inadvisable!).Any organic acid, ceton, alcool, aldehyd will make it!
Glycol works faster than glycerine because it dissolves faster KMnO4, Glycerol being more viscous need to reach a slightly higher temperature to perform the same result.
-High boiling point or decomposition point organic reducing compound soluble in water.
-The specific surface of KMnO4... the smoother the faster the dissolution occurs and the faster the heat release.
-adiabatic container (sealed and insulated)...Never try...will explode but when!
In such a container ethanol and isopropanol will make the same job as glycerin!
-Higher initial temperature...

Always ratio by weight... volume change too much to get something scientifically reliable en reproductible.

Water takes so much heat away that if above a certain amount it will overflow the heat realease... So a tiny percentage should be tried to give a scientific answer to the moisture problem.

Any trace of acid generated by the sulfur will take the protection layer of the Al (passivation oxyd layer) away and make the mix more reactive...this is what happens precisely when adding S to the Al/KMnO4 mix...(the later is harder to ignite).So catalytic effect from S is due to SO2 and SO3 with water...SO2 in KMnO4 generates H2SO4 as SO3 with water...
The water comes from the oxydised glycerin...

The fact dry suggar doesn't react fast with the mix prooves the importance of water in the proces ...but be carreful... once the oxydation of suggar is started the amount of water generated will accelerate the reaction to runnaway...and ignition (if amount of composition is sufficient).

Example of KMnO4 oxydiser with skin is also a bit tricky...since skin doesn't do much on its own but sweating wel...it is the dissolved KMnO4 that reacts with the proteins of skin.

My guess about the yellow P and chlorate is that it is on the edge between white and red....and so it may remain relatively stable in cold O2.

When Vulture says:
Al + NO3(-) -H2O-> NH3 + Al(OH)3...he is right...
Same happens with Zn and any metal that can reduce NO3 to Ammonia...
The resulting NH3 and generated base ... NaNO3 will generate NaOH... will dissolve the passivation oxyd layer of Al and increase its reactivity towards oxydants.

[Edited on 19-12-2005 by PHILOU Zrealone]




PH Z (PHILOU Zrealone)

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[*] posted on 20-12-2005 at 00:28
Blaster, nice pictures!


Hey, flash powder got me started in pyrotechnics... ever since that day I made KNO3/Al/S flash powder. It was slow, flaring up rather than making that "poof" so characteristic of traditional powder but it did the job. Your KMNO4+Al+S flash composition looks very good...
You measured by volume, right? Not by weight? curious...maybe I misread your post.
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[*] posted on 1-1-2006 at 15:05


Quote:
Originally posted by stygian
Anybody notice that according to brauer, potassium aurate is said to decompose to something like Au, K2O and KO2? If there was an easy way to separate these, potassium superoxide would be fun to play with :)


KO2 is the main oxide formed on K metal when it burns, so it is not that hard to make.

As for flash powder, I used sodium persulfate as the oxidizer. I mixed it with fine Al powder. When lit, it flashed brightly with a poof. I will try confining it next. The reaction is probably:
Na2O8S2 + 4Al => Na2S + SO2 + 2Al2O3

I am a bit concerned with its stability. Does anyone know if persulfate will react with Al at room temperature?

An electronics website suggested using aluminum to remove Cu and persulfate from etching solution (which is sodium or ammonium persulfate). The website said the reaction would be catalyzed by chloride. However, when I mixed aluminum powder and sodium persulfate in solution and added sodium chloride, I had no visible reaction or heat production.
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biggrin.gif posted on 16-3-2006 at 20:42
KMNO4/Al/S Flash powder test.


This is approx. 1/2 cup of 325 mesh Aluminum-Sulfur-Permanganate flash powder. I really enjoyed the luminous fireball it produced. The video posted does have audio.


[Edited on 17-3-2006 by kABOOM!]

Attachment: MVI_0718.mp4 (824kB)
This file has been downloaded 2009 times





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[*] posted on 9-4-2006 at 15:29


Quote:
Originally posted by Blaster

By volume: potassium permanganate 2 parts, Aluminium powder (the finest flour-like grade) 1 part, powdered sulphur 0.5 part.


This composition will burn much faster and hotter than black powder and is vastly superior for making cannon crackers or any firework requiring an explosive charge. It explodes without fail when confined in any way (if prepared as above).

However this composition has an even better property, namely it can be ignited by adding a drop of glycerine. This reacts with the KMnO4 and gets so hot it ignites the mixture.
The mixture usually takes around 20 seconds to ignite depending on ambient temperature.

This is great for setting off a sequence of explosions without using a flame - simply add a drop of glycerine to each charge.




I have recently purchased some 1000mesh Aluminum (14microns) and I am interested in making some flash powder. I am curious, is the Sulfur necessary for the flash powder to ignite reliably with the hypergolic ignition? I personnally dislike using sulfur in my pyrotechnic compositions.
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biggrin.gif posted on 13-4-2006 at 23:59


Yes! With Aluminum powder and Potassium Permanganate, Sulfur is a must. I've tried a mix of Al/KMnO4 and I just recieved some white hot sparks and flaring but no "poof". Sulfur acts as a catalyst and speeds up the reaction and makes ignition much easier**

Al/KMnO4/S is a VERY STRONG flash powder and is close to Al/KClO4 flash mixture in terms of power, but a heck of a lot more sensitive to shock and friction. I tested 1 lb canister of Permangante Flash Powder sealed with an electric match, and the explosion was INSAIN. It destroyed a mid sized armored safe without hassle- blew the doors right off it and warped the frame.




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[*] posted on 30-5-2006 at 16:31


Hey kaBOOM- some would say making a pound of flash is also "INSAIN"!
I'm trying an ounce or two.
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[*] posted on 31-5-2006 at 00:30


His name is kABOOM! and there is a good reason for that :D.



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Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
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[*] posted on 5-6-2006 at 09:34


Would KBrO3/Al burn faster or slower than KClO3/Al?
If faster how much faster and if slower how much slower?
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[*] posted on 10-6-2006 at 14:56
Blaster, nice pictures !


I recently made up a small batch of this powder, and I'm quite impressed with the results :o.
The moment it ignited there was an instant blinding "POOF!".
Had to rely on peripheral vision for a few minutes..lol

The first time I made this mixture was back in the early 1990's as a young teenager, and when I made it, it only flared, this was because I couldn't get fine mesh Al powder. I'd made the powdered Al using a piece of Al and a file...
IIrc I first learnt of the formula from Kurt Saxon's book "The Weaponeer"

I'm just curious, what is the general consensus as to the safety of this composition? Especially with regards to the presence of both sulfur & permanganate in this composition?
Would adding a small percentage of carbonate make it safer by neutralising any moisture induced sulfurous acid that could form?
Or is it simply best to make the composition and use it ASAP?

Has anyone had an experience with increased sensitivity of this material after storage (i.e. few weeks/months)?
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[*] posted on 12-6-2006 at 00:34


Quote:
Originally posted by CycloKnight
I'm just curious, what is the general consensus as to the safety of this composition? Especially with regards to the presence of both sulfur & permanganate in this composition?
Would adding a small percentage of carbonate make it safer by neutralising any moisture induced sulfurous acid that could form?
Or is it simply best to make the composition and use it ASAP?

Has anyone had an experience with increased sensitivity of this material after storage (i.e. few weeks/months)?


Just treat it like any sulfur/permanganate flash powder. Best to make it and use immediately, or if absolutely necessary store in a desiccator/polybag/something that will block moisture from getting to it. And if you're not complete sure of the purity and cleanliness of the sulfur, don't even try to store it. I found out the hard way that questionable sulfur can indeed do you (and whatever it's being stored in, and whatever is around) quite wrong.

That said, it seems (in my experience) to be pretty safe to manipulate and handle in the short term just after mixing it up. Go nuts.
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[*] posted on 13-6-2006 at 10:55
I2O5/Al


Could a mixture of I2O5 and Al powder be used as a flash powder or would it be to unstable to use?

The advantage of I2O5 is that the whole molecule would be used instead of just a part of the molecule as with most common oxidisers.
The equation would be:
3I2O5+12Al---10Al2O3+2AlI3
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[*] posted on 13-6-2006 at 13:38


It could be used only if the I2O5 is kept completly anhydrous. Otherwise the I2O5 will form iodic acid(correct name?) which will then react with the aluminum.
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[*] posted on 13-6-2006 at 19:39


Quote:
Originally posted by ethan_c
Quote:
Originally posted by CycloKnight
I'm just curious, what is the general consensus as to the safety of this composition? Especially with regards to the presence of both sulfur & permanganate in this composition?
Would adding a small percentage of carbonate make it safer by neutralising any moisture induced sulfurous acid that could form?
Or is it simply best to make the composition and use it ASAP?

Has anyone had an experience with increased sensitivity of this material after storage (i.e. few weeks/months)?



Just treat it like any sulfur/permanganate flash powder. Best to make it and use immediately, or if absolutely necessary store in a desiccator/polybag/something that will block moisture from getting to it. And if you're not complete sure of the purity and cleanliness of the sulfur, don't even try to store it. I found out the hard way that questionable sulfur can indeed do you (and whatever it's being stored in, and whatever is around) quite wrong.

That said, it seems (in my experience) to be pretty safe to manipulate and handle in the short term just after mixing it up. Go nuts.


I'll second this.. I have stored it up to 1 month in a dark dry climate controlled box. I would not consider storing it anywhere else as it is too dangerous. If humidity is present during storage consider it a ticking time bomb. DO NOT STORE IT FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME !!!:o
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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 04:03
K2Cr2O7/Al


Would a mixture of K2Cr2O7 and Al be useful as a flash powder or would it be to unstable to use? Also would be adding sulfur to the mixture be a good idea?



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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 04:13


I don't think their would be any severe stability issues with that mix. Potassium Dichromate is used to stabalize Magnesium by adding some sort of coating to it. Just make sure the mixture stays anhydrous others the Magnesium will lose its "power". I have no clue how sulfur would influence the mix but Potassium Dichromate is a pretty potent oxidizer. You might be better off excluding it.
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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 04:36


it`s also quite toxic for use in flash powder compared to KMnO4.



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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 07:55


Not so much toxic as carcinogenic. I would really advise looking for another oxidizer.



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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 08:35


Quote:
Originally posted by neutrino
I would really advise looking for another oxidizer.


How about KBrO3?




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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 12:10


Bromate`s good, although a little sensitive (esp with RP).



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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 12:33


Be careful bromates are carcinogenic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bromate



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[*] posted on 12-7-2006 at 16:55


How about adding a small amount potassium carbonate to flash powder mixtures that contain sulphur. This could neutralize the acid and slow down the self decomposition.

I have an old book that talks about primers that used to contain chlorate and sulphur. On long storage they would become inert due to the sulphur forming H2SO4. They mentioned using something like this to stabilize them.
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[*] posted on 13-7-2006 at 13:19


2 hours ago I ignited a small amount of the KMnO4/S/Fe flash powder. It was really impressive. A bright flash and a lot of sparks.



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[*] posted on 14-7-2006 at 06:42


As long as we are on this subject I would like to add a little "FLASH POWDER TRIVIA"... The original pressure fuze used in Civil War landmines (which werre the first landmines used by the United States were initiated by something called the "Rains Fuze" which at that time was a Confederate top secret. It was composed of 50% KCLO3 30%, Sb2S3, 20% powdered glass. In was named after BRg-General Gabrial J. Rains who was in charge of the Confederate landmine production. He also lost his 1st finger and thumb of his right hand to a pressure fuze design using more sensitive flash comp. These were utilized in what at that time were called "torpedoes" made of BP encased in iron. And thus starting a landmine race with the North. Both side considered it vary barbaric and cowardly. The use of BP when properly encased was very, VERY effective. The ultinate landmine of the Civil War however was a flash comp of KCLO3, S, chalk, willow charcoal, & PbO. This was used as a large charge to "disturb or destroy horse drawn cannon" (the first AM mine!).
I have a wonderful collection of papers that I am scanning to upload to the FTP as one big PDF file exclusivly on the use of low explosives in war from the Middle Ages to VietNam. Low explosives have been used very remarkably when properly enclosed as anti-personnel & material explos for hunderds of years. Interestingly the major accidents have all occured during the making of proper fuzes, mostly pressure devices using flash.

{That's "fuze" not fuse!}




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[*] posted on 14-7-2006 at 08:21


A few hours ago my friend and I ignited a small amount of the KMnO4/S/Zn flash powder. It burned slow (for a flash powder). I think it burned slow because the zinc was very coarse. Most particles of zinc were about 0.7-1 mm long.

[Edited on 14-7-2006 by Zinc]




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