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Author: Subject: Thermite using 'blender grade' Al powder, is it possible ?
Pyro_cat
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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 12:49
Thermite using 'blender grade' Al powder, is it possible ?



I was thinking maybe if real fine Al powder was used at the ignition starting point once the reaction got going it would continue even with more course Al powder in the mix under it. I would think the aluminum would be vaporizing after initial ignition so particle size would be less important.
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JJay
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[*] posted on 5-5-2018 at 13:05


I made a thermite-like composition with aluminum powder I made in a coffee grinder and copper (ii) chloride; it sustained a highly exothermic reaction. It was necessary to grind the aluminum to a fine powder; during my successful attempt, I burned out the coffee grinder grinding the aluminum. Larger particles of aluminum (the size of a period on a newspaper) did not react unless heat was continuously applied. If I try making my own aluminum powder again, I'm going to try running it through screens to get a better idea of the particle size.



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[*] posted on 6-5-2018 at 11:18


My experience so far is that powder that can pass a 200 screen is fine enough.

I am currently developing a ball mill to make aluminum fine enough for thermite, or for use as a reductant. I hate using wads of foil.




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[*] posted on 6-5-2018 at 19:57


It is possible to blend various sizes of Al fuel particles in such mixtures to achieve a desired reaction rate- A little bit of German blackhead Al or even some nano particle Al may be reactive enough to bring coarser grades up to temperature.

Also, depending on your purpose for using a goldschmidt reaction, you may choose to use more than one metal oxide for the oxidizer. Or adjuncts such as Sulfur.




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JJay
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[*] posted on 7-5-2018 at 11:21


First, buy your own blender, don't try to use your wife/mother/girlfriend's or you will be sorry.

Quote:
I am pretty sure it is possible to create thermite with aluminum powder made in a blender


Use a blender jar about 2/3 full of light mineral oil or a similarly viscous and non reactive fluid. Put your shredded Aluminum foil you want to powder in, run blender. Add more foil until you have something still pourable, but like a pancake batter. Keep running the blender, you may need to let it rest and cool for a while then return and run it some more.

The blades are keeping the oil turbulent. The oil is tearing apart the foil, also preventing the Aluminum from aglomerating into little foil balls.

When a sample removed and solvent washed is fine enough, filter what oil you can out of the slurry, then do a couple of solvent washes to remove the oil.

[Edited on 5-8-2018 by Bert]

(Crap! Sorry JJay)

[Edited on 5-8-2018 by Bert]




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Pyro_cat
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[*] posted on 8-5-2018 at 13:02


Aluminum powder. How about enclosing an angle grinder in a closed environment of inert gas, helium easy to find, and rig an aluminum rod to press against the grinding wheel.

Edit: The grinder could be rigged so the sparking and cooling part is outside the enclosure, glue tape caulk it into a hole in the side of the enclosure.

[Edited on 8-5-2018 by Pyro_cat]
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Pyro_cat
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[*] posted on 21-7-2018 at 21:25


I wonder if crazy glue is strong enough that I could use it to attach razor blades to the blender blades and maybe not get the aglomerating into little balls like mentioned above. That seems to happen from the blades not being sharp enough and just beating them instead of cutting them. I know a sharpened blade makes a huge difference on a mulching mower. Next step try the Dremmel to sharpen the blender blades and finally make some of the infamous thermite.


And to make rust a little quicker bleach and vinegar right ?
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[*] posted on 21-7-2018 at 21:51


Don't mix bleach and vinegar!



List of materials made by ScienceMadness.org users:
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--------------------------------
Elements Collected: H, Li, B, C, N, O, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, I, Au, Pb, Bi, Am
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[*] posted on 21-7-2018 at 22:03


Don't mix bleach and vinegar!



List of materials made by ScienceMadness.org users:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nmJ8uq-h4IkXPxD5svnT...
--------------------------------
Elements Collected: H, Li, B, C, N, O, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, I, Au, Pb, Bi, Am
Last Acquired: B
Next: Na
--------------
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JJay
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[*] posted on 21-7-2018 at 22:55


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
First, buy your own blender, don't try to use your wife/mother/girlfriend's or you will be sorry.

Quote:
I am pretty sure it is possible to create thermite with aluminum powder made in a blender


Use a blender jar about 2/3 full of light mineral oil or a similarly viscous and non reactive fluid. Put your shredded Aluminum foil you want to powder in, run blender. Add more foil until you have something still pourable, but like a pancake batter. Keep running the blender, you may need to let it rest and cool for a while then return and run it some more.

The blades are keeping the oil turbulent. The oil is tearing apart the foil, also preventing the Aluminum from aglomerating into little foil balls.

When a sample removed and solvent washed is fine enough, filter what oil you can out of the slurry, then do a couple of solvent washes to remove the oil.

[Edited on 5-8-2018 by Bert]

(Crap! Sorry JJay)

[Edited on 5-8-2018 by Bert]


Wow, that is a super-cool post.




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unionised
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[*] posted on 22-7-2018 at 05:47


When the process was discovered in 1893 it is unlikely that they had access to anything much better than a coffee grinder to make Al powder.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2018 at 18:05


Quote: Originally posted by Abromination  
Don't mix bleach and vinegar!


I learned that from the chemistry section of the 1977 World Book encyclopedias and tried it as a kid and I survived. It did rust stuff real quick. It also said stuff about ants and junipers and formic acid. Back before the internet if you wanted to know about energetic materials the trick was to read the even older encyclopedias.

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Pyro_cat
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[*] posted on 22-7-2018 at 18:46


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
Use a blender jar about 2/3 full of light mineral oil or a similarly viscous and non reactive fluid. Put your shredded Aluminum foil you want to powder in, run blender.


I just tried it with water not caring if I oxidized it and did not get a better result. I was hoping for gray water.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2018 at 19:48


I know you're asking about a blender but if you can afford a blender, you can also afford a cheap rock tumbler to use as a ball mill.

Also, foil is often hard to mill down due to its tendency to form into little balls.
I use a block of Al and use a drill bit to make shavings, they mill down much faster and make a higher quality powder with less oxide in my experience.
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[*] posted on 22-7-2018 at 21:26


Quote: Originally posted by Pyro_cat  
Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
Use a blender jar about 2/3 full of light mineral oil or a similarly viscous and non reactive fluid. Put your shredded Aluminum foil you want to powder in, run blender.


I just tried it with water not caring if I oxidized it and did not get a better result. I was hoping for gray water.


That was actually Bert's post, but water has low viscosity. I'm not sure why he specified a viscous fluid.




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[*] posted on 23-7-2018 at 19:05
Ball Milling Theory and Practice for the Amateur Pyrotechnician


Bert, your method does sound impressive in its resourcefulness. Those hours and hours I've used a cheap blender...:(

For a larger scope of application, however, I recommend a real ball mill. I don't make money from the sales of this book, I just think it's really valuable information. I'm not interested in fireworks or thermite (yet!), but I have plenty of other uses for grinding things into powder. A ball mill is a semi-luxurious thing, and this book tells you how to make a very efficient, customizable one. Also some great background on why they work and how they work best. It's been worth every penny to me.
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[*] posted on 19-7-2019 at 19:41


Been a year but I am finally doing this project. So many videos I want to see this in real life. The lava in Hawaii, that in real life was scary. Video does it no justice.

Lots of screening and sharpening the blades on the blender really helps, I think I am good to go with the aluminum. So focused on that didn't realize a quantity of rust is not the easiest thing to make if you are to cheap to buy bags and bags of steel wool. Just waiting on those finishing nails under water in the casserole dish.

I am going to go with a strobe cup to try and initiate it. The brightness of those things tells me that is the hottest thing I am going to find.
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[*] posted on 21-7-2019 at 04:33


For the iron oxide, consider going to a paint store and buying it. It is often used as a red (Fe2O3) or black (Fe3O4) pigment, and usually sold pure.
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[*] posted on 21-7-2019 at 22:14


Quote: Originally posted by Microtek  
For the iron oxide, consider going to a paint store and buying it. It is often used as a red (Fe2O3) or black (Fe3O4) pigment, and usually sold pure.


Thanks. Did a search of that and learned they also have Red Concrete Color Iron Oxide Pigment Powder for making those fake brick driveways.


https://www.bestmaterials.com/PDF_MSDS/solomon-concrete-colo...

https://www.smithpaints.com/tech_docs/drypigmentpacks_msds.p...



[Edited on 22-7-2019 by Pyro_cat]
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[*] posted on 22-7-2019 at 03:03


Quote: Originally posted by Microtek  
For the iron oxide, consider going to a paint store and buying it. It is often used as a red (Fe2O3) or black (Fe3O4) pigment, and usually sold pure.


Red: Hematite
Black: Magnetite

A friend of mine came 10 days ago to learn how to make thermite.
"But where am I going to get all that from?"

She paints well enough to make a living out of it so I pointed her to her arts supply store !




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[*] posted on 23-7-2019 at 19:57


Quote: Originally posted by Felis Corax  
but electrolysis can be fun in it's own right.


It is fun. I haven't put electricity through water since that time I built a salt water variac when I was messing with microwave oven transformers.

I only have a "smart" battery charger for a DC power supply but its easy enough to trick it into turning on by connecting a battery that's not totally discharged.

Thanks, I am going to go with this electrolysis. Haven't had the motivation for a home depo run just to see if they might have any of this pigment powder. This will be fun.

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[*] posted on 24-7-2019 at 15:40


The electrolysis turned a steel wool pad into a few tables spoons black muck in about an hour. I just coffee filtered it out of the liquid.

Going to make a some more then try to replicate the Aluminum foil thermite here https://youtu.be/H-PubIM6O_4?t=354 but instead of the roller press I will just have to roll it up and put in in the vice then hammer the wad I get out of the vice for the same effect.
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[*] posted on 24-7-2019 at 21:22


Quote: Originally posted by Felis Corax  
You could also make red iron oxide via electrolysis with mild steel electrodes (or iron, but mild steel is cheaply available at the hardware store). When I did it I used NaCl as my electrolyte, which of course produces sodium hydroxide and chlorine gas, so that has to be handled. The result is a goopy hydrate which, when heated, gives a relatively small amount of very fine anhydrous red iron oxide.


Interesting. I've never noticed any chlorine when using NaCl and iron anodes. I think you get ferric and ferrous chloride and sodium hydroxide (well, at least you get the ions to form those) but they react to precipitate goop, which I have seen change from green-brown to orange brown as electrolysis progressed, presumably as oxidation states changed.

The first time I electrolysed salt with a graphite anode, I was kinda surprised to smell chlorine after never having it with iron or copper electrodes. The first time I tried graphite and a substantial fraction of an amp, I was surprised not by the presence of chlorine, but the sheer amount. Had to shut off power and open the window some minutes into the process.
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[*] posted on 26-7-2019 at 11:53


Thanks,

I used only one salt packet in 4oz of water. The clip on the charger was the cathode. Seems to me less salt would limit the chlorine available to create other compounds. The process started really slow and seemed to self accelerate as the water got dirty with from the products of the electrolysis. The amp meter on the charger moved to about 1 at the end. I broke the rule and smelled it too and did not smell anything chlorinated. There was a green-orange look to it at one point.

The next setup going to get some stainless steel threaded rod for the cathode (lots of surface area) and something iron from the junk pile as the anode in a shoe box size plastic bin.

This was very interesting, Sodium Chlorate from Electrolysis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUvCnyz6ESI If am doing electrolysis in a sodium chloride solution I suppose thats going to happen too.

Did I make Sodium Chlorate in the first experiment and did that lower the electrical resistance of the water allowing more current to flow or was it the iron compounds or both ? I am guessing both.

Turning off the current and Olm testing the solution as its going along is going to be part of this experiment.



Quote: Originally posted by Felis Corax  
If this advice seems patronizingly obvious I apologize; I don't know your level of experience.[/rquote]


No problem, a beginner here. At that stage in chemistry of hey this actually works if you follow the directions. Similar place as getting the first little sparks from the Tesla coil project. I can do this !

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[*] posted on 26-7-2019 at 13:20


Just a thought here.

If you know of someplace that has a lathe/mill, etc or have access to a machine shop, I'd speculate that aluminum turnings/shavings/schwarf would be more conducive to blender grinding than foil. It doesn't have the tendency to ball up, and in my personal experience, the small pieces tend to be more brittle, and much less flexible than foils. I have a few jars of the stuff from a machinist friend. playing with it by hand I get the idea that the specific chip size is a matter of some importance for milling vs blending, because it seems like some of the longer and thinner needle like shavings wouldn't work nearly as well, while some of the say, longer and more ribbon like bits are easily broken apart between your fingers. YMMV and it may not be practical, just a thought.

Edit: someone else already suggested something similar for aluminum, and here I am feeling foolish reading the rest of the thread... So I'll discuss how I make iron oxide.


I'm not sure if this advice is applicable to you, but when I'm trying to make iron oxide, I go to the local gun store and buy a bunch of really cheap steel case ammo. I shoot it all, collect the casings, put it in a bucket (about 2/3rds full), and mix in a bit of salt water. The cases have a pretty good bit of surface area relative to the amount of metal so they rust pretty quickly. If you let the water evaporate off, then just shake the stuff up, the cartridges will knock each other to pieces and eventually create a very fine, nearly airfloat mix of iron oxide powder. The primers are a brass of some kind so they'll generally not oxidize and just sort of fall out of the mix. It's a bit time consuming to do by hand but I think it could very viably be adpated up to a ball mill with more or less self consuming media.
The few times I've done it my yields have generally been more in the pound/kilogram range than grams/ounces.

But the advice is useless if you are not in a locale allowing firearms, or if you don't shoot or own them. Although, depending, perhaps you could go to a local gun range and ask if you can have their spent steel casings, even in a less permissive region. I'd bet places really wouldn't care too much. I'm sure the process would really work with any sort of scrap steel or iron, but the advantages of the method go away pretty quickly without something of a similar shape/surface area. I experimented with ball bearings and didn't have much luck. Perhaps cut up sections of a thin piece of pipe, or something along those lines. Something about the size of refrigerator tubing? I hope I'm not cluttering up your thread with something unhelpful.

[Edited on 26-7-2019 by James Ikanov]




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