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The Pyro Handbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents:

 

1.0 Intro

2.0 Safety

2.1-know what your handling

-incopatable materials

-chemical notes

-how to mix ingredients

-tools

3.0 Explosive theory

 3.1 explosive classifications
 4.0 Chemical equiv. lists

5.0 LISTS OF SUPPLIERS AND MORE INFORMATION

5.1-links

5.2-books

6.0 Chemical preparation and sources

6.1 Ammonium chloride

6.2 Ammonium nitrate

6.3 Ammonium perchlorate

6.4 Barium carbonate

6.5 Barium chlorate

6.6 Barium nitrate

6.7 Barium sulfate

6.8 Boric acid

6.9 Calcium sulphate

6.10 Dextrin

6.11 Ethanol

6.12 Iron

6.13 Iron oxide (red)

6.14 Lead tetraoxide

6.15 Manganese dioxide

6.16 Magnalium

6.17 Magnesium

6.18 Methanol

6.19 Parlon

6.20 Potassium benzoate

6.21 Potassium chlorate

6.22 Potassium dichromate

6.23 Potassium perchlorate

6.24 Potassium Picrate

6.25 Polyvinyl chloride

6.26 PICRIC ACID

6.27 Red gum

6.28 Sodium benzoate

6.29 Sodium chlorate

6.30 Sodium nitrate

6.31 Sodium perchlorate

6.32 Strontium carbonate

6.33 Strontium nitrate

6.34 Strontium sulfate

6.35 Sulfuric acid

6.36 Zinc

6.37 Zinc oxide

6.38 acetylene

6.39 calcium carbide

6.40 Perchlorates

6.40-1 aluminum perchlorate

6.40-2 ammonium perchlorate

6.40-3 barium perchlorate

6.40-4 cadmium perchlorate

6.40-5 calcium perchlorate

6.40-6 cobalt perchlorate

6.40-7 copper perchlorate

6.40-8 hydrazine diperchlorate

6.40-9 iron perchlorate

6.40-10 lead perchlorate

6.40-11 lithium perchlorate

6.40-12 magnesium perchlorate

6.40-13 manganese perchlorate

6.40-14 mercury perchlorate

6.40-16 nickel perchlorate

6.40-17 nitryl perchlorate

6.40-18 potassium perchlorate

6.40-19 silver perchlorate

6.40-20 sodium perchlorate

6.40-21 strontium perchlorate

6.40-22 titanium tetraperchlorate

6.40-23 uranyl perchlorate

6.40-24 zinc perchlorate

7.0 Low-order explosives

7.1 Acetone Peroxide

7.2 Nitrogen Triiodide(touch explosives)

7.3 FLASH POWDER

7.4 BLACK POWDER

7.5 yellow powder

7.6 NITROCELLULOSE

7.7 FUEL-OXODIZER MIXTURES

7.8 PERCHLORATES

8.0 High-order explosives

8.1 Simple Plastique Explosives

8.2 Lead Azide

8.3 Lead Styphnate

8.4 Mercury Fulminate

8.5 Tetracene

8.6 AMATOL

8.7 PETN

8.8 RDX

8.9 COMPOSITION C-1

8.10 COMPOSITION C-2

8.11 COMPOSITION C-3

8.12 COMPOSITION C-4

8.13 Ammonium Picrate

8.14 HMX

8.15 Nitrated Petroleum

8.16 Nitrogen Trichloride

8.17 Tetryl

8.18 Trinitrobenzene

8.19 Trinitrotoluene(TNT)

8.20 Silver Fulminate

8.21 ANFO

8.22 DNPA

8.23 Nitroguanidine

8.24 Astrolite

8.25 Dinitrochlorobenzene

8.26 HMTD

8.27 HNIW

8.28 HNO

8.29 IPN

8.30 MEDINA

8.31 MMAN

8.32 NPN

8.33 PVN

8.34 TeNN

8.35 TNPEN

8.36 TNPht

8.37 Tetranitromethane

8.38 CH-6

8.39 Composition A-5

8.40 COMPOSITION A-3

8.41 COMPOSITION B

8.42 PBXN-5

8.43 MEKP

8.44 Nitrourea

8.45 Tetranitronapthalene

9.0 Bombs

9.1 C02 bomb

9.2 Cherry Bomb

9.3 Dry Ice Bomb

9.4 Sparkler Bomb

9.5 Tennis ball bomb

9.6 Mail Box Bomb

9.7 Cheap Smoke Bomb

9.8 Calcium Carbide Bomb

9.9 Firebombs(Molotov cocktail)

9.10 Generic Bomb

9.11 Picallo bomb(bottle salute)

9.12 THERMITE BOMB

9.13 soda bottle bomb

10.0 Pyrotechnics

10.1 Pyrotechnic compositions and formulas

10.1-1 Smoke formulas

10.1-2 Colored Flame formaulas and torches

10.1-3 USEFUL PYROCHEMISTRY

10.1-4 Rocket propellants

10.1-5 colored star compositions

10.1-6 smoke star compositions

10.1-7 flash charges

10.1-8 burst charges

10.1-9 whistle mixtures

10.1-10 priming compositions

10.1-11 Other compositions

10.1-12 Sparkler compositions

10.2 FIRECRACKERS

10.2-1 salutes

10.2-2 Bum Style salute

10.2-3 Making tubes and end plugs

10.2-4 Impact Salute

10.3 Rockets

10.3-1 Making Rockets

10.3-2 SKYROCKETS

10.4 ROMAN CANDLES

10.5 22 cal. noisemakers

10.6 Class C Aerial Salute

10.7 Go Getters

10.8 Yogart Mine

10.9 Mine Bag

10.10 Making Cut Stars

10.11 Meal Coated Corn Cob & Rice Hulls

10.12 strobe pots

10.13 Aerial Shells

11.0 Fun with fire

11.1-0 Napalm

11.1-1 military napalm

11.1-2 Jolly Rodgers napalm

11.1-3 Napalm II

11.2 Flame throwers

11.3 thermite

11.4 breathing fire

11.5 fire balls

11.5-1 special effect fire balls

11.5-2 petrol fire ball

11.5-3 fire ball from hydrogen

11.5-4 fire ball from butane

11.5-5 fire ball from propane

11.5-6 Naphthalene Charges

11.5-7 CREMORA FIREBALLS

11.6 Greek fire

11.7 Other Incendiaries

11.8 Negetive-X

11.9 how to make alcohol

11.10 Plaster Incendiary

11.11 Flash Paper

12.0 fuses, delays, and timers

12.1 FUSE IGNITION

12.1-1 Visco cannon fuse

12.1-2 HOW TO MAKE BLACKMATCH FUSE

12.1-3 HOW TO MAKE AN ELECTRIC FUZE

12.1-4 ANOTHER ELECTRIC FUZE

12.1-5 Quickmatch fuse

12.1-6 The Nichrome/Fuse Igniter

12.1-7 HOW TO MAKE SULFURED WICK

12.1-8 Connecting fuses together

12.2 IMPACT IGNITION

12.2-1 Blasting Cap Impact Igniter

12.2-2 MAGICUBE IGNITOR

12.3 ELECTRICAL IGNITION

12.3-1 ELECTRO-MECHANICAL IGNITION

12.3-2 Mercury Switches

12.3-3 Radio Control Detonators

12.4 Detonators and boosters

12.5 Firing systems

12.6 DELAYS

12.6-1 Cigarette Delays

12.6-2 TIMER DELAYS

12.6-3 CHEMICAL DELAYS

13.0 Projectiles

13.1 Polish cannon

13.2 BASIC PIPE CANNON

13.3 Rocket launcher

13.4 potato guns

13.5 MODEL ROCKETS

13.6 Home-brew blast cannon

14.0 The End.

 

 

 

 

 

1.0 Intro

 

 

It is assumed by the author that you would not actually use this information as a guide for new activities. If you dont know what you are doing, you could make a mistake and DIE. Some of the procedures are general ways of making a specific devise or chemical composition, and lack the exact details that inexperienced people need to safely make a desired material.

Also, there may be one or two references to terrorists and procedures that they may use in a few sections; I HATE terrorists, and do not in any way promote terrorism! (I just didnt feel like to go through the entire book and delete every sentence containing the word terrorist.)

If you are wanting to carry out a death wish, and are going to attempt some of these procedures, then READ THE SAFETY SECTION FIRST(if you want a better chance of living)! Dont be a dumb-ass, and do it near people or houses, and hurt someone and/or yourself! Dont be a Kewl.

 

-The Author

 

 

 

2.0 SAFETY--HOW NOT TO GET KILLED (READ THIS!)

 

It is obvious that injury or death should be avoided at all costs. While no safety device is 100% reliable, it is usually better to err on the side of caution.

  1. Never smoke anywhere near chemicals or compositions.
  2. Be sure you are familiar with all the properties of the compositions you work with. Thoroughly test new compositions for sensitivity, stability, compatibility with other mixtures etc, until you are absolutely sure that the mixture is ok to use in your application and method of construction. Find out as much as you can about other peoples experiences with a particular mixture.
  3. Use only non-sparking tools. Make your tools from either: wood, paper, aluminum, lead or brass. Other metals and materials may spark (especially steel).
  4. Paper bags or wooden containers are good to use for storing mixed compositions. Store compositions dry and cool. Avoid plastics, glass and metal. Avoid storing compositions in general. Make as much as you will need in the near future and keep no more in stock than necessary.
  5. Never have large amounts of composition near you. If you must use larger amounts of composition in multiple items, store the bulk of composition in a safe place and bring only small amounts to your working place. Finished items should also be brought to a safe place immediately.
  6. Prevent contamination of chemicals and mixtures. Have separate tools for every type of mixture (i.e. black powder-like mixtures, chlorates, perchlorates, etc) and clean them well with hot water and/or alcohol after use. It is no luxury either to have different sets of clothing for working with different mixtures. Wash them every time after use (dust collects in the clothing). If you have the possibility, have separate rooms or better yet: separate buildings for working with different types of mixtures/chemicals.
  7. Keep a clean working place. Fine dust easily spreads all over your working place. Keep chemicals in closed cabinets or in a separate building. Mixtures should not be kept in the working place anyway (see rules 4 and 5).
  8. Provide adequate ventilation. This is especially important when working with volatile solvents or (poisonous, flammable) powdered chemicals. Not only can you get yourself poisoned, vapor or dust may also ignite.
  9. Be aware of static electricity buildup. Ground your working table. Monitor humidity and keep it above 60% as a rule of thumb. This can be especially important in winter when preparing for new years eve (on the Northern Hemisphere at least). Touch a grounded surface before you place things on it. Touch other people before handing over compositions or finished items. Wear cotton clothing, avoid synthetics (do not be tempted to wear fleece clothing if your working place is cold in winter). Simple things such as unscrewing a (plastic) bottle, unwinding some tape or even moving your arm may accumulate enough charge on your body to ignite a sensitive composition. The risk of static electricity is often underestimated or even completely ignored by beginning amateurs in pyro, while it is actually one of the major causes of accidents in both commercial/industrial and amateur pyro setups.
  10. Wear proper protective clothing. A face shield, dust mask, heavy gloves and a leather apron are minimal. Wear cotton clothing. Hearing protection can be good but it also makes it harder to hear other people's warnings.
  11. Provide safety screens between you and compositions, especially when pressing, ramming, sieving or in other ways causing frictions/shocks/pressure etc.
  12. Be prepared for the worst. Have a plan for when something should go wrong. Have a fire extinguisher and plenty of water ready. Think beforehand of what might happen and how you could minimize the damage. Know how to treat burns. Inform someone else so he/she can help in case of an accident. Have a fast escape route from your working place.
  13. Test a device well before showing it to an audience. Inform any audience well of what can happen.

 

 

2.1-Know What You're Handling:

 

[This is a publication of the Western New York Pyrotechnic Association. It may be reproduced in whole or in part without permission or compensation providing:]

[Editors note: I have received several letters offering comments and/or corrections on this document. Since I am not the author of the document, and do not have the expertise to judge these comments, I have put them as received on another page]

  1. 1) credit is given to the Western New York Pyrotechnic Association
  2. 2) it is distributed free. If you plan to make a buck on it, we want a piece of it!!

We believe that the information contained herein is true and correct, however it is offered only as a guide and not to be used as a guarantee. We cannot assume responsibility nor liability for the use or misuse of the information contained herein.

The following is a compilation of information gathered over the years from various research and sources too numerous to remember.

Within these pages you will find descriptions of almost 150 chemicals that are used in Fireworks, Explosives, Rocket Fuels or are explosives in themselves. This list is not complete and is not intended to be complete. All of the uses are not given and only the related purposes of each are stated.

Whenever possible we explain which grades are thought to be the best, the chemical formula, melting temperature, decomposition temperature, form (liquid, powder, crystal, etc.), if it will explode, if it is poisonous and its usage. Some of these chemicals cannot be purchased and are offered as a guide for information purposes only.

 


 

CHEMICALS HAVE A CERTAIN PURPOSE TO PERFORM IN FIREWORKS AND CAN BE CLASSIFIED INTO FOUR GROUPS:

 

GROUP I.

These chemicals are the chemicals which produce the oxygen and are called oxidizers.

GROUP II.

Those which combine with the oxidizers are called reducers.

GROUP III.

These are the chemicals which regulate the rate of burning and help to produce the desired effect.

GROUP IV.

This group of chemicals are those which impart color to the flame.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL REFERENCES TO TEMPERATURE ARE IN DEGREES FARENHEIT.

 


 

SAFETY INCOMPATIBLE MATERIALS:

 

Certain combinations of chemicals are remarkable explosive, poisonous or hazardous in some other way, and these are generally avoided as a matter of course. There are many others that are perhaps equally dangerous but do not come to mind as readily. The following list, although not complete, may serve as a memory refresher. Stop and think for a moment before starting any work, especially if one hazardous chemical is involved.

 

DO NOT CONTACT:

 

Alkali metals, such as calcium, potassium and sodium with water, carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, and other chlorinated hydrocarbons.

Acetic Acid with chromic acid, nitric acid, hydroxyl-containing compounds, ethylene glycol, perchloric acid, peroxides and permanganates.

Acetone with concentrated sulfuric and nitric acid mixtures.

Ammonia, Anhydrous with mercury, halogens, calcium hypochlorite or hydrogen fluoride.

Ammonium Nitrate with acids, metal powders, flammable fluids, chlorates, nitrates, sulphur and finely divided organics or other combustibles.

Aniline with nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide or other strong oxidizing agents.

Bromine with ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, hydrogen, sodium carbide, turpentine or finely divided metals.

Chlorates with ammonium salts, acids, metal powders, sulfur, carbon, finely divided organics or other combustibles.

Chromic Acid with acetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, alcohol, glycerine, turpentine and other flammable liquids.

Chlorine with ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, benzene and other petroleum fractions, hydrogen, sodium carbides, turpentine and finely divided powdered metals.

Cyanides with acids.

Hydrogen Peroxide with copper, chromium, iron, most metals or their respective salts, flammable fluids and other combustible materials, aniline and nitromethane.

Hydrogen Sulfide with nitric acid, oxidizing gases.

Hydrocarbons, generally, with fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid or sodium peroxide.

Iodine with acetylene or ammonia

Mercury with acetylene, fulminic acid, hydrogen.

Nitric acid with acetic, chromic and hydrocyanic acids, aniline, carbon, hydrogen sulfide, flammable fluids or gases and substances which are readily nitrated.

Oxygen with oils, grease, hydrogen, flammable liquids, solids and gases.

Oxalic Acid with silver or mercury.

Perchloric Acid with acetic anhydride, bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, wood and other organic materials.

Phosphorous Pentoxide with water

Sodium Peroxide with any oxidizable substances, for instance: methanol, glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydride, benzaldehyde, carbon disulfide, glycerine, ethylene glycol, ethyl acetate, furfural, etc.

Sulfuric Acid with chlorates, perchlorates, permanganates and water.

 

Some combinations of chemicals lead to especially sensitive or unstable mixtures. There are many more of such incompatible chemicals/mixtures than listed here but these are some of the more commonly encountered types:

  1. Chlorates and sulfur. Mixtures containing both are not only very sensitive to friction and shock but are also known to ignite spontaneously. The sulfur reacts with water and air to form trace amounts of sulfuric acid. This will react with chlorates to form chlorine dioxide, a yellow explosive gas that will ignite most flammable materials upon contact. Addition of small amounts of barium or strontium carbonate to chlorate based compositions is sometimes done to prevent buildup of acid, even in compositions without sulfur. Many older texts on pyrotechnics describe the use of chlorate/sulfur based compositions. Today, many alternative and much safer compositions are available and there is therefore no excuse for the use of chlorate/sulfur mixtures. This also means chlorate based compositions cannot be used in items that also contain sulfur based mixtures. For example: chlorate based stars cannot be primed with black powder. Nor can a H3 burst charge be used with black powder primed stars (or stars containing sulfur).
  2. Chlorates and ammonium compounds. Mixing these will allow ammonium chlorate to form in a double decomposition reaction that takes place in solution (moisture speeds up the process). Ammonium chlorate is a highly instable explosive compound. It decomposes over time producing chlorine dioxide gas (see chlorates and sulfur). Mixtures are likely to spontaneously ignite upon storage or may explode for no apparent reason. An exception seems to be the use of ammonium chloride and potassium chlorate in some smoke compositions. According to Shimizu this combination is safe due to the lower solubility of potassium chlorate (compared to ammonium chlorate). I personally would still use these mixtures with great caution (or avoid them) since it seems inevitable that small amounts of ammonium chlorate will still form. The lower solubility of potassium chlorate will make it the -main- product in a double decomposition reaction but not the -only- product.
  3. Chlorates with metals and nitrates. These mixtures show the same problems as chlorate/ammonium compound mixtures. The reason is that nitrates can be reduced by most metals used in pyrotechnics to ammonium. The reaction rate of this reaction is increased by presence of water. Over time (for example when drying) these mixtures may spontaneously ignite or become extremely sensitive. The fact that ammonium forms in a relatively slow reaction is treacherous. These mixtures are referred to as 'death mixes' by some.
  4. Aluminum and nitrates. Mixtures of these compounds sometimes spontaneously ignite, especially when moist. The mechanism is assumed to be as follows: the aluminum reduces some of the nitrate to ammonium, simultaneously forming hydroxyl ions. The aluminum then reacts with the alkaline products in a very exothermic reaction leading to spontaneous heating up of the mixture. This can eventually lead to ignition. The reactions take place in solution and therefore moisture speeds up the reaction. The process is usually accompanied by the smell of ammonia. Some types of aluminum are more problematic than others. Stearin coated aluminum is generally safer to use. The whole process can be prevented in many cases by the addition of 1 to 2 percent of boric acid. This will neutralise the alkaline products. It is best to bind such compositions with non-aquaous binder/solvent systems such as red gum/ethanol. Since aluminum/nitrate mixtures are extensively used it is important to be aware of this problem which is why the combination is listed here.

 

 

 

 


 

Flash Powder:

ALL FLASH POWDERS ARE EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS. THEY WILL IGNITE FROM FRICTION, IMPACT, OR FLAME.

While it is assumed that the individual who is dispensing these materials is responsible and knowledgeable as to their use, the following pointers will prove helpful:

  1. Always use electrical ignition, either a commercial squib or Nichrome hot wire. The use of a squib is preferred because it provides a more positive ignition.
  2. Always use an approved flash pot, made from transite or other similar material.
  3. Always use the minimum amount of powder required to achieve the desired effect. In general, one quarter of a teaspoon will be sufficient.
  4. Always have only one person who is responsible for dispensing and storing the flash powders.
  5. Never pour the powder directly from the bottle into the flash pot. Measure the correct amount using a non-sparking metal, not plastic, spoon.
  6. Never confine or compact the powder in any way. To do so may lead to a violent explosion.
  7. Never return unused powder to the original bottle.
  8. Never mix two different colors of flash powder. In many cases, the chemicals in the two materials are incompatible with each other.
  9. Never pour flash powder from its plastic bottle onto plastic film or into another plastic container. The material is packed in plastic to reduce the danger of serious injury in case the powder should ignite in the bottle.
  10. Be extra careful on dry or low humidity days, when the chance of ignition by static electricity is high.

 

 

Chemical Notes:

 

Aluminum Al

An element used for brilliancy in the fine powder form. It can be purchased as a fine silvery or gray powder. All grades from technical to superpure (99.9%) can be used. The danger is from inhaling the dust and explosive room condition if too much dust goes into the air.

Aluminum Chloride AlCl3

This chemical must not come in contact with the skin as severe burns can result. The yellowish-white crystals or powder have a strong attraction for water. Purchase only in the anhydrous grade.

Amber

This is a fossil resin of vegetable origin and is yellowish- brown in color. It is used in fireworks to a small extent.

Ammonium Bichromate and Dichromate (NH4)2Cr2O7

A mild poison used in the manufacture of tabletop volcanoes (sometimes called Vesuvius Fire). It is available as orange crystals in a technical grade. Also used in smoke formulas.

Ammonium Chloride NH4NO3

The common name is Sal Ammoniac. Comes as colorless crystals or a white powder. The technical grade is used to manufacture safety explosives and smokes.

Ammonium Oxalate NH4C2O4

This compound takes the form of colorless, poisonous, crystals. The technical grade is suitable for the manufacture of safety explosives.

Ammonium Perchlorate (NH4ClO4)

This chemical can be made to explode by either heat or shock. Besides exploding in itself, it is used to manufacture other explosives.

Ammonium Permanganate NH4MnO4

A moderate explosive which can be detonated by either heat or shock.

Ammonium Picrate (NH4C6H2N3O7)

These bright orange crystals are used in armor piercing shells and fireworks. If heated to 300 degrees it will explode or it can be set off by shock. If you do any work with this chemical, it is advisable to keep it wet.

Aniline Dyes

These are used in smoke powder formulas. They are organic coal tar derivatives. Available in many different colors.

Aniline Green C23H25CIN2

Also known as Malachite Green. One of the many Aniline dyes. The green crystals are used in smoke formulas.

Anthracene

A coal tar derivative used as a source of dyestuff and for colored smokes. Available as colorless crystals which melt at 217 degrees.

Antimony Sb

Another name for this metal element is Antimony Regulus. Purchase the black powder in 99% purity. Not the yellow variety. It is used in pyrotechnics.

Antimony Fulminate

One of a group of unstable, explosive compounds related to Mercury Fulminate.

Antimony Potassium Tartrate

Also known under the name of Tartar Emetic. These poisonous, transparent, odorless crystals (or white powder) are used to make Antimony Fulminate. The moisture that is present can be driven off by heating to 100 degrees. Do not exceed this temperature or the chemical will decompose.

Antimony Sulfide (Sb2S3)

This has usefulness in sharpening the report of firecrackers, salutes, etc. or to add color to a fire. The technical black powder is suitable. Avoid contact with the skin; dermatitis or worse will be the result.

Aqua Regia

A strong acid containing 1 part concentrated Nitric Acid and 3 parts concentrated Hydrochloric Acid. Store in a well closed glass bottle in a dark place. This acid will attack all metals, including gold and platinum. It is used in making some explosives.

Arsenic Sulfide, Red

The common name is Realgar and it is also known as Red Arsenic. Purchase the technical grade, which is available as a poisonous orange-red powder. It is used in fireworks to impart color to the flame.

Arsenic Sulfide,Yellow (As2S3)

This Chemical is just as poisonous as its red brother and is also used in fireworks, somewhat. The common name is Kings Gold.

Arsenious Oxide (As2O)3

A white, highly poisonous powder used in fireworks. It is also known as Arsenious Trioxide, Arsenic Oxide and Arsenous Acid. Its uses are similar to Paris Green.

Asphaltum

A black bituminous substance, best described as powdered tar.

Auramine Hydrochloride

Also known as Auramine. It is used in smoke formulas. Available as yellow flakes or powder, which readily dissolves in alcohol.

Auramine

A certified Biological stain used in smoke cartridges.

Barium Carbonate BaCO3

This is a poisonous salt of Barium, which decomposes at a fairly high temperature, 1300 degrees. It is available as a fine white powder in the technical grade. It is used in fireworks as a color imparter.

Barium Chlorate Ba(ClO3)2H2O

Available as a white powder. It is poisonous, as are all Barium salts. It is used in fireworks, both as an oxidizer and color imparter. It is as powerful as Potassium Chlorate and should be handled with the same care. Melting point is 414 degrees.

Barium Nitrate Ba(NO3)2

The uses and precautions are the same as above with a comparison equal to Potassium Nitrate instead of the Chlorate. It melts at 500 degrees.

Bismuth Fulminate

One of a group of unstable, explosive compounds derived from Fulminic Acid.

Brass

This is an alloy of Copper and Zinc. Some also contain a small percentage of Tin. The commercial grade is suitable in powdered form. It is used in some fireworks formulas.

Calcium Carbide CaCO3

These grayish, irregular lumps are normally packed in waterproof and airtight metal containers. It is used in toy cannons. Mixed with water it forms Acetylene Gas (EXPLOSIVE).

Calcium Carbonate CaCO3

This occurs as the mineral Calcite. It is used for Phosphorous Torpedoes, but does not have any dangerous properties in itself. Also as an acid absorber in fireworks.

Calcium Fluoride CaF2

This finds its use in a smokeless firework mixture and is not used elsewhere. It is a white powder, also known as Fluorspar.

Calcium Phosphide Ca3P2

This compound, which comes as gray lumps, must be kept dry. Upon contact with water it will form the flammable gas, Phosphine. It is used in signal fires.

Camphor OC10H16

A ketone found in the wood of the Camphor tree, native to Taiwan and a few of our states. For the best results, buy the granulated, technical grade. Used in explosives and fireworks.

Castor Oil

The common drug store variety is used in some powders to reduce the sensitiveness and to waterproof the mixture.

Charcoal C

A form of the element, Carbon, it is used in fireworks and explosives as a reducing agent. It can be purchased as a dust up to a coarse powder. The softwood variety is best and it should be black, not brown.

Chrysoidine

An organic dye available as a red-brown powder. It is used in smoke formulas.

Clay

This can be purchased in the powdered form. It is used dry for chokes, nozzles and sealing firework cases. You can mix it with water to form paste if so desired.

Confectioners Sugar

Commonly called powdered sugar, it can be purchased at your local food store. The fineness is graded by the symbol XXXX. It is used in explosives.

Copper Cu

As any pure metal used in fireworks, this must also be in a powdered state. It is reddish in color, in fact, it is the only element to be found in nature having that color.

Copper Acetoarsenite (Cu)3As2O3Cu(C2H3O2)2

The popular name for this is Paris Green. It is also called Kings Green or Vienna Green. It is readily available as an insecticide or as a technical grade, poisonous, emerald green powder. It is used in fireworks to add color.

Copper Arsenate CuHAsO3

A fine, light green, poisonous powder. It is used in the technical grade for fireworks.

Copper Carbonate CuCO3.Cu(OH)2

Also known as Cupric Carbonate or Artificial Malachite. It is a green powder used in fireworks.

Copper Chlorate Cu(ClO3)2.6H2O

Or, technically, Cupric Chlorate. A poison used in fireworks as an oxidizer and to add color.

Copper Chloride CuCl2

An oxidizer and color imparter used in fireworks. Purchase the brownish-yellow technical grade. This is a poisonous compound.

Copper Nitrate Cu(NO3)2.3H2O

Or Cupric Nitrate. These blue crystals absorb water, as you can see from the formula. It is used in fireworks.

Copper Oxide CuO

When ordering be sure to specify the black powder. It is also available in red. The technical grade will serve the purpose for fireworks.

Copper Oxychloride

A green powder used to impart oxygen and color especially to blue star formulas. It is a poison and the dust should not be inhaled.

Copper Sulfate CuSO4.5H2O

Known as Blue Vitriol, this poisonous compound is available as blue crystals or blue powder. It can be purchased in some drugstores. Used in fireworks for blue stars.

Copper Sulfide CuS

As are the other copper salts, this is also used in fireworks to add color. The technical grade is suitable and is black in color. You can make your own by passing Hydrogen Sulfide into a Copper salt.

Decaborane B10H14

This chemical is classed as a flammable solid and is used for rocket fuels. It will remain stable indefinitely at room temperature.

Diazoacetic Ester C4H6N2O2

A very severe explosive in the form of a yellow oil. It will explode on contact with Sulfuric acid or when heated. Very volatile and explosive.

Diazoaminobenzene C6H5N:N.NH.C6H5

These golden yellow crystals will explode when heated to 150 degrees.

P-Diazobenzeneslfonic Acid C6H4NSO3N

Another severe explosive. It can be exploded by rubbing the white paste or powder, or by heating.

Diazodimitrophenol HOC6H3(NO2)2N(:N)

An organic explosive in the same group as the above compound. Also very sensitive to shock or heat.

Diazomethane CH2N2

Also known as Azimethylene. This yellow gas is also in the above group and can be exploded by heat or shock.

Dinitrotoulene

Known as DNT for short. These yellow crystals are used in the manufacture of other explosives.

Ethyl Alcohol

This alcohol is the only one that is useful for fireworks. It should be about 95% pure. It is poisonous because of the impurities. It is clear, like water, and also a very flammable liquid.

Fluorine Perchlorate FClO4

A very sensitive colorless gas which will explode on the slightest contact with a rough surface. It can also be detonated by heating to 168 degrees. Avoid all contact with this gas, as even a trace of it will attack the lungs.

Gallic Acid C7H6O5.H2O

A white or pale fawn colored powder used in fireworks to make whistles. When mixed with some chlorates, Permanganates or Silver salts, it may explode.

Glycerol C3H8O3

Commonly known as Glycerin. It is obtained from oils and fats as a by-product when making soaps. It is a sweet warm tasting syrupy liquid which is used in several explosives. Contact with Chromium Trionide or potassium Permanganate may cause an explosion.

Gold Explosive

A dark brown powder which explodes when heated or rubbed. Upon exploding, it yields Gold, Nitrogen and Ammonia. The exact composition is unknown because it is too explosive to be dried.

Guanidine Nitrate CH5N3.HNO3

Guanidine is found in turnip juice, rice hulls and earthworms. It is used in the preparation of this chemical, or, it can be made from Ammonium Nitrate and Dicyanodiamide. To be of any value, it should be 95% pure. Guanidine Nitrate is not explosive itself, but is used in the manufacture of explosives. It is a white powder which melts at 210 degrees.

Gum Arabic

A dried, gummy, exudate from tropical trees. It is available as flakes, fragments and powder. It is used as a binder in firework formulas.

Hexachlorethane CCl3.CCl3

Also known as Carbon Hexachloride, this chemical is used in smoke formulas It can be obtained in either powder or crystals.

Indigo

A dark blue crystalline powder which is a commercial dye. You can purchase either the technical or pure grade for smokes.

Iodine

Heavy grayish metallic looking crystals or flakes. Poisonous. Purchase the U.S.P. grade. It is being used in making explosives.

Iron Fe

The granular powder (at least 99% pure) is needed for several firework pieces. It is not a dangerous element but will rust very easily, making it useless.

Iron Oxide FeO These black crystals are used in thermite mixtures. When ordering, it may be listed as Ferrous Oxide. Black.

Kieselguhr

This is a whitish powder used in dynamites. It is a siliceous earth, consisting mainly of diatoms. A good grade will absorb about four times its own weight.

Lactose

Also called milk sugar. This white powder has a sweet taste. The crude grade will work for smoke formulas.

Lampblack

This is another name for the element, carbon(pencil lead). It is a finely powdered black dust, resulting from the burning of crude oils. It is used for special effects in fireworks.

Lead Azide PbN6

This is a poisonous white powder which explodes by heating to 350 degrees or by concussion. The main usage is in primers. It can be made from Sodium Azide and Lead Nitrate.

Lead Bromate Pb(Bro3)2.H2O

Poisonous, colorless crystals. Pure Lead Bromate is not explosive unless it is made from precipitated Lead Acetate with an alkali bromate. Made in this manner, it can be exploded by rubbing or striking.

Lead Chloride PbCl2

It is available as a white crystalline, poisonous powder which melts at 501 degrees. It is used in fireworks.

Lead Dioxide PbO2

Also known as Brown Lead Oxide, this dark brown powder is used as an oxidizer in matches and fireworks. Poisonous.

Lead Nitrate Pb(NO3)2

Available as white or colorless crystals in the technical grade. The uses include matches and explosives. Poisonous.

Lead Oxide Pb3O4

Also known as Red Lead or Lead Tetroxide. A 95% purity is desired for matches. Also poisonous.

Linseed Oil

Available in many forms: Brown, boiled, raw and refined. All are made from the seed of the flax plant. The cheapest form is suitable for fireworks. Purchase from a paint store.

Lithium Chloride LiCl

The technical grade is sometimes used to add color to fireworks compositions. Available as a white powder.

Manganese Dioxide MnO2

Used in pyrotechnic mixtures, matches and match box friction surfaces. Available as a technical grade, black powder. This oxidizer decomposes at 535 degrees.

Magnesium Mg

This metal is used in a powdered state for brilliancy in flares and will even burn vigorously underwater.

Mercuric Chloride HgCl2

A white, poisonous powder. Also known as Corrosive Sublimate. It can be made by subliming Mercuric Sulfate with ordinary table salt and then purified by recrystallization. The U.S.P. grade is used for some firework compositions.

Mercuric Oxide HgO

Available in two forms; red and yellow. Both forms give the same oxidizing effects in fireworks. The technical grade is suitable.. All forms are poisonous.

Mercuric Oxycyanide HgO.Hg(CN)2

In the pure state it is a violent poison which will explode when touched by flame or friction.

Mercuric Thiocyanate Hg(SCN)2

A poisonous, white odorless powder used in the making of Pharaoh"s Serpents. Use the technical grade.

Mercurous Chloride HgCl

Also known as Calomel or Mercuric Monochloride. This white, non- poisonous powder will brighten an otherwise dull colored mixture. Sometimes it is replaced by PVC or Hexachlorobenzene and even Antimony Sulfide, for the same purpose. Note that it is non poisonous only when it is 100% pure. Never confuse this chemical with Mercuric Chloride, which is poisonous in any form.

Mercury Fulminate Hg(ONC)2.H2O

A crystalline compound used in primers, percussion caps, blasting caps and other detonators. Explodes very easily from heat or shock.

Methylene Blue C16H18N3SCl

This dark green powder is used for smokes in the technical grade. Also called Methylthionine Chloride.

Mineral Jelly

Also known as Vaseline, Petrolatum or Petroleum Jelly. This acts as a stabilizer in fireworks and explosives.

Naphthalene

This is a tar product that you may know better as Moth Flakes or moth balls. Only the 100% pure form should be used in making smoke powders. The melting point is 100 degrees.

Nitric Acid HNO3

Also known as Aqua Fortis. It is a clear, colorless corrosive liquid, which fumes in moist air. It can react violently with organic matter such as Charcoal, Alcohol or Turpentine and consequently must be handled Very carefully. It is available in three forms: White fuming, Red Fuming and Concentrated (70 to 71%). The latter, with a specific gravity of 1.42, is the proper grade to buy. Whatever grade, avoid contact with the fumes or the liquid. Contact with the skin will cause it to burn and turn yellow. It is used to manufacture many explosives.

Nitroglycerin C3H5N3O9

A liquid with a sweet burning taste, but do not taste it or it will produce a violent headache or acute poisoning. It can be made to explode by rapid heating or percussion. It is used as an explosive and also to make other explosives.

Nitroguanidine H2NC(NH)NHNO2

A yellow solid made by dissolving Fuanidine in concentrated Sulfuric Acid and then diluting with water. Dangerous Explosive.

Nitromethane CH3NO2

An oily, poisonous liquid, which is used as rocket fuel.

Oil of Spike

This is a volatile oil obtained from the leaves of certain trees. Keep this colorless (or pale yellow) liquid well closed and away from light. It is used in some fireworks.

Paraffin

This is a white or transparent wax. It is normally sold in a solid block. You can use it to make the required powder.

Paranitroanaline Red (H2NC6H4)3COH

A dye used in smoke formulas. It dissolves in alcohol and will melt at 139 degrees. It is also known as P-Aminophenyl.

Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate C5H8N4O12

A high explosive known as PRTN. Besides being an explosive itself it is used in a detonating fuse called Primacord.

Perchloryl Fluoride ClFO3

A gas under normal air pressure. When brought in contact with alcohol, explosions have resulted.

Phosphorus P

This element comes in three forms, with three different ways of reacting. They resemble each other in name only. Red Phosphorous is the only suitable form for fireworks and matches. It is a non-poisonous violet-red powder. It will ignite at 260 degrees. When making a formula containing Phosphorous, be sure to work with it in a WET STATE. This is a most dangerous chemical to work with and should be handled only by the most experienced. Oxidizers have been known to detonate violently without warning when mixed with Red Phosphorous.

Phosphorous Pentasulfide

Also known as Phosphoric Sulfide. These light yellow crystals are used in matches.

Phosphorus Trisulfide P2S3

This chemical can catch fire from the moisture that is present in air, therefore the container should be kept tightly capped. The technical grade, purchased as grayish-yellow masses, is used in making matches.

Picric Acid

This is used to bring out and improve the tone of colors in various fireworks. It is also used to make other chemicals that are used in fireworks and explosives. Picric Acid can explode from heat or shock. It is interesting to note what it is called in other countries: Britain - Lyddite; France - Melinite; Japan - Shimose.

Plaster of Paris

This is a white powder, composed mostly of Calcium Sulfate. It is used, by mixing with water, for end plugs in fireworks and also in some formulas.

Potassium K

A soft silvery metal element. It will react vigorously with water and several acids. It is not used directly except for some experiments.

Potassium Chlorate KClO3

This, perhaps, is the most widely used chemical in fireworks. Before it was known, mixtures were never spectacular in performance. It opened the door to what fireworks are today. It is a poisonous, white powder that is used as an oxidizer. Never ram a mixture containing Potassium Chlorate. Do not store mixtures which contain this chemical for any great length of time, as they may explode spontaneously.

Potassium Dichromate K2CR2O7

Also known as Potassium Bichromate. The commercial grade is used in fireworks and matches. The bright orange crystals are poisonous. Also used in smokes.

Potassium Ferrocyanide K4Fe(CN)6.3H2O

Lemon yellow crystals or powder which will decompose at high temperatures. It is used in the manufacture of explosives.

Potassium Nitrate KNO3

Commonly called Saltpeter; this chemical is an oxidizer which decomposes at 400 degrees. It is well known as a component in gunpowder and is also used in other firework pieces. Available as a white powder.

Potassium Perchlorate KClO4

Much more stable than its Chlorate brother, this chemical is a white or slightly pink powder. It can often substitute for Potassium Chlorate to make the formula safer. It will not yield its oxygen as easily, but to make up for this, it gives off more oxygen. It is also poisonous.

Potassium Picrate C6H2KN3O7

A salt of Picric Acid, this chemical comes in yellow, reddish or greenish crystals. It will explode when struck or heated. It is used in fireworks.

Potassium Thiocyanate KCNS

Colorless or white crystals which are used to make the Pharaoh's Serpent. The commercial grade or pure grade is suitable.

n-Propyl Nitrate C3H7NC2

Prepared from Silver Nitrate and n-Propyl Bromide and is used as a jet propellant.

Red Gum

Rosin similar to shellac and can often replace it in many firework formulas. Red gum is obtained from the bark of trees.

Rhodamine B

A basic fluorescent organic pigment also known as Rhodamine Red. Available in green or red crystals or powder. It is used in smoke formulas.

Shellac

An organic rosin made from the secretion of insects which live in India. The exact effect it produces in fireworks is not obtainable from other gums. The common mixture of Shellac and Alcohol sold in hardware stores should be avoided. Purchase the powdered variety, which is orange in color.

Silver Fulminate AgONC

A crystalline salt similar to Mercury Fulminate but more sensitive. In fact, too sensitive for commercial blasting. It is used for toy torpedoes and poppers.

Silver Oxide Ag2O

Dark brown, odorless powder. It is potentially explosive and becomes increasingly more so with time. Keep away from Ammonia and combustible solvents. The technical grade, which is about 92% pure, is suitable.

Sodium Aluminum Fluoride Na3AlF6

Also known as mineral, Cryolite. It is used in fireworks in the white powdered form.

Sodium Bicarbonate NaHCO3

When a formula calls for this chemical, you can use Baking Soda (NOT Baking Powder). It is a white, non-poisonous powder.

Sodium Carbonate NaCO3

This white powder is used in fireworks, but not to any great extent. The anhydrous grade is best.

Sodium Chlorate NaClO3

An oxidizer similar to Potassium Chlorate, although not as powerful and also with the disadvantage of absorbing water. Decomposes at 325 degrees.

Sodium Chloride NaCl

This is used in fireworks. You can use the common form, table salt (or rock salt if made into a powder).

Sodium Nitrate NaNO3

Also known as Chile Saltpeter; very similar to Saltpeter, (Potassium Nitrate). It is used where large amounts of powder are needed in fireworks and explosives. It will absorb water as do other sodium salts.

Sodium Oxalate Na2C2O4

This is not a strong poison, but is poisonous, and you should not come in contact with it or breathe the dust for any prolonged period. The technical grade is best for making yellow fires.

Sodium Perchlorate NaClO4H2O

This chemical is used in fireworks and explosives. It is very similar to Potassium Perchlorate with the exception that it will absorb water.

Sodium Peroxide Na2O2

A yellowish-white powder. It can explode or ignite in contact with organic substances.

Sodium Picrate

Very similar to Potassium Picrate and should be handled with the same precautions. It is also known under the name of Sodium Trinitrophenolate.

Sodium Silicate Na2SlO3.9H2O

This chemical, commonly called water glass, is used as a fireproof glue. It is available in syrupy solution and can be thinned with water if necessary. When dry it resembles glass, hence the name. It can, when desired, be thickened with calcium carbonate, zinc oxide, powdered silica, or fiberglass (chopped) if extra strength is desired.

Stearin

Colorless, odorless, tasteless, soapy crystal or powder. Sometimes referred to as Stearic Acid. Purchase the technical grade, powder. It can often take the place of Sulphur and Charcoal in fireworks.

Strontium Carbonate SrCO3

Known in the natural state as Strontianite, this chemical is used for adding a red color to fires. It comes as a white powder in a pure, technical or natural state.

Strontium Chloride SrCl2.6H2O

A colorless or white granulated chemical used in pyrotechnics. It will absorb water and is not used often.

Strontium Nitrate Sr(NO3)2

By far the most common chemical used to produce red in flares, stars and fires. Available in the technical powder grade. An oxidizer with 45% oxygen and absorbs water.

Strontium Sulfate SrSO4

This does not absorb water as quickly as nitrate and is used when storage is necessary. In its natural state it is known as Celestine, which compares to grades used in fireworks.

Sulphur (Sulfur) S

For example type II burns at 250 degrees giving off choking fumes. Purchase good pyro grades low in acid. Used in many types of fireworks and explosives.

Sulfuric Acid H2SO4

Also called Oil of Vitriol, it is a clear liquid with the consistency of a thin syrup. Bottles should be kept tightly closed as it is a very corrosive and dangerous chemical. It has a great affinity for water and will absorb it from any source. The effect can be a charred surface or fire. The grade used in explosives is 93-98%.

Sulfur Trioxide SO3

This powder will combine with water with explosive violence to form Sulfuric Acid. If brought in contact with wood flour and a drop of water is added, a fire will start. It is used to make some explosives.

Trinitrotoluene (NO2)3C6H2CH3

Commonly known as TNT. The poisonous crystals are colorless in the pure state. It is more powerful and expensive than Dynamite. If not confined it will burn like dynamite. Used as a high explosive and to make others.

Wood Flour

This is merely another name for sawdust or wood meal. It is used in fireworks and explosives.

Zinc Zn

Of all the forms, only the dust is suitable in the technical or high purity grade. It is a gray powder used in star mixtures and for fuel in model rockets.

Zinc Borate 3ZnO.2B2O3

A white amorphous powder used in making smoke formulas. A relatively safe compound to handle.

Zinc Carbonate ZnCO3

Another white Zinc compound used in some smoke formulas. Also a safe compound to handle.

Zinc Oxide ZnO

Sometimes called Flowers of Zinc. This is a white or yellowish powder used in some firework formulas. It has also found use as a thickening agent in water glass when a stronger pyro paste is desired.

 

 

 

HOW TO MIX INGREDIENTS:

 

The best way to mix two dry chemicals to form an explosive is to do as the small-scale fireworks manufacturer's do:

 

Ingredients:

         1 large sheet of smooth paper (for example a page from a newspaper that does not use staples)

         The dry chemicals needed for the desired compound.

 

-Measure out the appropriate amounts of the two chemicals, and pour them in two small heaps near opposite corners of the sheet.

-Pick up the sheet by the two corners near the powders, allowing the powders to roll towards the middle of the sheet.

-By raising one corner and then the other, roll the powders back and forth in the middle of the open sheet, taking care not to let the mixture spill from either of the loose ends.

-Pour the powder off from the middle of the sheet, and use immediately. If it must be stored use airtight containers (35mm film canisters work nicely) and store away from people, houses, and valuable items.

 

 

Tools:

 

 

As with many hobbies, pyrotechnics requires some tools. For what I do, it's usually all pretty simple stuff. When you get into real pyrotechnics, you need things like ball mills, presses, and star rollers. For some info on those things, click here and here.


Scales:

A good scale is an absolute must for real pyrotechnics. When measuring compositions, all measurements are done by weight, so you need an accurate scale. Postal scales that use a spring are crap and are not suitable for accurate measurements. You need either a digital scale or a tripe beam balance.

My digital scale:


I didn't shop around when I bought my scale, so I got ripped off! I bought the "MX-200 Pyro Scale" for $90 and later found it on eBay for much less. There are many different places that sell scales, and you should get one with 0.1g accuracy.

A few sites that sell scales (there are many more):

Cyberscale
eBay is definitely worth a look, you can get great deals sometimes!
eXactaDigital
Balances.com
Pyrotek has scales, along with a lot of other stuff.


Ball mills:

Ball mills are very important to the serious pyrotechnician because they are needed to make good blackpowder at home and to mill powders finely. You can either buy one or make one and rock tumblers often work just as well (some ball mills are just rock tumblers with a different name).

Lortone rock tumbler sold by United Nuclear as a ball mill:

UN ball mills and milling media.

The "ball mills" UN sells are Lortone rock/jewelry tumblers, but from what I've heard, they work very well. The Lortone website has them listed much cheaper than UN sells them, so you should check it out. eBay is also a place to find them, but after shipping it might not be any cheaper.

Making a bal mill can be a good project if you like building things, and it will be a lot cheaper than buying one. A few pages on making your own:

Dan Williams ball mill
Wouter Visser's ball mill


Mortar & Pestle:

A mortar and pestle are very useful for grinding up chemicals into powder. For larger amounts or for making black powder you will obviously want a ball mill, but for small amounts a mortar and pestle can be very useful. They can be purchased at cooking stores and chemistry supply stores/websites.

Mortar and Pestle:


Coffee Grinder:

Coffee grinders are somewhere between a mortal and pestle and a ball mill. I find some of the best things to use them for is to grind prilled KNO3 and NH4NO3. Some people also use them to grind Al foil before they ball mill it to make rather large flake Al powder. I got mine for $11.

Coffee grinder:


Glassware:

Glassware is used more often to make HE's than to be used for LE's. The basics are shown here, flasks, graduated cylinders and thermometers.

Assorted glassware:


Electric Hotplate:

Hotplates can be used for a number of things related to pyrotechnics/explosives. You could use it for melting KNO3/sucrose, boiling 3% H2O2 to concentrate, or any other procedure like TNP that requires heating. You could get a fancy one specifically for lab use that will get hotter and do it faster, or you can buy one intended for home use. I bought a "Toastmaster" hotplate for $20 at a large hardware/appliance store.

Hotplate:


There are plenty of basic tools that will often come in handy, that are a lot cheaper also!

Ignition supplies:

You will definitely need something to light your devices (unless you are using electrical ignition) so these are some of the most basic things. A lighter and matches are both good, but are not ideal for directly lighting fuses. A better choice is a punk. Punks are pretty much just a stick with sawdust or something on them. They look and burn like incense, but without the smell. Because you have a constant coal, they work very well for lighting fuses. Just be sure not to light your device and then toss your lit punk into a pile of dry grass! There are two general sizes, incense size and much larger ones that I like better.

Protection:

Safety is a very important part of pyro, as it can be a fairly dangerous hobby. Your eyes are very vulnerable, so you should were eye protection while working with devices and setting them off. There are several different choices of protection, either eye or full face. Choose what to wear depending on what you are doing. It would of course be best to have full face protection at all times, but it isn't always essential.

Hand protection should be used whenever you are working with something that has the potential to ignite. Leather gloves should be worn for best protection. While working with powders, you should were a dust mask to keep particles out of your nose, mouth, throat and lungs. Check MSDS sheets for specific precautions for different chemicals. A respirator is a good thing to have sometimes, Ill probably buy one myself before too long.

Knives:

Knives have all kinds of uses, and can often be used for things such as cutting open firework casings. There are millions of things to do with a knife, not just pyro related. Buy a good one and it should last you a long time.

Light:

You will probably set off some of your devices at night, and it's a good idea to be able to see where you are going! This is very basic, so it can sometimes be forgotten. Maglites are good, but I really like a lightweight LED headlamp because you don't need your hands and it is very bright.

Pliers/cutters:

Pliers can both be useful for things like peeling casings or crushing powder. I use wire cutters for things like cutting the sticks off bottle rockets for making a Can o Rockets.

If you think of any other tools I forgot, feel free to email me and I'll add them.

 

 

[Information copied from http://krimzonpyro.com/ep/infodir/tools.html]

 

 

 

3.0 EXPLOSIVE THEORY

     An explosive is any material that, when ignited by heat or shock, undergoes rapid decomposition or oxidation.  This process releases energy that is stored in the material in the form of heat and light, or by breaking down into gaseous compounds that occupy a much larger volume that the original piece of material.  Because this expansion is very rapid, large volumes of air are displaced by the expanding gases.  This expansion occurs at a speed greater than the speed of sound, and so a sonic boom occurs.  This explains the mechanics behind an explosion.  Explosives occur in several forms: high-order explosives which detonate, low order explosives, which burn, and primers, which may do both.

     High order explosives detonate.  A detonation occurs only in a high order explosive.  Detonations are usually incurred by a shockwave that passes through a block of the high explosive material.  The shockwave breaks apart the molecular bonds between the atoms of the substance, at a rate approximately equal to the speed of sound traveling through that material.  In a high explosive, the fuel and oxidizer are chemically bonded, and the shockwave breaks apart these bonds, and re-combines the two materials to produce mostly gasses. T.N.T., ammonium nitrate, and R.D.X. are examples of high order explosives.

     Low order explosives do not detonate; they burn, or undergo oxidation. when heated, the fuel(s) and oxidizer(s) combine to produce heat, light, and gaseous products.  Some low order materials burn at about the same speed under pressure as they do in the open, such as black powder. Others, such as gunpowder, which is correctly called nitrocellulose, burn much faster and hotter when they are in a confined space, such as the barrel of a firearm; they usually burn much slower than black powder when they are ignited in unpressurized conditions.
Black powder, nitrocellulose, and flash powder are good examples of low order explosives.

     Primers are peculiarities to the explosive field.  Some of them, such as mercury fulminate, will function as a low or high order explosive.  They are usually more sensitive to friction, heat, or shock, than the high or low explosives.  Most primers perform like a high order explosive, except that they are much more sensitive.  Still others merely burn, but when they are confined, they burn at a great rate and with a large expansion of gasses and a shockwave. Primers are usually used in a small amount to initiate, or cause to decompose, a high order explosive, as in an artillery shell.  But, they are also frequently used to ignite a low order explosive; the gunpowder in a bullet is ignited by the detonation of its primer.

 

 

3.1 explosive classification:

 

 

CLASSIFICATION

EXPLOSIVE

COLOR

USES

RATE OF DETONATION

REMARKS

Low Explosives

Black Powder

Black, gray or cocoa brown

Safety fuze, Muzzle loaders

1,312 feet per second

very sensitive to friction heat and shock

Smokeless Powder

Light brown to black

Small arms, mortars, rockets

Rapid burning

very sensitive to friction heat and shock

Primary Explosives

Lead Azide

White to buff gray

Detonators, priming compositions

13,400 to 17,000 feet per second

very sensitive to friction heat and shock

Lead Styphnate

White to buff gray

Priming compositions

17,100 Feet per second

very sensitive to friction heat and shock

Mercury Fulminate

Light orange to reddish brown

Detonators, priming compositions

11,500 to 21,100 feet per second

very sensitive to friction heat and shock

Tetracene

Pale yellow

Detonators, priming compositions

Less than 13,100 feet per second

sensitive to shock and heat.  Used in combination with other explosives

Secondary Explosives

Amatol

Buff to yellow to dark brown

Main charge for bombs, projectiles

14,800 to 21,100 feet per second

Developed during WWII to conserve TNT

Ammonal

Gray

Projectile filler

17,700 feet per second

water soluable

Ammonium Nitrate

White but may be dyed other colors

Ingredient of many explosive mixtures

3,300 to 8,200 feet per second

Must be kept cool

Ammonium Picrate

yellow to orange to red

Armor piercing projectiles and bombs

22,500 feet per second

Relatively insensitive to shock and friction

Astrolite

White pellets

Demolition

2,600 to 26, 200 feet per second

Inert until mixed.   Do not use with Tetryl

C-4

White to light brown

Plastic demolition explosive

26,400 feet per second

Insensitive to impact and friction

Cyclotol

Buff to yellow to brown

Fragmentation bombs, projectiles

25,900 to 26,400 feet per second

Excellent for blast effects

Flex-x

any color--Usually olive drab or red

Cutting charges

22,300 feet per second

Flexible, waterproof, insensitve to shock

Secondary Explosives

HBX (Torpex)

Gray

Main charge filler for underwater bombs and torpedoes

22,700 to 23,700 feet per second

Excellent for blast effects

HMX

White

Mixed with TNT in high blast warheads

29,900 feet per second

By product of RDX manufacture

Kinepak

Powder is white, the liquid is usually pink

Construction

20,100 feet per second

Inert until mixed

Minol

gray

Filler for bombs and depth charges

19,100 to 19,700 feet per second

Comparable to TNT in sensitivity to initiation

Nitro-Cellulose

White

Blasting, smokeless powder

21,900 feet per second

Used in flashless powder

Nitro-glycerin

Clear to amber.   Red fumes mean "Beware"

Demolition, ingredient in dynamite

4,900 to 25,400 feet per second

Can be absorbed through skin causing headache

Secondary Explosives

Nitro-guanidine

White to yellow

Propellant and bursting charge ingredient

25,100 feet per second

One of the least sensitive military explosives

Nitro-starch

white

Mortar shells, grenades

16,00 feet per second

Another form of Nitro-cellulose

Octol

Buff

Projectile and bomb filler

27,500 to 28,300 feet per second

Excellent for blast effects

Pentolite

White to yellow to gray

Shape charges, boosters

24,500 feet per second

Presence of   grit increases impact sensitivity

PETN

white unless dyed

Det cord, blasting caps, primer

27,200 feet per second

Presence of  grit increases impact sensitivity

Picratol

Yellow to brownish yellow

Armor piercing projectiles and bombs

22,900 feet per second

Insensitive to initiation

Secondary Explosives

Picric acid

Cream to yellow to red

Alternative filler

19,00 feet per second

Dangerous when it deteriorates

RDX

White but may be dyed

Det cord, blasting caps, used to make C-4

26,800 feet per second

Not used much until WWII

Tetryl

Clear to yellow to gray

Booster, blasting caps

25,800 feet per second

Colors skin reddish brown and causes rash

Tetrytol

Light yellow to buff

Bursters, demolition blocks

24,000 to 24,200 feet per second

Similar to TNT and Tetryl

TNT

Light yellow to brown to light gray

Bombs, projectiles, demolition

21,800 to 22,400 feet per second

Standard with which all other explosives are measured

Torpex

Gray

Depth charges, mines

24,600 feet per second

Excellent for blast effects

Tritonal

Silvergray

Bombs

21,200 to 22,000 feet per second

More powerful and more sensitive to shock than TNT

strobe.gif (1032 bytes)

stary.gif (3310 bytes)Dynamite

There are hundreds of formulas for dynamite and there is no set standard for detonation speed,   color, or  size.   Dynamite with nitroglycerin as an ingredient is becoming rare.   Nitroglycerin dynamite will crystalize after a long period of storage.   A sudden temperature difference of 3 degrees can cause these crystals to detonate without warning.

 

 

 

 

4.0 Chemical Equivalency list:

 

 

Acacia................................................................Gum Arabic

Acetic Acid..............................................................Vinegar

Aluminum Oxide............................................................Alumia

Aluminum Potassium Sulphate.................................................Alum

Aluminum Sulfate............................................................Alum

Ammonium Carbonate.....................................................Hartshorn

Ammonium Hydroxide.......................................................Ammonia

Ammonium Oleate.....................................................Ammonia Soap

Amylacetate...........................................................Banana Oil

Barium Sulfide.........................................................Black Ash

Carbon Carbinate...........................................................Chalk

Carbontetrachloride...............................................Cleaning Fluid

Calcium Hypochloride............................................Bleaching Powder

Calcium Oxide...............................................................Lime

Calcium Sulfate.................................................Plaster of Paris

Carbonic Acid............................................................Seltzer

Cetyltrimethylammoniumbromide......................................Ammonium Salt

Ethylinedichloride...................................................Dutch Fluid

Furfuraldehyde..........................................................Bran Oil

Glucose...............................................................Corn Syrup

Graphite.............................................................Pencil Lead

Hydrochloric Acid..................................................Muriatic Acid

Hydrogen Peroxide.......................................................Peroxide

Lead Acetate.......................................................Sugar of Lead

Lead Tero-oxide.........................................................Red Lead

Magnesium Silicate..........................................................Talc

Magnesium Sulfate.....................................................Epsom Salt

Methylsalicylate................................................Winter Green Oil

Naphthalene............................................................Mothballs

Phenol.............................................................Carbolic Acid

Potassium Bicarbonate............................................Cream of Tarter

Potassium Chromium Sulfate............................................Chromealum

Potassium Nitrate.....................................................Salt Peter

Sodium Oxide................................................................Sand

Sodium Bicarbonate...................................................Baking Soda

Sodium Borate..............................................................Borax

Sodium Carbonate....................................................Washing Soda

Sodium Chloride.............................................................Salt

Sodium Hydroxide.............................................................Lye

Sodium Silicate............................................................Glass

Sodium Sulfate....................................................Glauber's Salt

Sodium Thiosulfate...........................................Photographer's Hypo

Sulfuric Acid.......................................................Battery Acid

Sucrose...............................................................Cane Sugar

Zinc Chloride.....................................................Tinner's Fluid

Zinc Sulfate.......................................................White Vitriol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 LISTS OF SUPPLIERS AND MORE INFORMATION

     Most, if not all, of the information in this publication can be obtained through a public or university library.  There are also many publications that are put out by people who want to make money by telling other people how to make explosives at home.  Adds for such appear frequently in paramilitary magazines and newspapers.  This list is presented to show the large number of places that information and materials can be purchased from. It also includes fireworks companies and the like.


COMPANY NAME AND ADDRESS               WHAT COMPANY SELLS
________________________               __________________


FULL AUTO CO. INC.                     EXPLOSIVE RECIPES,
P.O. BOX 1881                          PAPER TUBING
MURFREESBORO, TN
37133
_______________________________________________________________________________

UNLIMITED                              CHEMICALS AND FUSE
BOX 1378-SN
HERMISTON, OREGON
97838
_______________________________________________________________________________

AMERICAN FIREWORKS NEWS                FIREWORKS NEWS MAGAZINE WITH
SR BOX 30                              SOURCES AND TECHNIQUES
DINGMAN'S FERRY, PENNSYLVANIA
18328
_______________________________________________________________________________

BARNETT INTERNATIONAL INC.             BOWS, CROSSBOWS, ARCHERY MATERIALS,
125 RUNNELS STREET                     AIR RIFLES
P.O. BOX 226
PORT HURON, MICHIGAN
48060
_______________________________________________________________________________

CROSSMAN AIR GUNS                      AIR GUNS
P.O. BOX 22927
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
14692
_______________________________________________________________________________

EXECUTIVE PROTECTION PRODUCTS INC.     TEAR GAS GRENADES,
316 CALIFORNIA AVE.                    PROTECTION DEVICES
RENO, NEVADA
89509
_______________________________________________________________________________

BADGER FIREWORKS CO. INC.              CLASS "B" AND "C" FIREWORKS
BOX 1451
JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN
53547
_______________________________________________________________________________

NEW ENGLAND FIREWORKS CO. INC.         CLASS "C" FIREWORKS
P.O. BOX 3504
STAMFORD, CONNECTICUTT
06095
_______________________________________________________________________________

RAINBOW TRAIL                          CLASS "C" FIREWORKS
BOX 581
EDGEMONT, PENNSYLVANIA
19028
_______________________________________________________________________________

STONINGTON FIREWORKS INC.              CLASS "C" AND "B" FIREWORKS
4010 NEW WILSEY BAY U.25 ROAD
RAPID RIVER, MICHIGAN
49878
_______________________________________________________________________________

WINDY CITY FIREWORKS INC.              CLASS "C" AND "B" FIREWORKS
P.O. BOX 11                            {GOOD PRICES!}
ROCHESTER, INDIANNA
46975
_______________________________________________________________________________

*Any high school or college science or MST classroom has a buch of good chemicals that are very useful in making many things in this book. Obviously youl have to steal what you need, so be careful; if you are caught, you problley be arrested and/or expelled.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

5.1-WEBSITES (links):

 

 

Skylighter-http://www.skylighter.com/- Probably the biggest and best online supplier. They have a massive product selection and good prices. They have many books and videos on pyrotechnics, as well as high quality pyro tools. You must be on file with them to order, which means sending a copy of your drivers license or other ID.

Firefox-http://www.firefox-fx.com/- Similar selection to Skylighter. They have some products Skylighter does not and vice versa. You must be on file with them to order.

Iowa Pyro Supply-http://www.iowapyrosupply.com/-I don't really know much about this place, but they seem to have a good reputation on rec.pyrotechnics. Good selection and prices, you must be on file to order.

Pyrotek-http://www.pyrotek.org/cgi-bin/newCataloger.cgi- Pyrotek sells a wide variety of pyro, rocketry and chemistry supplies. They have a large selection and decent prices. Warning! I have heard some bad things about this place. For example, I got an email from somebody saying they ordered fuse here, never got it, and did not get their money back. I have also heard from numerous people who report having no problems at all. I have ordered from them with no problems.

Dawntreader Pyrotechnics-http://www.dawntreader.net/info.html - Haven't heard much about them, but they have quite a few chemicals and decent prices.

Wolter Pyro Tools-http://www.wolterpyrotools.com/index.html - Nice tools for rockets, comets etc.

Pyrosupplies.com-http://www.pyrosupplies.com/ - "High quality and hard to find pyrotechnic supplies"

Precocious Pyrotechnics-http://www.pyro-pro.com/ - Non-chemical supplies like mortar tubes and other cardboard products.

LORTONE, inc.-http://www.lortone.com/ - Rock tumblers often used as ball mills. Lists local distributors.

United Nuclear-http://www.unitednuclear.com/-No ID required, they have a lot of good products, but prices are very high for many things. Shop around before buying here. The no longer carry things like KClO4 and dark flake Al because too many losers ordered them and got in trouble.

Stanford Systems Aerospace-http://www.ssaerospace.com/-A rocketry supplier. Warning! Many people (including myself) have ordered from here and had serious delays or have not received orders. DO NOT ORDER FROM HERE!

EBay-http://www.ebay.com/ - You can sometimes find chemicals like kno3, sulfur, and potassium perchlorate here, but prices will most likely not be very good.

Cannonfuse.com-http://www.cannonfuse.com/- They sell fuse and one size of tubes, along with a few books and plans. You do not have to be on file and can pay with cash. I have ordered from here with quick service, the price for fuse is far better than United Nuclear.

Discount Pyro-http://www.discountpyro.com/index.htm- Small selection, but very cheap. Requires ID. I have ordered here with no problems.

Pyro Plastics-http://www.pyroplastics.net/- Plastic aerial shell casings, class B shells listed and a mention of expanding to Class C sales.

Pyrohobby-http://www.pyrohobby.com/ - A new supplier, sells a few chemicals and doesnt require ID.

Pyrostuff-http://www.pyrostuff.com

 

http://www.hummelcroton.com-good source for ordering chemicals!

 

http://roguesci.org/megalomania/explosives.html-Really good source of information on explosives(which is where I got many of the procedures that are in this book), any kind of chemicals, and other cool scientific info.

 

-www.totse.com-Website with info on guns, explosives, drugs, and other stuff people have sent in(although much information is questionable).

 

-http://www.armory.com/~spcecdt/pyrotech/pyrotest.html-a cool pyro purity test.


http://www.bombshock.com/cgi-bin/ib/ikonboard.cgi-kick-ass forum, good info. (check it out!)

 

 

5.3-BOOKS:
_____


-THE IMPROVISED MUNITIONS MANUAL

-MILITARY EXPLOSIVES

-FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS

 

-Modern Chemical Magic

 

-Making Reliable Ignition Products at Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.0 Chemical preparation and sources:

 

6.1 Ammonium chloride:

Formula: NH4Cl

Description: Ammonium chloride is used in smoke compositions. When heated ammonium chloride decomposes to HCl and NH3, both gasses. These recombine in the air to give a smoke consisting of fine particles of ammonium chloride.

Hazards: Ammonium chloride based smoke is irritating to the eyes and lungs as it contains some remaining HCl and NH3. Ammonium chloride itself is not poisonous and is even used in some type of candy. According to Shimizu ammonium chloride forms an exception to the rule that ammonium compounds should not be mixed with chlorates. Due to the lower solubility of potassium chlorate (compared to ammonium chlorate) no ammonium chlorate . I personally would still use these mixtures with great caution (or avoid them) since it seems inevitable that small amounts of ammonium chlorate will still form. The lower solubility of potassium chlorate will make it the -main- product in a double decomposition reaction but not the -only- product.

Sources: Ammonium chloride solution is easily prepared by neutralising ammonia solution with hydrochloric acid. It is advised to use a slight excess of ammonia. That is to make sure no remaining acid will be present in the ammonium chloride obtained on evaporation and crystallisation. Otherwise traces of the acid solution may be enclosed in the crystals, possibly leading to spontaneous ignition of mixtures made with it.

 

6.2 Ammonium nitrate:

Formula: NH4 NO3

Description: Ammonium nitrate is an oxidiser. It is very hygroscopic and therefore not used very often in fireworks. It finds some use in composite propellants, but performance is not as good as perchlorate based propellants.

Hazards: Large masses of ammonium nitrate have been known to explode on some occasions although it is very unsensitive. Smaller quantities are less likely to detonate. The risk of detonation increases when ammonium nitrate is molten or mixed with fuels such as metal powders or organic substances. Ammonium nitrate should never be mixed with chlorates as this may result in ammonium chlorate formation, possibly leading to spontaneous ignition. Mixtures of metal powders and ammonium nitrate are likely to heat up spontaneously and may ignite, especially when moist. This can sometimes be prevented by the addition of small amounts of boric acid (1 to 2%), but in general it is better to avoid these mixtures at all. The hygroscopic nature of ammonium nitrates makes this problem worse.

Sources: Ammonium nitrate solution can be prepared by neutralising ammonia solution with nitric acid. It is advised to use a slight excess of ammonia. That is to make sure no remaining acid will be present in the ammonium nitrate obtained on evaporation and crystallisation. Otherwise traces of the acid solution may be enclosed in the crystals, possibly leading to spontaneous ignition of mixtures made with it. Large quantities of ammonium nitrate can also be cheaply bought as fertilizer. In the Netherlands a fertilizer called 'kalkammonsalpeter' is sold. This consists of ammonium nitrate mixed with 'mergel', a mineral consisting mainly of calcium carbonate. The ammonium nitrate can be extracted with water.

 

6.3 Ammonium perchlorate:

Formula: NH4ClO4

Description: Ammonium perchlorate is an oxidiser used in a large number of compositions. Very impressive color compositions can be made with it, but their burn rate is often too low for use in star compositions. For lancework and torches slow burning is an advantage and it is therefore commonly used in these items. Ammonium perchlorate is also used in composite rocket propellants, including the propellants used in the solid propellant boosters used for the space shuttle. The decomposition products of ammonium perchlorate are all gasses which is very beneficial for rocket propellants.

Hazards: Ammonium perchlorate can detonate by itself, although it is not very sensitive. Larger amounts and mixtures of ammonium perchlorate with metal powders or organic substances are more likely to detonate.

Sources: Ammonium perchlorate is usually bought from chemical suppliers or from dedicated pyro suppliers. Fine ammonium perchlorate powder is a regulated substance in most countries and cannot easily be bought or transported. Since it is such a usefull chemical in pyrotechnics it can be worth the time and effort to try to prepare it at home. This can be done by first making sodium perchlorate followed by double decomposition with ammonium chloride (other ammonium compounds can be used). The preparation of sodium perchlorate is most easily accomplished by electrolysis, the procedure for which is described elsewhere on this page.

 

6.4 Barium carbonate:

Formula: BaCO3

Description: Barium carbonate is used both in white and green color compositions. When chlorine donors are present in a composition a green color will result from the formation of BaCl+ in the flame. Without chlorine donors BaO will be formed which emits white light. Barium carbonate is convenient to use in chlorate based color compositions since it will neutralize residual acid which reduces the risk of spontaneous ignition.

Hazards: Most barium compounds are very poisonous, especially the more soluble barium compounds such as the chlorate and nitrate. A dust mask should be worn at all times when working with barium carbonate.

Sources: Barium carbonate is cheaply available in kilogram quantities from ceramic supply shops. However, this material is often contaminated with small amounts of barium sulfide which are left over from the production process. Therefore, ceramics grade barium carbonate should never be used in mixtures incompatible with sulfides such as chlorate based mixtures. Barium carbonate is not easily made at home.

 

6.5 Barium chlorate:

Formula: BaClO3

Description: Barium chlorate is used as an oxidiser in green color compositions. Fierce burning and high color purity compositions can be made with it.

Hazards: Barium chlorate is poisonous and a dust mask should be worn at all times when handling it. Barium chlorate should never be mixed with sulfur or sulfides or allowed to come in contact with mixtures containg sulfur or sulfides since this could result in spontaneous ignition. (Sulfur reacts with water and air to form small amounts of sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid and chlorates react producing ClO2, an explosive gas which will ignite many organic materials on contact). Mixtures made with barium chlorate are often especially sensitive to friction and shock (even more so than potassium chlorate based mixtures) and should be handled with extra care.

Sources: Barium chlorate is usually purchased from chemical suppliers or from dedicated pyro suppliers. It can be made at home from sodium chlorate and barium chloride by double decomposition. Barium chlorate can also be prepared from barium chloride by electrolysis in a process analogous to that used for preparing sodium chlorate.

 

6.6 Barium nitrate:

Formula: BaNO3

Description: Barium nitrate is used as an oxidiser in both white and green color compositions. When chlorine donors are present in a composition a green color will result from the formation of BaCl+ in the flame. Without chlorine donors BaO will be formed which emits bright white light. Barium nitrate is seldom used as the sole oxidiser in green color compositions. It is usually combined with perchlorates to improve the color and increase the burning rate.

Hazards: Barium nitrate is poisonous and a dust mask should be worn at all times when handling it. Mixtures of metal powders and barium nitrate sometimes heat up spontaneously and may ignite, especially when moist. This can usually be prevented by the addition of small amounts of boric acid (1 to 2%). It is advisable to avoid using water to bind such compositions. Red gum or shellac with alcohol or nitrocellulose lacquer are preffered binder and solvents.

Sources: Barium nitrate may be prepared from nitric acid or ammonium nitrate and barium carbonate, which is available from ceramic supply stores.

 

6.7 Barium sulfate:

Formula: BaSO4

Description: Barium sulfate is used as a high-temperature oxidiser in some metal based green color compositions.

Hazards: Unlike many other barium compounds, barium sulfate is not very poisonous due to its low solubility in water.

Sources: Barium sulfate may be precipitated from a solution of a soluble barium salt, such as barium nitrate or chloride, and a sulfate. Magnesium and potassium sulfate are both cheaply available as fertilizer and are convenient to use. The precipitated barium sulfate is a very fine powder which may be rinsed by repeated washings with hot water, settling and decanting. A final washing in the filter with acetone or ethanol will allow it to dry quickly. Do not use sulfuric acid to precipitate barium sulfate as this may result in the inclusion of acid droplets in the precipitated particles which can lead to spontaneous ignition of some mixtures.

 

6.8 Boric acid:

Formula: H3BO3

Description: Boric acid is a white powder which is used as an additive to compositions containing aluminum or magnesium and a nitrate. The metal powder can reduce the nitrate to an amide which will react with the metal powder in a very exothermic reaction that can lead to spontaneous ignition of the composition. This process is often accompanied by a smell of ammonia and is most likely to occur with wet compositions. Addition of a few percent boric acid can often prevent this reaction from taking place since it neutralizes the very basic amides forming ammonia and a borate. It is also advisable to avoid using a water soluble binder for these composition. Using red gum or shellac with alcohol or nitrocellulose lacquer is safer.

Hazards: Boric acid is not particularly toxic or dangerous.

Sources: Boric acid is cheaply and in kilogram quantities available from ceramic supply shops. It is also sold in many drug stores at a somewhat higher price, but since only small quantities are needed the price is not really important.

 

6.9 Calcium sulphate:

Formula: CaSO4.x H2O where x= 0, 2, 3 or 5

Description: The trihydrate is commonly known as plaster of paris. The dihydrate occurs as a mineral known as gypsum . Calcium sulphate can be used as a high temperature oxidiser in orange color compositions. Excellent strobe compositions can be made with it.

Hazards: Calcium sulphate is not particularly toxic or dangerous.

Sources: Plaster can be used as is in strobe compositions, but is better to remove the water which is easily accomplished by heating.

 

6.10 Dextrin:

Formula: mixture of polysacharides

Description: Dextrine is one of the most commonly used binders in pyrotechincs as it is very cheap and readily available. It is water soluble and can produce rock hard stars.

Hazards: Colophonium is not particularly toxic or dangerous.

Sources: Dextrine is easily prepared from starch. Potato and corn starch will both work fine. The starch is spread out on a sheet in a layer about 1 cm thick and placed in the oven. The oven is then heated to 220C for several hours. The dextrine will turn slightly yellowish brown. One way to check if all the starch has been converted is to dissolve a small sample in boiling hot water and add a drop of KI3 solution. A blue color indicates presence of starch, which means the conversion hasn't completed yet. KI3 solution is conveniently prepared by dissolving a crystal of elemental iodine in a potassium iodide solution.

 

6.11 Ethanol:

Formula: CH3CH2OH

Description: Ethanol is used as a solvent. Red gum and shellac, two common binders both dissolve in ethanol well. Ethanol/water mixtures are also often used since the ethanol increases the 'wetness' of the water (it reduces the surface tension of the water) and reduces the solubility of common oxidisers.

Hazards: Ethanol is flammable and volatile. Ethanol vapour is heavier than air and spreads over the ground. Provide adequate ventilation when working with ethanol.

Sources: Chemically pure ethanol can be quite expensive due to increased tax, unless it is used for laboratory purposes. Denaturated alcohol (usually a mixture of ethanol and methanol) has been made undrinkable and therefore a lot cheaper. It can be used for pyro purposes. Some types of denaturated alcohol exist with other chemicals mixed in besides methanol to make it undrinkable and recognisable as such (colorants etc). I have no idea what these extra additives are and wheter they can cause problems in compositions. I have been using 'spiritus' (a well known type of denaturated alcohol in the Netherlands) for several years without problems.

 

6.12 Iron:

Formula: Fe

Description: Iron powder is used for spark effects, mainly in fountains and sparklers. It produces golden yellow branching sparks. Not every iron alloy will work equally well. Iron alloys with a high carbon content generally work best. Stainless steel will produce hardly any sparks.

Hazards: Iron needs to be protected before use in pyrotechnic compositions. Otherwise it will corrode and render the composition useless or even dangerous. Iron containing compositions are generally best kept dry and not bound with water soluble binders. Iron can be coated with linseed or tung oil. The latter was used in ancient China (and may still be used today). Linseed is very convenient to use and easy to obtain. Blackpowder-like compositions (ie Charcoal/sulfur/saltpeter based) with added metal, such as they are often used in fountains, are more sensitive than the composition without added metal. Extra caution, especially when pressing or ramming, should be excersised.

Sources: Iron turnings can often be had for free from places were iron is used for construction. Drilling, sawing etc produces a powder with wide range of particles. This powder is treated with mineral oil to remove oil and grease, sieved, and then coated with linseed oil.

 

6.13 Iron oxide (red):

Formula: Fe2O3

Description: Red iron oxide is used as a catalyst in composite and whistling rocket propellant formulations. It is also added to some glitter formulations and used for 'thermite', a mixture that produces enormous amounts of heat, forming molten iron.

Hazards: Red iron oxide is not particularly toxic or dangerous.

Sources: Common rust is not iron oxide. It is a mixture of oxides and hydroxides. A cheap source for red iron oxide is the ceramics supply shop.

 

6.14 Lead tetraoxide:

Formula: Pb3O4

Description: Lead tetraoxide, sometimes called 'lead minium', is used to make crackling microstars. The composition is very sensitive, explosive and poisonous. It is in fact one of the most dangerous mixtures used commonly in modern pyrotechnics. An alternative mixture based on bismuth trioxide exists (which is less poisonous), but the high price of bismuth trioxide restricts its use.

Hazards: Lead tetraoxide, like most lead compounds, is extremely poisonous. Lead is an accumulative neurotoxin and extreme care should be taken to prevent direct contact. Lead tetraoxide may be absorbed by inhalation and ingestion. Wear a respirator, gloves, and protective clothing.

Sources: Lead tetraoxide may be prepared from a solution of lead nitrate and sodium hydroxide. Note that the procedure involves extremely corrosive and poisonous chemicals and should only be attempted by those who have access to (and know how to use) the right equipment and can handle the waste properly. Prepare a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide by dissolving 300 grams of sodium hydroxide in water. The solution will heat up during this. To prevent it from boiling suddenly add only small portions at a time. When all has dissolved, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Dissolve 50 grams of lead nitrate in 200 ml of water, and slowly add the sodium hydroxide solution to this solution while stirring continuesly. A white precipitate will form first, which will turn orange when all sodium hydroxide solution has been added. Stir this solution well for another hour, and then allow the lead tetraoxide to settle. Carefully decant the supernatant, add boiling hot water to the residue, stir, allow to settle and decant again. Repeat this 5 more times. Then filter and rinse the lead tetraoxide in the filter several times with hot water.

 

6.15 Manganese dioxide:

Formula: MnO2

Description: Manganese dioxide can be used as a catalyst in composite and whistling rocket propellant formulations. A thermite-like mixture can also be made with it. The manganese dioxide thermite burns more slowly than the iron oxide based mixture with a bright white glow.

Hazards: Mangese dioxide is poisonous and leaves brown stains on glassware etc. The stains can be removed with dilute hydrochloric acid (of course, only when the stained object is not attacked by it).

Sources: Mangese dioxide can be obtained from old batteries or from the ceramics supply store. The mangese dioxide in batteries is mixed with several other compounds from which it must be separated. An easy, though messy way to do this is as follows: Find a couple of depleted carbon-zinc batteries. Only carbon-zinc type batteries will do. Do not use other types such as rechargable or lithium based batteries. These, especially the rechargable ones, contain extremely dangerous and/or poisonous compounds such as cadmium, mercury and metallic lithium. Carbon-zinc batteries may contain small amounts of mercury as well, especially the older types, so precautions should be taken to prevent skin and eye contact and to prevent breathing or swallowing of dust. So: wear your dust mask, glasses, gloves and old clothing. Then carefully take the battery apart. You'll find a greyish white (zinc oxide) or metallic coating (zinc metal) inside, depending on wheter the battery is empty or not. This surrounds a black, sometimes wet, mass. This black stuff contains among other things the mangese dioxide. Peel the coating off and save the black mass. There is also a black rod inside attached to the anode. This is a graphite rod and can be safed for chlorate (and maybe perchlorate) preparations. We'll assume you use 2 batteries from here on. (if not, adjust amounts accordingly). Place the black mass in 200 ml of 30% hydrochloric acid. The manganese dioxide will slowly dissolve, giving off chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is dangerous: it attacks the lungs and is poisonous. Do this outside or better yet: in a fume hood if you have one. Allow the manganese dioxide several days to dissolve. The solution is then filtered which should yield a clear solution of manganese(III)chloride. In a separate container dissolve 200 grams of sodium hydroxide in a liter of bleach. Add the manganese(III)chloride solution slowly to the bleach/sodium hydroxide solution. This results in a brown precipitate of manganese dioxide which is filtered, rinsed several times with boiling hot water and dried.

 

6.16 Magnalium:

Formula: Alloy of magnesium and aluminum, usually 50:50. Sometimes written: MgAl

Description: Magnalium is a very brittle alloy of magnesium and aluminum. Some common uses are in for spark effects, in strobing compositions and in crackling stars. It is commonly alloyed in

Hazards: Magnalium dust is harmfull and a dust mask should be worn when handling fine dust. Mixtures containing nitrates and mangalium sometimes heat up and may ignite spontaneously, especially when moist. This can usually be prevented by treating the magnalium with potassium dichromate. This is done by boiling the magnalium in a 5% potassium dichromate solution. Adding fine potassium dichromate powder to such compositions may also help.

Sources: Magnalium can be made at home. Plan well and prepare yourself for working with molten metals that may ignite if you plan to make it at home. If the metal ignites expect it to burn very brightly and hot. Explosions are not common but may occur if the hot melt is allowed to contact water or oxidisers. Do it outside and away from anything flammable. If it ignites don't try to extuingish it but get away from the burning mass and let it burn out and cool before approaching it. Don't look directly into the burning metal as it may damage your eyes. Start by melting aluminum in a stainless steel container. The molten metal should be covered with a blanked of inert gas. In this case neither nitrogen nor carbon dioxide will function as an inert gas. It is best to get a cylinder of argon gas at a welding supply store. Using an electric furnace for the melting is very convenient and allows good control over the temperature. To the molten aluminum magnesium is added in solid form. The melt should be stirred from time to time. When all the magnesium has melted, the melt is allowed to solidify. It is then easily crushed up in smaller chunks with an heavy hammer. These chunks are crushed further and sieved. It can also be ball milled into a fine powder using steel media but this can be dangerous since the metal powder can become pyrophoric.

 

6.17 Magnesium:

Formula: Mg

Description: Magnesium powder is used in a wide variety of compositions, both for spark effects and 'normal' fuel purposes. Relatively coarse magnalium is used for spark effects. In flares and some bright colored star compositions it functions as a normal fuel. It is superior to aluminum in color compositions since MgCl2 and MgO are more easily vaporised than the corresponding aluminum compounds. This reduces the amount of black-body radiation and improves the color purity.

Hazards: Magnesium dust is harmfull and a dust mask should be worn when handling fine dust. Mixtures containing nitrates and magnesium sometimes heat up and may ignite spontaneously, especially when moist. This can usually be prevented by treating the magnesium with potassium dichromate. This is done by boiling the magnalium in a 5% potassium dichromate solution. The magnesium will turn brown when this is done. Adding fine potassium dichromate powder to such compositions may also help.

Sources: Making magnesium at home is very difficult. Magnesium can be bought in boating supply stores. It is used to prevent corrosion of a ships hull. For that purpose it is welded to the hull. The lower position of magnesium in the electrochemical series will make the magnesium corrode before the steel will. Making such a block of magnesium into a fine powder will not be easy. Filing or cutting and ball milling may be tried. Ball milling of metals can be dangerous however since the metal can become pyrophoric.

 

6.18 Methanol:

Formula: CH3OH

Description: Methanol is used as a solvent, much in the same way ethanol is used. Red gum and shellac, two common binders both dissolve in methanol. Methanol/water mixtures are also often used since the methanol increases the 'wetness' of the water (it reduces the surface tension of the water) and reduces the solubility of common oxidisers.

Hazards: Methanol is flammable, volatile and toxic. Methanol vapour is heavier than air and spreads over the ground. Provide adequate ventilation when working with methanol

Sources: Methanol is often more cheaply and easily availble than ethanol because it is toxic and no extra taxes are charged for it. It finds use in a certain type of camping stove and can often be bought in camping supply stores.

 

6.19 Parlon:

Formula: (C4H6Cl2)n

Description: Parlon is a acetone-soluble polymere that is used as a chlorine donor and binder. It is a good example of one of the new chemicals that has become available in the past few decades for use in compositions.

Hazards: Parlon is not particularly dangerous.

Sources: Parlon seems to be available from dedicated pyro suppliers only.

 

6.20 Potassium benzoate:

Formula: KC7H5O2

Description: Potassium benzoate is commonly used in whistle compositions. It is a white powder

Hazards: Potassium benzoate is not particularly dangerous.

Sources: Potassium benzoate can be prepared from benzoic acid and potassium carbonate or hydroxide. Benzoic acid is not very soluble, but both potassium carbonate and hydroxide are. Dissolve 140.2g potassium carbonate or 56.1g potassium carbonate in 250 ml water, and add 146g benzoic acid. Bring the mixture to a boil. If potassium carbonate is used, CO2 gas will evolve. Continue boiling untill all benzoic acid has dissolved, occasionally adding some water to make up for what has evaporated. When all benzoic acid has dissolved, continue boiling untill the first crystals of potassium benzoate are observed (ie the saturation point has been reached). Then allow the solution to cool to room temperature. Potassium benzoate will crystalise in needle shaped crystals. Filter, and rinse the crystals twice with ice-cold water. The crystals may be dried in an oven at 100 deg C.

 

6.21 Potassium chlorate:

Formula: KClO3

Description: Potassium chlorate is a very common oxidiser in pyrotechnics, even though it has some treacherous properties and other oxidisers would sometimes be safer to use. Part of the reason of its popularity in commercial pyrotechnics is that it is cheap and easily available. The large scale production of this compound made the first quality colored fireworks possible, about a century ago.

Hazards: Potassium chlorate is toxic, and breathing protection should be worn when handling fine powder. Compositions made with potassium chlorate tend to be more sensitive than those based on nitrates and perchlorates and should therefore be handled accordingly. Potassium chlorate, or any chlorate for that matter, should never be used in combination with sulfur and sulfides. Mixtures containing both are very sensitive and may spontaneously ignite. In general, when using chlorates great care should be taken to avoid contamination of other compositions or tools. Also read the safety section for more information on this problem.

Sources: Potassium chlorate can be prepared at home. For this purpose, sodium chlorate is prepared first by electrolysis. It may also be obtained as a herbicide in some countries (France, for example) Then, by double decomposition with potassium chloride, potassium chlorate is prepared from this solution. The product is recrystallised, dried and powdered.

 

This chemicals is used in many explosives. Potassium chlorate can also be made into plastique explosives(*See Chapter 8-High Order Explosives). Common household bleach contains a small amount of potassium chlorate, which can be extracted in the procedure that follows.

 

 

Materials:

 

-A heat source (hot plate, stove, etc.)

-A hydrometer, or battery hydrometer

-A large Pyrex, or enameled steel container (to weigh chemicals)

-Potassium chloride(sold as a salt substitute at health and nutrition stores)

 

Procedure:

 

Take one gallon of bleach, place it in the container, and begin heating it. While this solution heats, weigh out 63 grams of potassium chloride and add this to the bleach being heated. Constantly check the solution being heated with the hydrometer, and boil until you get a reading of 1.3. If using a battery hydrometer, boil until you read a FULL charge.

 

Take the solution and allow it to cool in a refrigerator until it is between room temperature and 0C. Filter out the crystals that have formed and save them. Boil this solution again and cool as before. Filter and save the crystals.

 

Take the crystals that have been saved, and mix them with distilled water in the following proportions: 56 grams per 100 milliliters distilled water. Heat this solution until it boils and allow to cool. Filter the solution and save the crystals that form upon cooling. This process of purification is called "fractional crystallization". These crystals should be relatively pure potassium chlorate.

 

*Powder these to the consistency of face powder, and heat gently to drive off all moisture.

 

 

6.22 Potassium dichromate:

Formula: K2Cr2O7

Description: Potassium dichromate is a bright orange crystalline subststance that is used to treat magnesium powder. The treatment makes magnesium more resistant to spontaneous reactions that could result in lower reliability of the mixture or spontaneous ignition.

Hazards: Potassium dichromate is toxic and a carcinogen. It should be handled with extreme care and proper protective clothing.

Sources: Potassium dichromate seems to be available from chemical suppliers and dedicated pyro suppliers only.

 

6.23 Potassium perchlorate:

Formula: KClO4

Description: Potassium perchlorate is a very common oxidiser in pyrotechnics. Composition based on perchlorates tend to be less sensitive than those based on chlorates, and perchlorates can be used with sulfur and sulfides. For these reasons potassium perchlorate is much preferred above chlorates. Drawback is its slightly higher price.

Hazards: Potassium perchlorate is toxic, and breathing protection should be worn when handling fine powder.

Sources:Potassium perchlorate can be prepared at home. For this purpose, sodium perchlorate is prepared first by electrolysis. Then, by double decomposition with potassium chloride, potassium perchlorate is prepared from this solution. The product is recrystallised, dried and powdered.

 

 

6.24 Potassium Picrate:

 

Description: Potassium picrate was first prepared back in the mid 17th century by J.R. Glauber. The first use for potassium picrate came in 1869, it found its way into explosives, propellents, primers, and pyrotechnics. This explosive is stable and resists shock, friction, etc. It will deflagrate if subjected to flame, and in mixtures with oxidizing agents, it will only burn if ignited, but it has lower sensitivity. This is not a very powerful explosive, it is more suited to pyrotechnics and bullet primers.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

nitric acid beaker

picric acid

potassium carbonate

 

 

Potassium picrate can be prepared by Glaubers original method of dissolving wood in nitric acid then neutralizing the resulting mixture with potassium carbonate. For the modern method, neutralize a hot aqueous solution of potassium carbonate with a hot picric acid solution in a beaker of suitable size, test the solution with litmus paper until neutral. Filter the crystals that separate when the solution cools to collect them and allow to dry.

 

6.25 Polyvinyl chloride:

Formula: [C2H3Cl]n

Description: Like parlon and saran, PVC is a polymeric chlorine donor and fuel. It can be used in the form of a fine powder or as a solution in tetrahydrofuran (THF). It is sometimes used as a binder, but it is very brittle. Small amounts of plasticiser (dioctyl phtalate is common) may be added to improve the mechanical properties.

Hazards: PVC itself is not particularly dangerous or toxic. Dioctyl phtalate is a suspected carcinogen however and THF is a very flamable and volatile liquid.

Sources: As an alternative to the PVC powder available from chemical suppliers and dedicated pyro suppliers, PVC glue may also be used. It is usually sold in hardware stores and comes in two varieties: gelling or gap-filling and normal. Both are essentially a concentrated solution of PVC. I have no experience with the gelling variety, but the normal variety can succesfully be used in compositions. The gelling variety may be better suited for pyro purposes since it seems it contains more PVC. Another possibility is to use 'Sculpy' or 'Fimo' clay. These modelling clays consist of PVC with a large amount of plasticiser. The plasticiser may affect the color of a composition negatively, but reasonable results can still be obtained with it. It can simply be kneaded into a composition with some effort. This type of clay is usually hardened by heating it in an oven, but do not be tempted to do this with pyrotechnic mixtures as they may ignite.

 
 
6.26 PICRIC ACID:

     Picric acid, also known as Tri-Nitro-Phenol, or T.N.P., is a military explosive that is most often used as a booster charge to set off another less sensitive explosive, such as T.N.T.  It another explosive that is fairly simple to make, assuming that one can acquire the concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids.  Its procedure for manufacture is given in many college chemistry lab manuals, and is easy to follow.  The main problem with picric acid is its tendency to form dangerously sensitive and unstable picrate salts, such as potassium picrate.  For this reason, it is usually made into a safer form, such
as ammonium picrate, also called explosive D.  A social deviant would probably use a formula similar to the one presented here to make picric acid.


     MATERIALS                         EQUIPMENT
     _________                         _________

     phenol (9.5 g)                    500 ml flask

     concentrated                      adjustable heat source
     sulfuric acid (12.5 ml)
                                       1000 ml beaker
     concentrated nitric               or other container
     acid (38 ml)                      suitable for boiling in

     distilled water                   filter paper
                                       and funnel

                                       glass stirring rod

1) Place 9.5 grams of phenol into the 500 ml flask, and carefully add 12.5
   ml of concentrated sulfuric acid and stir the mixture.

2) Put 400 ml of tap water into the 1000 ml beaker or boiling container and
   bring the water to a gentle boil.

3) After warming the 500 ml flask under hot tap water, place it in the boiling
   water, and continue to stir the mixture of phenol and acid for about thirty
   minutes.  After thirty minutes, take the flask out, and allow it to cool for
   about five minutes.

4) Pour out the boiling water used above, and after allowing the container to
   cool, use it to create an ice bath, similar to the one used in section 3.13,
   steps 3-4.  Place the 500 ml flask with the mixed acid an phenol in the ice
   bath.  Add 38 ml of concentrated nitric acid in small amounts, stirring the
   mixture constantly.  A vigorous but "harmless" reaction should occur.  When
   the mixture stops reacting vigorously, take the flask out of the ice bath.

5) Warm the ice bath container, if it is glass, and then begin boiling more tap
   water.  Place the flask containing the mixture in the boiling water, and heat
   it in the boiling water for 1.5 to 2 hours.

6) Add 100 ml of cold distilled water to the solution, and chill it in an ice
   bath until it is cold.

7) Filter out the yellowish-white picric acid crystals by pouring the solution
   through the filter paper in the funnel.  Collect the liquid and dispose of it
   in a safe place, since it is corrosive.

8) Wash out the 500 ml flask with distilled water, and put the contents of the
   filter paper in the flask.  Add 300 ml of water, and shake vigorously.

9) Re-filter the crystals, and allow them to dry.

10) Store the crystals in a safe place in a glass container, since they will
    react with metal containers to produce picrates that could explode
    spontaneously.
 

 

6.27 Red gum:

Formula: Mixture of compounds.

Description: Red gum, or accaroid resin, is one of the most commonly used binders. It is made from the excretions of a certain tree native to Australia. Red gum is soluble in ethanol and acetone.

Hazards: Red gum is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: Red gum may be bought in artistic painting supply stores.

 

6.28 Sodium benzoate:

Formula: NaC7O2H5

Description: Sodium benzoate is a white solid that is used as a fuel. It's most common use is in 'whistle mix', a mixture of potassium perchlorate and either sodium or potassium benzoate.

Hazards: Sodium benzoate is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: Sodium benzoate can be made from sodium carbonate (soda) or sodium hydroxide and benzoic acid which is often more easily available than it's salts. Benzoic acid is only sparingly soluble in water. Dissolve either 425 g hydrated sodium carbonate (common household soda) or 30 g sodium hydroxide in water. Add 100 g of benzoic acid and boil the solution. The benzoic acid will slowly dissolve. During boiling, occasionally add water to make up for what has evaporated. If sodium carbonate was used, carbon dioxide gas will evolve. After all the benzoic acid has dissolved, continue boiling allowing the water to evaporate untill crystallisation begins. Then stop heating and allow the solution to cool slowly to room temperature. Needle-shaped crystals of sodium benzoate will form upon cooling. Cool the solution further to 0 deg C, filtrate and rinse the crystals with ice-cold water. Purify the product by recrystallisation from water.

 

6.29 Sodium chlorate:

Formula: NaClO3

Description: Sodium chlorate is hardly ever used in pyrotechnics, since it is very hygroscopic. It finds occasional use in composite rocket propellants. It is however very usefull as a starting point in the preparation of several other (less hygroscopic) chlorates for which reason it is included here.

Hazards: Sodium chlorate is toxic, and breathing protection should be worn when handling fine powder. Compositions made with sodium chlorate tend to be more sensitive than those based on nitrates and perchlorates and should therefore be handled accordingly. Sodium chlorate, or any chlorate for that matter, should never be used in combination with sulfur and sulfides. Mixtures containing both are very sensitive and may spontaneously ignite. In general, when using chlorates great care should be taken to avoid contamination of other compositions or tools. Also read the safety section for more information on this problem. Acidic solutions containing chlorates generate a very poisonous and explosive gas, ClO2.

Sources:Sodium chlorate can be prepared at home. It involves electrolysing a sodium chloride solution under certain circumstances. A description of the process, cell and anode design, etc. for home produciton may be found in the chlorate and perchlorate section of this page. In some countries, France for example, sodium chlorate may be obtained as a herbicide.

 

6.30 Sodium nitrate:

Formula: NaNO3

Description: Sodium nitrate finds occasional use as an oxidiser in flare and tracer compositions because of the high efficiency of light emmision that can be obtained with it, but its high hygroscopic nature limits its use. Sodium nitrate can be used to prepare potassium nitrate, a much less hygroscopic and more often used oxidiser.

Hazards: Sodium nitrate is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: 95% pure sodium nitrate is available as a fertilizer. In the Netherlands this fertilizer is sold under the name 'chilisalpeter'. If required, it can be easily purified by recrystallisation.

 

6.31 Sodium perchlorate:

Formula: NaClO4

Description: Sodium perchlorate is hardly ever used in pyrotechnics, since it is very hygroscopic. It finds occasional use in composite rocket propellants. It is however very usefull as a starting point in the preparation of several other (less hygroscopic) perchlorates for which reason it is included here.

Hazards: Sodium perchlorate is toxic, and breathing protection should be worn when handling fine powder.

Sources:Sodium perchlorate can be prepared at home. It involves electrolysing a sodium chlorate solution under certain circumstances. A description of the process, cell and anode design, etc. for home produciton may be found in the chlorate and perchlorate section of this page.

 

6.32 Strontium carbonate:

Formula: SrCO3

Description: Strontium carbonate is used in combination with chlorine donors to produce red colors. It also acts as an acid neutraliser, for which reason it is prefered in chlorate based compositions (which may spontaneously ignite when traces of acid are present).

Hazards: Strontium carbonate is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: Strontium carbonate is cheaply available in kilogram quantities from ceramic supply shops. However, this material is often contaminated with small amounts of strontium sulfide which are left over from the production process. Therefore, ceramics grade strontium carbonate should never be used in mixtures incompatible with sulfides such as chlorate based mixtures. Strontium carbonate is not easily made at home.

 

6.33 Strontium nitrate:

Formula: Sr(NO3)2

Description: Strontium nitrate is an oxidiser commonly employed in red color compositions in combination with chlorine donors.

Hazards: Strontium nitrate is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: Strontium nitrate may be prepared from nitric acid or ammonium nitrate and strontium carbonate, which is available from ceramic supply stores. Use an excess of strontium carbonate to ensure complete neutralisation of acid and recrystallise the product from a slightly alkaline solution to prevent the inclusion of acid solvent droplets in the crystals.

 

6.34 Strontium sulfate:

Formula: SrSO4

Description: Strontium sulfate is used as a high-temperature oxidiser in some metal based red color compositions.

Hazards: Strontium sulfate is not particularly dangerous or toxic.

Sources: Strontium sulfate may be precipitated from a solution of a soluble strontium salt, such as strontium nitrate or chloride, and a sulfate. Magnesium and potassium sulfate are both cheaply available as fertilizer and are convenient to use. The precipitated strontium sulfate is a very fine powder which may be rinsed by repeated washings with hot water, settling and decanting. A final washing in the filter with acetone or ethanol will allow it to dry quickly. Do not use sulfuric acid to precipitate strontium sulfate as this may result in the inclusion of acid droplets in the precipitated particles which can lead to spontaneous ignition of some mixtures.

 

6.35 Sulfuric acid:

Formula: H2SO4

Description: Sulfuric acid itself finds no use in pyrotechnics, but it can be used in the preparation of an number of usefull compounds for which reason it is included here.

Hazards: Sulfuric acid and its fumes are extremely corrosive. Wear proper protective clothing (gloves, apron and a face shield are minimal) and provide adequate ventilation when working with it. Reactions with metals often produce flammable hydrogen gas (hydrogen). The presence of acid can cause spontaneous reactions in many pyrotechnic mixtures and should at all times be avoided. When working with sulfuric acid, have no chemicals or compositions nearby to prevent contamination. Make sure all traces of acid in chemicals produced with sulfuric acid are removed if they are to be used in pyrotechnics compositions.

Sources: Sulfur is available from agricultural supply stores where it is sold as a fungicide under the name 'dusting sulfur'. It is a fine powder mixed with a few percent of calcium carbonate. The calcium carbonate may disturb delicate color compositions, but for most purposes dusting sulfur works well. If a purer form of sulfur is required, sulfur may also be obtained from drug stores sometimes. However, these often sell 'flowers of sulfur', which has been purified by sublimation and which contains some acid. This needs to be neutralised before use as it could cause spontaneous ignition. To do this, allow 100g of this sulfur to soak in a liter of water/household ammonia (1:5). Stir well occasionally and measure the pH. It should still be alkaline after two days, after which time the sulfur may be filtered and washed with hot water to remove the ammonia. Check the pH of the washing water while filtering. After it has become neutral, flush the water away with ethanol and allow the sulfur to dry. Mix the dry powder with 2% magnesium carbonate to neutralise any acid that may be formed in reactions with the atmosphere.

 

6.36 Zinc:

Formula: Zn

Description: Metallic zinc is used in rocket propellants, for spark effects and in white smoke compositions. Zinc powder is quite heavy and zinc-based stars often require heavier lift or burst charges to propell them.

Hazards: Zinc powder can spontanesouly heat up when wet.

Sources: Zinc powder is used in paints for the protection of steel. Spray cans containing an suspension of zinc powder are commonly sold in hardware stores. The zinc powder may be extracted by emptying the spray can in a large container, allowing the powder to settle, decanting the solvent and paints and repeated washing with paint thinner or acetone.

 

6.37 Zinc oxide:

Formula: ZnO

Description: Zinc oxide is used to produce white smoke.

Hazards: Zinc oxide is not particularly toxic or dangerous.

Sources: Zinc oxide is usually available as a white pigment called 'zinc white' in artistic paint stores. It can also be prepared by igniting a piece of zinc sheet.

 

 

6.38 Acetylene:

Description: Acetylene is used in cutting torches and is extremely flammable.

Hazards: An acetylene explosion can be very harmful and dangerous. Improper use can result in death.

Sources: Can be found in sheet metal shops or any where a cutting torch is used, as acetylene is the fuel used in cutting torches.

This gas can be produced by taking calcium carbide and submerging it in water, in a flask. The acetylene gas is then collected by putting balloon over the mouth of the flask.

 

6.39 Calcium Carbide:

 

Description:

 

Sources: Can be purchased online as Bangsite, a chemical used in novelty cannons; or from other chemical suppliers.

 

 
 
 
6.40 Perchlorates:

 

 

A perchlorate is a chemical functional group, explosive more often then not, with the formula -ClO4. Since so many pyrotechnic compounds seem to use a perchlorate somewhere in the mix, it seemed logical to have them here. It is easy to confuse perchlorates with chlorates, chlorites, and hypochlorites, their formulas are ClO4, ClO3, ClO2, and ClO respectively. Perchlorate salts are simply the product of a base with perchloric acid, although organic perchlorates exist as well.

One thing perchlorates share in common is that they are strong oxidizers, they should be kept away from any reducible materials and excessive heat. Metal perchlorates tend to be more stable than organic perchlorates. One of the first perchlorate salts to be identified was potassium perchlorate, other salts of interest include aluminum perchlorate, ammonium perchlorate, barium perchlorate, cadmium perchlorate, calcium perchlorate, cobalt perchlorate, copper perchlorate, hydrazine diperchlorate, iron perchlorate, lead perchlorate, lithium perchlorate, magnesium perchlorate, manganese perchlorate, mercury perchlorate, nickel perchlorate, nitrosyl perchlorate, nitryl perchlorate, silver perchlorate, sodium perchlorate, strontium perchlorate, titanium tetraperchlorate, uranyl perchlorate, and zinc perchlorate. Some of these are mere curiosities, their chemical precursors will not be in the synthesis section. The usual data on safety and use of these compounds has been omitted as well in the interest of keeping this lab brief.

 

 

 

6.40-1 aluminum perchlorate:

 

Al(ClO4)3 melting point

decomposes at 300 C molecular mass

325.37 g/mol density

2.209 g/mL

Set up a round-bottomed 500-mL Florence flask for refluxing and liquid addition. The top of the reflux condenser needs to be capped with a drying tube to protect the reaction from moisture. Heat to reflux some silver perchlorate in anhydrous methyl alcohol, then slowly add a solution of aluminum chloride in methyl alcohol drop by drop from the addition funnel. A precipitate of silver chloride will appear, filter the product to remove the silver chloride and heat the remaining solution at 150 C to remove the methyl alcohol and crystallize the aluminum perchlorate.

 

 

6.40-2 ammonium perchlorate:

 

chemical formula

NH3ClO4 melting point

decomposes at 269 C molecular mass

117.49 g/mol density

1.9518 g/mL

Ammonium perchlorate can be prepared in the lab by carefully neutralizing perchloric acid with either gaseous ammonia or aqueous ammonium hydroxide. Filter the solution to collect the crystals of ammonium perchlorate, recrystallize them from water, and dry at 110 C until a constant weight is obtained.

 

 

 

6.40-3 barium perchlorate:

 

Ba(ClO4)2 melting point

505 C molecular mass

336.27 g/mol density

3.681 g/mL

Anhydrous barium perchlorate is prepared by heating a mixture of solid barium chloride and nitrosyl perchlorate, or by heating a mixture of barium carbonate and ammonium perchlorate.

 

 

 

6.40-4 cadmium perchlorate:

 

Cd(ClO4)2 melting point

290 C molecular mass

311.30 g/mol

Anhydrous cadmium perchlorate can be prepared by mixing together cadmium nitrate with anhydrous perchloric acid and 100% nitric acid.

 

 

 

6.40-5 calcium perchlorate:

 

Ca(ClO4)2 melting point

220 C molecular mass

238.98 g/mol

Anhydrous calcium perchlorate can be prepared by heating a mixture of 100 g of calcium carbonate with 235 g of ammonium perchlorate. Ammonium carbonate will be evolved as a gas, leaving behind pure calcium perchlorate.

 

 

 

 

6.40-6 cobalt perchlorate:

 

Co(ClO4)2 molecular mass

257.83 g/mol density

3.327 g/mL

The hexahydrate of cobalt perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving calcium carbonate, or calcium oxide, in aqueous perchloric acid. Evaporation of the solution yields crystals of cobalt perchlorate.

 

 

 

 

6.40-7 copper perchlorate:

 

Cu(ClO4)2 melting point

82.3 C molecular mass

262.43 g/mol density

2.225 g/mL

Anhydrous copper perchlorate is prepared by heating in vacuum at 200 C a mixture of nitrosyl perchlorate and your choice of either copper monoxide, copper dichloride, or copper nitrate. It can also be prepared by reacting copper powder with nitrosyl perchlorate in an organic solvent.

 

 

 

 

6.40-8 hydrazine diperchlorate:

 

N2H4.2HClO4 melting point

191 C molecular mass

232.97 g/mol density

2.21 g/mL

Hydrazine diperchlorate, or HDP, can be prepared by reacting equimolar amounts of aqueous barium perchlorate with hydrazine sulfate. Filter to remove the precipitate of barium sulfate, and evaporate the filtrate on a water bath to yield crystals of HDP.

 

 

 

 

6.40-9 iron perchlorate:

 

Fe(ClO4)2 melting point

explodes molecular mass

254.75 g/mol

Iron perchlorate is prepared by reacting 70% perchloric acid with iron sulfide, or iron sulfate, followed by evaporation of the solution. Heat the solution very gently to evaporate, strong heating can cause an explosion.

 

 

 

 

6.40-10 lead perchlorate:

 

Pb(ClO4)2 melting point

83 C molecular mass

406.09 g/mol density

2.6 g/mL

The trihydrate of lead perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving lead carbonate in aqueous perchloric acid and evaporation the solution until crystals appear.

 

 

 

 

6.40-11 lithium perchlorate:

 

Li(ClO4)2 molecular mass

205.84 g/mol

The trihydrate of lithium perchlorate can be prepared by reacting lithium sulfate with barium perchlorate in solution, then evaporating the solution to yield the crystals. It can also be prepared by reacting lithium carbonate with aqueous perchloric acid.

 

 

 

 

6.40-12 magnesium perchlorate:

 

Mg(ClO4)2 melting point

224-520 C molecular mass

223.21 g/mol density

2.21 g/mL

The hexahydrate of magnesium perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving pure magnesium oxide in dilute perchloric acid. Evaporate the solution until fumes appear, then cool. Filter to collect the crystals of magnesium perchlorate that should have formed, and recrystallize them from water.

 

 

 

 

 

6.40-13 manganese perchlorate:

 

Mn(ClO4)2 melting point

explodes molecular mass

253.84 g/mol

The hexahydrate of manganese perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving manganese hydroxide, or manganese carbonate, in dilute perchloric acid. Evaporate the solution until crystals appear.

 

 

 

 

6.40-14 mercury perchlorate:

 

Hg(ClO4)2 molecular mass

399.49 g/mol

Anhydrous mercury perchlorate can be prepared by adding a solution of perchloric acid in trifluoroacetic acid to and mercury salt in trifluoroacetic acid. Carefully evaporate the solution until crystals form.

 

 

 

 

6.40-16 nickel perchlorate:

 

Ni(ClO4)2 melting point

explodes molecular mass

257.61 g/mol density

3.4 g/mL

The hexaammoniate of nickel perchlorate can be prepared by adding a solution of 14 g of sodium perchlorate in 50 mL of water to a solution of 23.8 g of nickel dichloride and 5.4 g of ammonium chloride in 120 mL of water. Slowly add with stirring 60 mL of concentrated ammonium hydroxide. Cool this mixture for 4 hours with a salt-ice bath, then filter to collect the crystals of the perchlorate.

 

 

 

6.40-17 nitryl perchlorate:

 

NO2ClO4 melting point

135 C molecular mass

161.45 g/mol

Nitryl perchlorate can be prepared by distilling anhydrous perchloric acid, allowing the distillate to drip onto a large excess of dry dinitrogen pentoxide chilled to -80 C (yes that's negative) and some nitromethane. The mixture is allowed to warm to room temperature, then kept under vacuum for 48 hours to remove any volatile contaminants.

 

 

 

6.40-18 potassium perchlorate:

 

KClO4 melting point

588 C molecular mass

138.55 g/mol density

2.53574 g/mL

Potassium perchlorate is prepared by slowly adding 50 mL of concentrated sulfuric acid to 2-5 g of potassium chlorate. The addition is slow to avoid explosion. Alternately, nitric acid, phosphoric acid, or chromium trioxide can be used instead of sulfuric acid. It can also be prepared by mixing potassium chloride and nitrosyl perchlorate in solid form and heating. A residue of potassium perchlorate will be left behind.

 

 

 

6.40-19 silver perchlorate:

 

AgClO4 melting point

486 C molecular mass

207.32 g/mol density

2.806 g/mL

Anhydrous silver perchlorate can be prepared by adding anhydrous perchloric acid to a solution of a silver salt dissolved in trifluoroacetic acid. It can also be prepared by dissolving silver oxide in aqueous perchloric acid and evaporating the solution until crystals appear.

 

 

 

 

6.40-20 sodium perchlorate:

 

NaClO4 melting point

473 C molecular mass

122.44 g/mol density

2.5298 g/mL

The monohydrate of sodium perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving sodium carbonate in a slight excess of dilute perchloric acid. Evaporate some of the solution, then cool to 50 C. The solid can be centrifuged, collected, and dried at 250 C. The anhydrous can be obtained by recrystallizing from water above 53 C.

 

 

 

 

6.40-21 strontium perchlorate:

 

Sr(ClO4)2 melting point

decomposes molecular mass

286.52 g/mol density

2.973 g/mL

The monohydrate of strontium perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving pure strontium nitrate in an excess of perchloric acid, and neutralizing the acid with strontium carbonate. Centrifuge to collect waste solids, and chill the liquid until crystals of the perchlorate appear.

 

 

 

6.40-22 titanium tetraperchlorate:

 

Ti(ClO4)4 molecular mass

445.70 g/mol

Anhydrous titanium tetraperchlorate can be prepared by mixing 8 moles of anhydrous perchloric acid with 1 mole of titanium tetrachloride at -10 C.

 

 

 

6.40-23 uranyl perchlorate:

 

UO2(ClO4)2 melting point

90 C molecular mass

469.0 g/mol

The hexahydrate of uranyl perchlorate can be prepared by dissolving ordinary hardware store brand uranium trioxide in 40% perchloric acid. Concentrate the solution on a water bath then chill to yield yellow crystals of the perchlorate.

 

 

 

6.40-24 zinc perchlorate:

 

Zn(ClO4)2 melting point

106 C molecular mass

264.27 g/mol density

2.252 g/mL

The hexahydrate of zinc perchlorate can be prepared by mixing solutions of zinc sulfate and barium perchlorate, filtering off the precipitate of barium sulfate, and evaporating the solution until crystals appear. It can also be prepared by zinc oxide, or zinc carbonate, in aqueous perchloric acid and evaporating the solution until crystals appear.

 

 
 

 

7.0 Low-Order Explosives

 

 

7.1 Acetone Peroxide:

 

 

Narrowing down a name for this compound is rather tricky. In the literature is is commonly referred to as acetone peroxide because it is typically a mixture of isomers. Other literature refers to it as tricycloacetoneperoxide, triacetonetriperoxide, TATP, AP, TCAP, and 3,3,6,6,9,9-hexamethyl-1,2,4,5,7,8-hexoxonane. Many types of chemicals react with air and light to form explosive peroxides, usually this is a bad thing because their formation occurs without intent. A compound being distilled in the lab may explode if peroxides have formed, this is why a small amount of liquid is always left undistilled.

This particular formula is intriguing because of its simplicity to make and the availability of the chemicals used. This simplicity has made it very popular among fools. Instruction derived from the Big Book of Mischief, and their loathsome breed, are lacking in detailed information that may determine a continued success or failure at this procedure. An abundance of misinformation has led to much confusion about acetone peroxide. The information presented here is directly from the original scientific references by the scientists who developed this explosive, not some "crap book" as listed above. There are actually two isomers of acetone peroxide, the first is tricyclo acetone peroxide, which is what will be made here, and the second is dicycloacetone peroxide. Both of these compounds are very similar, but the reaction seems to favor the tricyclo over the dicyclo at lower temperatures. The tricyclo isomer is more stable and more powerful than the dicyclo, that is why every effort is made to prepare the former. Both isomers will be made in the reaction with the tricyclo being the principal product. There are also a varity of other peroxides made in this synthesis; see the reaction scheme below.

Acetone peroxide would have made a decent military explosive if not for its instability. It can not be stressed enough how unstable and dangerous acetone peroxide is. As instability goes this is among the most unstable of other explosives here.

Acetone peroxide is formed by acid-catalyzed nucleophilic addition. That means an acid helps the peroxide, a nucleophile, react with the acetone, a ketone. A nucleophile is a "nucleus lover," or a chemical species that donates electrons. A ketone is a substance that has the molecular formula R2C=O where R is any carbon chain. There is some confusion as to which acid to use, the useless internet books frequently cite hydrochloric acid as the acid to use. The fact is, the acid is only a catalyst, it does not matter what acid is used, as long as it is a strong acid. Only inorganic acids fit this criteria. Since the original literature uses sulfuric acid, this lab uses sulfuric. You may use whichever acid is the most economical, or available.

Acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulfuric acid, the chemicals used in this lab, are all available over the counter. That is the real reason this explosive is so popular, it is unfortunate that this explosive is so dangerous. Since 30% hydrogen peroxide is hard to obtain, substituting 10 times the volume of commercially available 3% peroxide is acceptable, although this will lower the yield a bit. It is also advisable to multiply the volume of acid by a corresponding value.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetone 500-mL beaker

ethyl ether eye dropper

hydrogen peroxide graduated cylinder

sulfuric acid separatory funnel

distilled water stirring rod/stirrer

thermometer

 

 

To a 500-mL beaker add 50 mL of acetone, then stir in 30 mL of 30% hydrogen peroxide. Place the beaker in a salt-ice bath and cool it to 5 C. After cooling, slowly add 3 mL of 75% sulfuric acid drop by drop with an eye dropper. Stir the mixture continuously while adding the acid, keep the temperature between 5 C to 10 C, stop adding acid if the temperature gets to high. It is very important that you moderate the reaction, high temperatures will lower your yield and cause the formation of the less useful dicyclo isomer. After adding all the acid, continue stirring for 5 minutes. Keep the mixture in the bath for 1 to 3 hours, or even up to 24 hours. After sitting, a white precipitate should have formed. Filter the mixture to collect the crystals, then wash them with 300-500 mL of water. Allow the crystals to dry before using, keep them damp if storing. For increased purity, add the precipitate to ethyl ether and let it dissolve. Place the ethyl ether solution in a separatory funnel and wash by shaking with three portions of cold water. Add the ethyl ether solution to a beaker and heat it on a steam bath to evaporate the ethyl ether. It should take about 3 hours to dry. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

I would suggest making this explosive shortly before it is desired to use it as it is never wise to keep unstable primary explosives around too long. It can be stored rather safely under water for some time. If allowed to stand in the open it will vaporize after some weeks. If stored in a sealed container it may crystallize into the crevaces of the cap which could detonate from the friction of opening. Mixing with RDX, PETN, or picric acid will improve the stability of this explosive.

 

 

 

7.2 Nitrogen Triiodide(touch explosives):

 

Nitrogen triiodide, also called ammonium triiodide, is a very unstable explosive that's not really practical due to its tremendous instability and cost. When wet it is stable but when dry the touch of a feather can cause it to detonate. Wet nitrogen triiodide should be spread out as much as possible or numerous small piles made. When dry the nitrogen triiodide will not explode from its own weight if spread out, a single large pile will.

 

 

The high cost of iodine, anywhere from $60 to $100 for a 500 g bottle, and its rarity, make it impractical from an economic standpoint. Those useless anarchist texts say iodine can be purchased in drug stores, it is sold in very tiny amounts heavily diluted with alcohol. The drug dealers have made iodine a restricted chemical, very few drug stores even carry it now, there are safer alternatives. The simplicity in which this explosive can be made gives wanna be punks an excuse to try. THIS EXPLOSIVE IS ONLY A CURIOSITY AND SHOULD NEVER BE MADE EXCEPT FOR A CONTROLLED DEMONSTRATION AS ABOVE! Stories abound about the dangers and ease of making nitrogen triiodide. There was a senior undergraduate student (no not me) given full access to a lab who made some, it exploded in a beaker showering him with glass. He was not wearing safety goggles. By some miracle the glass embedded in his face did not rip his eyes to shreds. Then there were the teenage hoodlums that stole some iodine from their high school chem lab, made the nitrogen triiodide at home, and brought it back to school. With a pop and puff of purple gas the teacher knew what it was. A word of advise to them for next time: Leaving the instructions on top of your desk in full view of teach will save you a lot of time scrubbing iodine stains during your next suspension. It is best to leave it dry where you want to detonate it ASAP.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ammonium hydroxide beaker

iodine stirring rod

water graduated cylinder

 

Nitrogen triiodide is formed when iodine atoms displace the hydrogen atoms in ammonia NH3 + I = NI3. This reaction occurs when iodine crystals, I2 are soaked in excess ammonium hydroxide. To begin, select a small beaker or even a disposable cup about 50-mL in capacity. This process may permanently stain any container so I suggest the cup. Add 2 g of iodine crystals to the beaker, crush them as much as possible with a stirring rod. Add 40 mL ammonium hydroxide to the beaker. After 2 hours the reaction should be complete. Pour the solution over a filter to collect the crystals, any excess can be rinsed out of the beaker with water. Put the crystals where you want them immediately because there only semblance of stability is when wet. Drying will take about 1 hour. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids.

 

 

 

 

 

7.3 FLASH POWDER:

     Flash powder is a mixture of powdered zirconium metal and various oxidizers.  It is extremely sensitive to heat or sparks, and should be treated with more care than black powder, with which it should NEVER be mixed.  It is sold in small containers which must be mixed and shaken before use.  It is very finely powdered, and is available in three speeds: fast, medium, and slow.  The fast flash powder is the best for using in explosives or detonators.  It burns very rapidly, regardless of confinement or packing, with a hot white "flash", hence its name.  It is fairly expensive, costing about $11.00.  It is sold in magic shops and theatre supply stores.

Click here for info. on some of the dangers flash powder.

 

* For other flash powders, check out section-10.9 flash charges

 

 

7.4 BLACK POWDER:


     First made by the Chinese for use in fireworks, black powder was first used in weapons and explosives in the 12th century.  It is very simple to make, but it is not very powerful or safe.  Only about 50% of black powder is converted to hot gasses when it is burned; the other half is mostly very fine burned particles.  Black powder has one major problem: it can be ignited by static electricity.  This is very bad, and it means that the material must be made with wooden or clay tools.  Anyway, a misguided individual could manufacture black powder at home with the following procedure:


     MATERIALS               EQUIPMENT
     _________               _________

     potassium               clay grinding bowl
     nitrate (75 g)               and clay grinder

       or                         or

     sodium                  wooden salad bowl
     nitrate (75 g)               and wooden spoon

     sulfur (10 g)           plastic bags (3)

     charcoal (15 g)         300-500 ml beaker (1)

     distilled water         coffee pot or heat source



1) Place a small amount of the potassium or sodium nitrate in the grinding bowl
   and grind it to a very fine powder.  Do this to all of the potassium or
   sodium nitrate, and store the ground powder in one of the plastic bags.

2) Do the same thing to the sulfur and charcoal, storing each chemical in a
   separate plastic bag.

3) Place all of the finely ground potassium or sodium nitrate in the beaker, and
    add just enough boiling water to the chemical to get it all wet.

4) Add the contents of the other plastic bags to the wet potassium or sodium
   nitrate, and mix them well for several minutes.  Do this until there is no
   more visible sulfur or charcoal, or until the mixture is universally black.

5) On a warm sunny day, put the beaker outside in the direct sunlight.  Sunlight
   is really the best way to dry black powder, since it is never too hot, but it
   is hot enough to evaporate the water.

6) Scrape the black powder out of the beaker, and store it in a safe container. Plastic is really the safest container, followed by paper.  Never store black powder in a plastic bag, since plastic bags are prone to generate static electricity.

 

7.5 Yellow powder:

Source: rec.pyrotechnics, post by The Silent Observer <silent1@ix.netcom.com. It comes from a text of 'Samuel Guthrie' written in 1831. More about this mixture can be found in Davis[10], page 30 and 31.
Comments: It is sometimes called "Fulminating powder". The mixture burns three times quicker than common black powder.
Preparation: The compounds are sometimes molten together, which appears to be a very dangerous operation.

Potassium nitrate................................3
Potassium carbonate...............................2
Sulfur............................................1

 

 

7.6 NITROCELLULOSE:

     Nitrocellulose is usually called "gunpowder" or "guncotton".  It is more stable than black powder, and it produces a much greater volume of hot gas.  It also burns much faster than black powder when it is in a confined space. Finally, nitrocellulose is fairly easy to make, as outlined by the following procedure:


     MATERIALS                    EQUIPMENT
     _________                    _________

     cotton (cellulose)           two (2) 200-300 ml beakers

     concentrated                 funnel and filter paper
     nitric acid
                                  blue litmus paper
     concentrated
     sulfuric acid

     distilled water

1) Pour 10 cc of concentrated sulfuric acid into the beaker.  Add to this 10 cc of concentrated nitric acid.

2) Immediately add 0.5 gm of cotton, and allow it to soak for exactly 3
   minutes.

3) Remove the nitrocellulose and prepare water to wash it in.

4) Allow the material to dry, and then re-wash it.

5) After the cotton is neutral when tested with litmus paper, it is ready to
   be dried and stored.



7.7 FUEL-OXODIZER MIXTURES:

     There are nearly an infinite number of fuel-oxodizer mixtures that can be produced by a misguided individual in his own home.  Some are very effective and dangerous, while others are safer and less effective.  A list of working fuel-oxodizer mixtures will be presented, but the exact measurements of each compound are debatable for maximum effectiveness.  A rough estimate will be given of the percentages of each fuel and oxodizer:



Oxodizer, % by weight          Fuel, % by weight    Speed #     Notes
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 67%             sulfur 33%           5     friction/
                                                               impact sensitive
                                                               rather unstable
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 50%              sugar 35%           5     fairly slow
                                  charcoal 15%                 burning;
                                                               unstable
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 50%             sulfur 25%           8     extremely
                                  magnesium or                 unstable!
                             aluminum dust 25%
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 67%           magnesium or           8     unstable
                             aluminum dust 33%
________________________________________________________________________________
 sodium nitrate 65%         magnesium dust 30%           ?     unpredictable
                                     sulfur 5%                 burn rate
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium permanganate 60%      glycerine 40%            4    delay before
                                                               ignition depends
 WARNING: IGNITES SPONTANEOUSLY WITH GLYCERINE!!!              upon grain size
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium permanganate 67%         sulfur 33%            5    unstable
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium permangenate 60%         sulfur 20%            5    unstable
                                  magnesium or
                             aluminum dust 20%
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium permanganate 50%          sugar 50%            3    ?
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium nitrate 75%            charcoal 15%            7    this is
                                    sulfur 10%                 black powder!
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium nitrate 60%           powdered iron            1    burns very hot
                                            or (thermite)
                                 magnesium 40%
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 75%             phosphorus            8    used to make
                             sesquisulfide 25%                 strike-anywhere
                                                               matches
________________________________________________________________________________
 ammonium perchlorate 70%    aluminum dust 30%            6    solid fuel for
                             + small amount of                 space shuttle
                             iron oxide
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium perchlorate 67%        magnesium or           10    flash powder
(sodium perchlorate)         aluminum dust 33%         
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium perchlorate 60%        magnesium or            8    alternate
(sodium perchlorate)         aluminum dust 20%                 flash powder
                                    sulfur 20%
________________________________________________________________________________
 barium nitrate 30%          aluminum dust 30%            9    alternate
potassium perchlorate 30%                                      flash powder
________________________________________________________________________________
 barium peroxide 90%         magnesium dust 5%           10    alternate
                              aluminum dust 5%                 flash powder
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium perchlorate 50%          sulfur 25%            8    slightly
                                  magnesium or                 unstable
                             aluminum dust 25%
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 67%     red phosphorus 27%            7    very
calcium carbonate 3%                 sulfur 3%                 unstable!
                                                               impact sensitive
 ________________________________________________________________________________

 potassium permanganate 50% powdered sugar 25%            7    unstable;
                                   aluminum or                 ignites if
                            magnesium dust 25%                 it gets wet!
________________________________________________________________________________
 potassium chlorate 75%      charcoal dust 15%            6    unstable
                                    sulfur 10%
________________________________________________________________________________


NOTE:

 

Mixtures that uses substitutions of sodium perchlorate for potassium perchlorate become moisture-absorbent and less stable.

     The higher the speed number, the faster the fuel-oxodizer mixture burns AFTER ignition.  Also, as a rule, the finer the powder, the faster the rate of
burning.

     As one can easily see, there is a wide variety of fuel-oxodizer mixtures that can be made at home.  By altering the amounts of fuel and oxodizer(s), different burn rates can be achieved, but this also can change the sensitivity of the mixture.

 

 

 

7.8 PERCHLORATES:

     As a rule, any oxidizable material that is treated with perchloric acid will become a low order explosive.  Metals, however, such as potassium or sodium, become excellent bases for flash-type powders.  Some materials that can be perchlorated are cotton, paper, and sawdust.  To produce potassium or sodium perchlorate, simply acquire the hydroxide of that metal, e.g. sodium or potassium hydroxide.  It is a good idea to test the material to be perchlorated with a very small amount of acid, since some of the materials tend to react explosively when contacted by the acid.  Solutions of sodium or potassium hydroxide are ideal. See other percholates section in the chemicals chapter.

 

 

 

8.0 High-order explosives:

 

Many of the explosives in this chapter are not mentioned in the classification chart(section 3.1). These high-order explosives are extremely powerful and are not to be under estimated. Almost any of these explosives can be used to level a building, and can turn a car into thousands of small pieces. And needless to say, if explosion happens next to you, youll most likely die.

If you want to make HE's(high explosives), I STRONGLY suggest you get firmly grounded in the use of LE's first, and read as much as you can (The Explosives & Weapons Forum is a good place to look) first. Primary explosives can be VERY dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced/foolish person, and their manufacture and use is not to be taken lightly. Secondary explosives are in most ways safer, but with potentially more dangerous synthesis procedures (runaway reactions, NO2 gas etc).

 

 

8.1 Simple Plastique Explosives:

 

Potassium chlorate is an extremely volatile explosive compound, and has been used in the past as the main explosive filler in grenades, land mines, and mortar rounds by such countries as France and Germany. (*see section 6.21 for the procedure on making potassium chlorate)

 

Materials: Apparatus:

-Potassium Chlorate -plasic bowl

-Petroliom Jelly(Vaseline)

-Wax

-White Gasoline

 

melt five parts Vaseline with five parts wax. Dissolve this in white gasoline (camp stove gasoline), and pour this liquid on 90 parts potassium chlorate into a plastic bowl. Knead this liquid into the potassium chlorate until intimately mixed. Allow all gasoline to evaporate.

 

Finally, place this explosive into a cool, dry place. Avoid friction, sulfur, sulfides, and phosphorous compounds. This explosive is best molded to the desired shape and density of 1.3 grams in a cube and dipped in wax until water proof. These block type charges guarantee the highest detonation velocity. Also, a blasting cap of at least a 3 grade must be used.

 

The presence of the afore mentioned compounds (sulfur, sulfides, etc.) results in mixtures that are or can become highly sensitive and will possibly decompose explosively while in storage. You should never store homemade explosives, and you must use EXTREME caution at all times while performing the processes in this article.

 

 

 

8.2 Lead Azide:

 

 

Lead azide is a common primary explosive used as a standard to compare sensitivity among other primary explosives. Making lead azide is not a simple task, this laboratory uses advanced techniques and equipment. Getting the chemicals will be another task. Sodium azide is an unstable, therefore regulated, material nearly impossible to get, it will need to be synthesized. Lead azide is sensitive to heat, shock and friction. The addition of dextrin to this lab prevents the formation of large crystals which can be very dangerous.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

dextrin 250-mL beaker

lead nitrate Buchner funnel

sodium azide graduated cylinder

sodium hydroxide pipet/buret

water separatory funnel

stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

Dissolve 2.33 g of sodium azide and 0.058 g of sodium hydroxide in 70 mL of water by shaking in a separatory funnel. This is solution A. Dissolve 6.9 g of lead nitrate and 0.35 g of dextrin in 90 mL water in a 250-mL beaker, add 1 or 2 drops of 10% sodium hydroxide to bring the pH to about 5. This is solution B. Heat solution B to 60-65 on a water bath and agitate it with a plastic or hardwood stirring rod. The stirring should be as efficient as possible to prevent the formation of large crystals. Stirring, while vigorous, should not produce any spattering of the mixture and the stirring should not rub against the walls of the beaker. The friction might cause some crystals to explode. Add solution A dropwise to solution B while stirring. The addition should take about 10 minutes. Remove the beaker from the water bath and continue stirring the mixture in the beaker while cooling to room temperature, this will take about 1 hour. Allow the precipitate of lead azide to settle and pour the solution over a filter to collect the crystals. Use suction filtration with a Buchner funnel if possible. Add 150 mL of water to the crystals to wash them, add the water in 50 mL increments. Dry the sample for 8-15 hours or longer, but no more than 24, at 65 C. The lead azide should form small spherical crystals that are opaque in color. The yield should be around 5 g. Store the lead azide moist in a rubber stoppered plastic bottle if you must. If you do not have a separatory funnel for solution A, use a beaker to prepare the solution and a pipet or buret to to add it to solution B. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

8.3 Lead Styphnate:

 

Lead styphnate, also called lead trinitroresorcinate, is an unstable primary explosive that resists shock but will detonate readily from heat or static. It is usually mixed with lead azide to improve its ability to detonate from flame or electric ignition. The preparation of lead styphnate is easy, but the chemicals used in its manufacture are of the kind only a lab would use. Lead acetate and nitric acid can be obtained but magnesium styphnate will be nearly impossible. Magnesium styphnate is derived from styphnic acid, or 2,4,6-trinitroresorcinol. Trinitro anything usually raises some danger flags, and dangerous chemicals are forbidden. Until I locate the method of preparation for styphnic acid, you will have to find some yourself.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

lead acetate small beaker

magnesium styphnate graduated cylinder

nitric acid stirring rod

water thermometer

 

 

Lead styphnate is prepared by adding a magnesium styphnate solution to lead acetate solution in a small beaker while stirring, and keeping the temperature at 70 C. A precipitate will form, keep stirring for 15 minutes. After this time is up, add dilute nitric acid while stirring and cooling to 30 C with a salt-ice bath, keep stirring until this temperature is reached. Collect the crystals on filter paper, wash with water, and allow them to dry in the open. The crystals should be reddish brown or orange in color.

 

Notice the lack of quantities of chemicals. The source I obtained this information from is reliable but sketchy. I suggest using 10 g of lead acetate in 30 mL of water, and the same for magnesium styphnate, to make the solutions. Add 10 mL of concentrated nitric acid to 70 mL of water for the dilute acid. Keep in mind the danger these crystals may pose, keep the dried crystals away from heat, friction, and shock. Store the crystals under water if they are not going to be used immediately. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.4 Mercury Fulminate:

 

Mercury fulminate is an unstable primary explosive compound. It was first prepared in the late seventeenth century by Johann Kunckel von Lwenstern by a procedure very similar to the modern method presented here. Lwenstern detailed mercury fulminate synthesis in his posthumously written Laboratorium Chymicum, he used aqua fortis, spiritum vini, and in fimum equinum. That last one is horse manure if you wanted to know. Mercury fulminate was first patented by Alfred Nobel in 1867 for blasting caps. It is not used today for that purpose because of more stable explosives from modern chemistry. Its manufacture is not complicated nor the chemicals in its makeup rare. Mercury can be extracted from a variety of products but it is very expensive. Only a chemical supply company could provide mercury in useful quantities. This lab produces nitrogen dioxide gas as a byproduct, this is a heavy red colored gas that is extremely toxic. The gas will turn moisture in your lungs to nitric acid and may cause fabric to ignite! This lab should be done outside or in a fume hood if possible.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic acid 500-mL beaker

ammonium hydroxide desiccator

ethyl alcohol 100mL Erlenmeyer flask

mercury graduated cylinder

nitric acid

water

 

 

In a 100mL Erlenmeyer flask, measure out 35 mL of 70% nitric acid, then add 5 g of mercury metal. This mixture should be left alone without shaking or stirring until all the mercury dissolves. Toxic gas will be produced. Keep the flask in a well ventilated area, or stopper the flask and lead a length of rubber tubing into water to safely dissolve the fumes. In a 500-mL beaker, place 50 mL of 90% ethyl alcohol, then add the acid-mercury mix in a well ventilated area. The temperature of the mixture will rise, a vigorous reaction will commence, white fumes will be released, and crystals of mercury fulminate should begin to precipitate. Red fumes of nitrogen dioxide will appear as the precipitation becomes more rapid, then white fumes again as the reaction moderates. After about 20 minutes the reaction should be over. Add water to the beaker and carefully decant off most of the water without losing any crystals. Add water and decant several times until the wash water is no longer acid to litmus. Finally, pour the neutral solution over a filter to collect the grayish-yellow crystals of mercury fulminate. The product may be purified by dissolving in strong ammonium hydroxide, filtering, and re-precipitating by the addition of 30% acetic acid. The pure fulminate is filtered off, washed with cold water, and stored in a container filled with water. Dry in a desiccator immediately before use. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids.

 

 

 

 

8.5 Tetracene:

 

1-guanyl-4-nitrosoaminoguanyltetrazene, more conveniently called tetracene, was first prepared back in 1910 by two scientists named Hoffmann and Roth. It is a colorless pale yellow, fluffy material with slight hygroscopic properties.

It is stable at normal temperatures when wet or dry, but decomposes in boiling water. Tetracene is sensitive to friction, shock, and flame. Its brisiance is greatest when it has not been compacted, so this compound can easily become dead-pressed. Tetracene is not suited for blasting caps or alone as an explosive since it does not detonate itself very efficiently. It is best suited for booster charges or in blasting caps mixed with other explosives. It can only achieve is full explosive potential if detonated by another explosive charge. The only problem I have noted with this lab is the aminoguanidine bicarbonate used as the main ingredient. I have found no literature whatsoever to suggest that this substance exists although it is probably a rare analog of aminoguanidine reacted with a bicarbonate substance, and given a non IUPAC name.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic acid 3-liter Florence flask

aminoguanidine bicarbonate graduated cylinder

sodium nitrite thermometer

water

 

 

Prepare a solution of 34 g of aminoguanidine bicarbonate and 12.5 mL of glacial acetic acid with 2500 mL of water in a 3-liter Florence flask. Gently warm the flask on a steam bath and shake periodically until everything is completely dissolved into solution. The solution should be filtered to remove any impurities that may have not dissolved, then cooled to 30 C by running cold water from the faucet over the flask. It is necessary to filter the solution if there are impurities present. Add 27.6 g of sodium nitrite to the solution while swirling to dissolve it. Set the flask aside at room temperature for 3 or 4 hours then shake it vigorously to start precipitation of the product. Let the flask stand for another 20 hours. After standing, decant as much of the solution off as possible and drown the remaining crystals with water. Decant and drown with water several more times to wash the crystals. Filter the washed crystals to collect them and thoroughly wash again with water. Dry the product at room temperature and store in a sealed glass container to keep out the moisture. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

8.6 AMATOL:

 

Materials:

 

-ammonium nitrate

-TNT

 

 

 

Description:

 

Amatol is a high explosive, white to buff in color. It is a mixture of ammonium nitrate and TNT, with a relative effectiveness slightly higher than that of TNT alone. Common compositions vary from 80% ammonium nitrate and 20% TNT, to 40% ammonium nitrate and 60% TNT. Amatol is used as the main bursting charge in artillery shells and bombs. Amatol absorbs moisture and can form dangerous compounds with copper and brass. Therefore, it should not be housed in containers of such metals.

 

 

8.7 PETN:

 

PETN is an acronym for pentaerythritol tetranitrate, other names include 1,3-propanediol; 2,2-[bis-(nitroxy)methyl]-dinitrate; 2,2-bis[(nitrooxy)methyl]-1,3-propanediol (ester); 2,2-bishydroxymethyl-1,3-propanediol tetranitrate; nitropentaerythritol; niperyt; Lentrat; Hasethrol; Peritrate; Mycardol; Nitropenton; Pentral 80; Dilcoran-80; Terpate; Perityl; Pentritol; Pentanitrine; Prevangor; Subicard; Pentryate; Vasodiatol; Neo-Corovas; Pentafin; Quintrate; Pergitral; Metranil; Cardiacap; Angitet; dinitrate penta; niperyth; penthrit; penthrite; pentrit; nitropenta; NP; and TEN.

While PETN can not be detonated by flame or fuse, it only burns in the open air, it is very easily detonated by shock. A blow from a hammer, dropping it on the floor, and using even a weak detonator will cause detonation. PETN was first prepared in 1894 by the German company Rneinisch Westfalalische Sprengstoff AG. PETN is used as the active ingredient in detonating cord, detonating cord is like a fuse that burns as fast as electricity flows (as fast as sound anyway, but that is only an analogy). The cord can slice a small tree in half from the heat, it was wrapped around prisoners of war when no shackles were handy. Anybody gets out of line... Ouch. PETN has also found uses in blasting caps, grenade filler, as a sometime replacement for RDX, mixed with plastics as a booster charge for insensitive explosives, and in medicine as a vasodilator. Another nifty use for it is in sheet explosive, like bed sheets, it can be used to harden and shape metals, wrap around objects and all sorts of wonderful things. PETN is a rather common and stable high explosive that is not very difficult to prepare. This lab will require white nitric acid which you can make and pentaerythritol, also called tetramethylol methane and 2,2-bis(hydroxymethyl)-1,3-propanediol. Pentaerythritol may have its uses in the paint industry but no use in the hands of the public. I have a method of synthesizing it, but it is vague. I will look for a better procedure.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetone 600-mL beaker

nitric acid graduated cylinder

pentaerythritol stirrer/stirring rod

sodium carbonate thermometer

water

 

 

In a 600-mL beaker, add 400 mL of white nitric acid and cool to below 5C in a salt-ice bath. White nitric acid is made by adding a small amount of urea to fuming nitric acid then blowing dry air into the acid until it is colorless. 100 g of finely ground pentaerythritol is slowly added to the acid while stirring, keeping the temperature below 5C. After all of the pentaerythritol has been added, the stirring and cooling are continued for 15 minutes. The mixture is then dumped in about 3 L of ice water. The crude product that should have formed is filtered to collect it, washed with water, and submerged in 1 L of hot 0.5% sodium carbonate solution for 1 hour. The crystals are again collected on a filter, washed with water, and allowed to dry. These washings are important to remove all traces of acid. To obtain a pure product, dissolve the crystals in hot acetone, allow to cool, then add an equal volume of water as you have of acetone. Filter to collect the crystals, wash with water, and allow 24 hours to dry. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.8 RDX:

 

RDX, or cyclonite, is a very insensitive high explosive compound. The actual chemical name is cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, although the chemical names hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine; Hexogen; trimethylenetrinitramine; sym-trimethylenetrinitramine ;Hexolite; 1,3,5-trinitrohexahydro-p-triazine; 1,3,5-trinitrohexahydro-s-triazine; cyclotrimrthylene-trinitramine; 1,3,5-triaza-1,3,5-trinitrocyclohexane; trinitrohexahydrotriazine; and T4 are also used.

RDX itself stands for Royal Demolition Explosive and comes from Great Britain, cyclonite is the American usage, Hexogen is for Germans, and T4 is Italian. RDX is a very powerful military explosive that can be stored for long periods of time and handled safely. RDX is usually mixed with other explosives and plasticizers to make a variety of useful compositions for military and civilian use, C-4 and Semtex are two such compounds. It seems so much RDX is made that most scientific books give industrial schematics for thousands of pounds instead of lab preparations. The laboratory methods here are not as efficient as in industry, but are fine. The first method uses methenamine, or hexamethylenetetramine, which can be purchased as heating tablets or synthesized in the lab. The second makes use of acetic anhydride, forbidden by the DEA, but it can be synthesized as well.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic anhydride 500-mL beaker

acetone 1000-mL beaker

ammonium nitrate graduated cylinder

methenamine stirrer/stirring rod

nitric acid thermometer

paraformaldehyde

sodium bicarbonate

water

 

 

Put 335 mL of 100% nitric acid in a 500-mL beaker, cool the acid to below 30 C by setting the beaker in a salt-ice bath. The nitric acid must be as concentrated as possible, it must also be free of nitrogen oxides. Slowly add 75 g of methenamine in small portions to the acid while stirring. The temperature must be kept between 20 C to 30 C during the addition. Once all of the methenamine has dissolved, slowly heat it to 55 C while stirring, hold it to between 50-55 C for 5 minutes, keep stirring. Now cool the mix to 20 C then let it sit for 15 minutes. After standing, it is gradually diluted with three or four times its volume of cool water, this should precipitate the RDX from solution. Depending on how the gods of chemistry feel about your reaction it may take from minutes to hours to fully precipitate all of the RDX. Decant most of the liquid then add 1 L of 5% sodium bicarbonate solution to neutralize the remaining acid. Filter the mixture to collect the crystals of RDX that should have formed. Wash them with cold water, then with hot 5% sodium bicarbonate solution, and again with water. The RDX can be dried at room temperature or in an oven. Further purification can be accomplished by recrystallizing from acetone. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

The second procedure is as follows: Place 260 mL acetic anhydride in a 1000-mL beaker and add 105 g powdered ammonium nitrate while stirring. Heat the beaker to 90 C and remove the source of heat. Very slowly add 38 g of paraformaldehyde to the beaker, this addition will release toxic and flammable fumes, use a fume hood or go to an open area. After the addition, add the contents of the beaker to twice its volume of cold water to precipitate crystals of RDX. Filter the solution to collect the crystals and wash them with cold water then boiling water. The RDX can be purified by dissolving in the minimum amount of acetone then diluting with cold water. Filter the crystals to collect them and allow to dry in the open air.

 

 

 

 

8.9 COMPOSITION C-1:
 
 This explosive is just a copy of a British explosive
that was adopted early in WWII. This explosive is the 'C' explosive of choice for home manufacture due to its ease of manufacture and the more easily obtained compound. This explosive was available in standard demolition blocks. The explosive was standardized and adopted in the
following composition:
 
 R. D. X. 88.3 %
 Heavy Mineral Oil 11.1 %
 Lecithin  0.6 %
 
 In this composition, the lecithin acts to prevent the formation of large crystals of R.D.X. which would increase the sensitivity of the explosive. This explosive has a good deal of power. It is relatively non - toxic except if ingested and is plastic from 0-40 deg. C.. Above 40 deg., the explosive undergoes extrudation and becomes gummy although its explosive properties go relatively unimpaired. Below 0 deg. C., it becomes brittle and its cap sensitivity is lessened considerably. Weighing all pros and cons, this is the explosive of choice for the kitchen explosives factory due to the simple manufacture of the plastique compound.
 Manufacturing this explosive can be done in two ways. The first is to dissolve the 11.1 % plastisizing in unleaded gasoline and mixing with the R. D. X. and then allowing the gasoline to evaporate until the mixture is free of all gasoline. All percentages are by weight.
 The second method is the fairly simple kneading of the plasticizing compound into the R.D.X. until a uniform mixture is obtained. This explosive should be stored in a cool dry place. If properly made, the plastique should be very stable in storage, even if stored at elevated temperatures for long periods of time. It should be very cap sensitive as compared to other millitary explosives. With this explosive, as mentioned earlier, a booster will be a good choice, especially if used below 0 deg. C.. The detonation velocity of this explosive should be around 7900 M/sec..

 

 

 

8.10 COMPOSITION C-2:
 
 Composition C-2 was developed due to the undesirable
aspects of composition 'C'. lt was formerly used by the United States armed forces, but has been replaced by C-3 and C-4. lt's composition is much the same as C-3 and it's manufacture is thc safe also.
 
 I won't go into much detail on this explosive because of its highly undesirable traits. lt is harder to make than C-4 and is toxic to handle. lt also is unstable in storage and is a poor choice for home explosives manufacture. It also has a lower detonation velocity than either C-4 or C-3. But for those of you that are interested, I will give the composition of this explosive anyway. It is manufactured in
a steam jacketed (heated) melting kettle using the same procedure used in incorporation of C-3. Its composition is as follows:
 
 R.D.X.  80 % 
 
  (Equal parts of thc following:)
 
 Mononitrotolulene 
 Dinitrotolulene 
 T.N.T. guncotton
 Dimethylformide  20 %
 
 
 
 
8.11 COMPOSITION C-3:
 
 This explosive was developed to eliminate the undesirable aspects of C-2. It was standardized and adopted by the military as the following composition: 
 
 R. D. X.  77 %
 Mononitrotolulene  16 %
 Dinitrotolulene   5 % 
 Tetryl  1 %
 Nitrocellose (guncotton) 1 % 
 
 
 C-3 is manufactured by mixing the plastisizing agent in a steam jacketed  melting kettle equipped with a mechanical stirring attachment. The kettle is heated to 90-100 deg. C. and the stirrer is activated. Water wet R.D.X.
is added to the plasticizing agent and the stirring is continued until a uniform mixture is obtained and all water has been driven off. Remove the heat source but continue to stir the mixture until it has cooled to room temperature. This explosive is as sensitive to impact as is T.N.T.. Storage at 65 deg. C. for four months at a relative humidity of 95% does not impair its explosive properties. C-3 is 133% as good as an explosive as is T.N.T.. The major drawback of C-3 is its volatility which causes it to lose 1.2% of it's weight although the explosive's detonation properties are not affected. Water does not affect the explosive's
performance. It therefore is very good for U.D.T. uses and would be a good choice for these applications. When stored at 77 deg. C., considerable extrudation takes place. It will become hard at -29 deg. C. and is hard to detonate at this temperature. While this explosive is not unduly toxic, it should be handled with utmost care as it contains aryl-nitro compounds which are absorbed through the skin. It will reliably take detonation from a #6 blasting cap but the use of a booster is always suggested. This explosive has a great blast effect and was and still is available is standard demolition blocks. It's detonation velocity is approximately 7700 M / sec..
 
 
 
8.12 COMPOSITION C-4:
 
 C-4 was developed because of the hardening and toxicity that made C-3 unreliable and dangerous due to the dinitrotolulene plastisizer. The following composition is the standardized plastique explosive as adopted by the armed forces:
 
 R.D.X. 91.0 % 
 Polyisobutylene   2.1 % 
 Motor Oil   1.6 %
 Di-(2-ethylhexy)sebecate 5.3 %
 
 The last three ingredients are dissolved in unleaded gasoline. The R.D.X. explosive base is then added to the gasoline-plasticizer and the resultant mass in allowed to evaporate until the gasoline is completely gone (this can be done quickly and efficiently under a vacuum).
 The final product should be dirty white to light brown in color. It should have no odor and have a density of 1.59 gm/cc. It does not harden at -57 deg. C. and does not undergo extrudation at 77 deg. C.. It can be reliably detonated with a #6 blasting cap.
 The bristance of this explosive (ability to do work or fragment ordinance) is 120% greater than T.N.T.. C-4 is the best plastique explosive available in the world and probably will remain so for quite some time. This is the #1 demolition explosive in the world and if you've never seen this stuff used it is absolutely amazing. The detonation velocity of C-4 is 8100 M/sec..
 
 
 
 
 

8.13 Ammonium Picrate:

 

 

Ammonium picrate, also called 2,4,6-trinitrophenol ammonium salt, ammonium trinitrophenolate, Dunnite, or Explosive D, is prepared in much the same way as nitrogen triiodide. Ammonium picrate was first prepared in 1841 by a scientist named Marchand. It was not used until 1869 when it was mixed with potassium nitrate as a propellent for rifles. Alfred Nobel patented it in 1888 for Dynamites. The US Army picked it up in 1901, and the Navy floated it in 1907. It saw peak production during WWII but has since fallen victim to progress in chemistry. This explosive is relatively stable, therefore safer to prepare and handle. The only real problem is getting ahold of picric acid which is a regulated explosive chemical. Very few laboratories still use life threatening carcinogens like benzene or explosives like picric acid. That means even if you have the authorization to purchase chemicals you will have a hard time getting any. Not to worry, I have included the preparation of picric acid. Benzene is another matter unfortunately.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ammonium hydroxide 250-mL beaker

picric acid graduated cylinder

hotplate

 

 

2,4,6-Trinitrophenol ammonium salt is formed when the ammonium ion, NH4+, attaches itself to the phenol group, OH, of picric acid. I suppose the H from OH is stripped away making O- that balances the positive ammonium ion. To make, dissolve picric acid in excess ammonium hydroxide. Add 1 g of picric acid to a 250-mL beaker then add 100 mL of hot concentrated ammonium hydroxide. Once the picric acid has dissolved, some will precipitate out of solution upon cooling. The liquid must be evaporated to fully precipitate the crystals. Evaporation can be accelerated by heating the solution on a hotplate or in a heated pan of water. More ammonium picrate can be prepared at once by using the same 1:100 ratio of grams picric acid to milliliters ammonium hydroxide. You will need a graduated cylinder to measure the liquid.

 

The pure substance occurs in two forms, a stable form which is bright yellow and a less stable form which is bright red. The crystals which separate here are the red form. The yellow form can be procured by recrystallizing the red several times from water. The red form will eventually change into the yellow form if stored as a concentrated solution. Keep this material as dry as possible.

 

 

8.14 HMX:

 

HMX is a very powerful military explosive with similar properties to RDX, the other great military explosive with which it is often mixed. HMX is technically called octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine, other names include 1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazacyclooctane; cyclotetramethylene tetranitramine; and octogen. HMX is itself an acronym for either High velocity Military eXplosive, or Her Majesties eXplosive depending on what country you are in. HMX is very stable, it requires a powerful detonator or booster charge to detonate. It was first developed during WWII in the never ending search for more powerful bombs.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic acid 500/1000-mL beaker

acetic anhydride 500-mL Florence flask

ammonium nitrate graduated cylinder

methenamine stirrer/stirring rod

nitric acid thermometer

paraformaldehyde

water

 

 

Prepare a solution of 748 mL of glacial acetic acid, 12 mL of acetic anhydride, and 17 g of paraformaldehyde, keep this solution at 44 C while mixing. Prepare a second solution of 217.6 g of ammonium nitrate and 154.6 mL of 99% nitric acid in a 500-mL beaker. Prepare a third solution of 101 g of methenamine, 157 mL of glacial acetic acid, and 296 mL of acetic anhydride in a 1000-mL beaker. Combine the third solution with 112.5 mL of the second solution. Add this combined solution to the first solution over a 15 minute period while stirring rapidly. After the addition, continue stirring for an additional 15 minutes. Next, carefully add 296 mL of acetic anhydride, then carefully add the remainder of the second solution, then add another 148 mL of acetic anhydride, all while stirring. Continue the stirring for 1 hour more. After stirring, add 350 mL of hot water and reflux the whole works for 30 minutes. After this time, cool the liquid down to 20 C by adding ice. Decant off as much of the liquid from the precipitate as possible and drown the remaining crystals with cold water. Filter to collect the crystals of HMX and wash them with three portions of cold water, allow to dry. The yield is about 95%. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

Owing to the large volume of reactants in this lab, in excess of 2.5 L, it is necessary to use a 5-L flask, unfortunately this is beyond most laboratories, and especially the home chemist. This reaction can be carried out in a glass gallon jug or similar large capacity glass container. The refluxing step can be done in portions using a round-bottomed 500-mL Florence flask.

 

 

8.15 Nitrated Petroleum:

 

This explosive procedure intrigues me because what chemical can be more readably available than gasoline, or for that matter motor oil, kerosine, and diesel. The nitration of petroleum generally produces either brown non-crystalline solids or liquid products that are explosive. The first attempts to nitrate petroleum were made in Russia at the end of the 19th century by one Dr. Konovaloff. Dilute nitric acid under pressure was used to nitrate the product, obtaining very low yields. In 1902 a nitration method patented by Edeleanu and Filti used mixed nitric-sulfuric acids, unfortunately for them no practical application of their patent was found. Others tried using different kinds of petroleum like A.S. Flexer, Freund, and Kharichkov to name a few. Not that it matters who they are, but I like to know. You may experiment yourself on everything from crude oil to that stuff you get at the hardware store for oil lamps. Things are screwed up nowadays, all of the good chemical additives that make petroleum nitrateable seem to be getting legislated by the government (only the democrat oppressors). This lab may have worked for scientists a hundred years ago, but it may not work for you today.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

gasoline beaker

nitric acid graduated cylinder

sulfuric acid thermometer

water 
 

 

Standard gasoline, get the cheap stuff and not gasahol (gas/ethyl alcohol mix) if you can avoid it, is added gradually to a mixture of 15 parts 100% sulfuric acid and 3 parts 100% nitric acid in a large beaker. Add 1 part of gasoline per 18 parts of mixed acid. The reaction temperature should be somewhat cool, never let the temperature rise above 80 C. A temperature below 20 C should do, you can regulate this with a salt-ice bath. When the nitration is completed, the mixture is diluted with a large quantity of cold water to precipitate the product. The un-nitrated oil will float to the top of the acid-water solution. Collect the precipitate on a filter and wash with water, yield will be 30% to 90% depending on the crude oil used to manufacture the gasoline. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 
8.16 Nitrogen Trichloride:
 

Nitrogen trichloride, also called nitrogen chloride, agene, chlorine nitride, trichloramine, trichlorine nitride, chloride of azode, or Stickstofftrichlorid, is an unstable primary explosive compound. Its preparation is not complicated and the chemicals used are simple, cheap, and readily obtainable. You could pump the stuff out by the liter if it was not so sensitive. Nitrogen trichloride will explode if heated, exposed to sunlight, or mixed with organic compounds. It does not like to be friendly around many other chemicals, shock, sparks, and it will explode if frozen and thawed. The explosive properties were first reported in the 18th century by Sir H. Davy, he had this to say: "The fulminating oil which you mentioned roused my curiosity and nearly deprived me of an eye. After some months of confinement I am again well." Ouch, that must have hurt.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ammonium nitrate bubbler

chlorine 200-mL Erlenmeyer flask

water graduated cylinder

medicine dropper

 

 

Dissolve 30 g of ammonium nitrate in 70 mL water in a 200-mL Erlenmeyer flask. Prepare a chlorine generator as described in the synthesis section. Place a tube connected to the generator at the bottom of the flask so the chlorine gas can bubble into the liquid, a bubbler will help a lot with the reaction. Gently heat the flask to start the reaction while adding chlorine gas. An oily yellow liquid will begin to appear on the bottom of the flask, that is the nitrogen trichloride. Stop heating the flask when the drops appear. After 20 to 30 minutes the reaction should be complete. Use a medicine dropper to extract the nitrogen trichloride from the flask, transfer it to a small test tube and remove any water accidently sucked up with it. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids. This explosive will decompose within 24 hours of its preparation.

 

 

 

 

8.17 Tetryl:

 

Tetryl has a variety of names including nitramine; N-methyl-N,2,4,6-tetranitrobenzenamine; N-methyl-N,2,4,6-tetranitroaniline; picrylmethylnitramine; picrylnitromethylamine; 2,4,6-trinitrophenylmethylnitramine; tetralite; and pyronite.

Tetryl is a stable explosive capable of being handled reasonably safe, yet it is still sensitive enough to be used in blasting caps or booster charges. It was first developed in 1889 by the scientists Michler and Meyer and studied in some detail thereafter. It can be heated either in the open or in solvents causing mere decomposition, usually to picric acid. Tetryl is more powerful then even TNT, although the lesser stability compared to TNT makes it less attractive to the military. You must keep tetryl in the dark and away from the skin, it will stain skin and hair yellow as well as cause itching or worse.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

benzene 500-mL beaker

N,N-dimethylaniline 500-mL Erlenmeyer flask

ethyl alcohol graduated cylinder

nitric acid magnetic stirrer

sulfuric acid separatory funnel

water thermometer

 

 

Prepare a solution of 20 mL of N,N-dimethylaniline and 130 mL of 99-100% sulfuric acid in a 500-mL beaker placed in a salt-ice bath. Keep the temperature below 25 C while mixing this solution. Pour the solution into a separatory funnel and slowly add it, drop by drop, to a 500-mL Erlenmeyer flask containing 160 mL of 80% nitric acid that has been previously heated to 55-60 C. During the addition, stir continually with a magnetic stirrer, and maintain the temperature between 65-70 C. The addition should require about 1 hour. After the addition, continue stirring and maintain the temperature at 65-70 C for an additional hour. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and the crystals of tetryl to precipitate. Decant as much of the acid as possible and drown the remaining crystals with water. Filter to collect the crystals and wash thoroughly with water to remove traces of acid. Add the washed crystals to a beaker of 240 mL of water and boil for 1 hour, continually add water to replace any that boils away, maintaining a constant volume. Again filter to collect the tetryl, add the crystals to a beaker and add enough water to cover the surface, grind these crystals to as fine a paste as possible. Add water equal to twelve times the weight of the crystals and boil for 12 hours. Repeat this with a fresh batch of water and boil for another 4 hours. Filter to collect the crystals and allow them to dry. After drying, add just enough benzene to dissolve the crystals then filter to remove any undissolved impurities. Allow the benzene to evaporate then recrystallize the tetryl residue from ethyl alcohol. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

8.18 Trinitrobenzene(TNB):

 

1,3,5-trinitrobenzene, also known as sym-trinitrobenzene; s-trinitrobenzene; trinitrobenzeen; trinitrobenzene; trinitrobenzol; benzite; Rcra waste number U234; or just TNB, is a stable high explosive compound with slightly greater explosive force than TNT. There are two other isomers of trinitrobenzene, namely 1,2,4- and 1,2,3- , but they are less stable and harder to form.

Trinitrobenzene is very poisonous, causing severe skin irritation, so it is best to use every precaution when handling it. The good qualities of trinitrobenzene are its high stability, great explosive power, and low sensitivity to friction and impact. On the down side, this procedure is not exactly an economical choice since it uses perfectly good TNT as the main ingredient.

This procedure is a variant of the original that dates back to 1893 when the German scientists Tiemann, Claus, and Becker observed that trinitrotoluene can be oxidized with nitric acid to trinitrobenzoic acid, and the latter being readily decarboxylated to form sym-trinitrobenzene:

 

This lab substitutes sulfuric acid and a chromium compound for nitric acid, the reaction is the same either way. There are other methods of forming TNB but this procedure is the easiest and has the highest yield.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

sodium dichromate 500-mL beaker

sulfuric acid small beaker

trinitrotoluene graduated cylinder

water stirrer/stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

Prepare a mixture of 30 g of purified trinitrotoluene and 300 mL of 95-100% sulfuric acid in a tall 500-mL beaker. Slowly add, with stirring, powdered sodium dichromate in small portions, do not allow any lumps to form or powder to rise to the surface. When the temperature of the mixture reaches 40 C, place the baker into a cold water bath. Continue adding dichromate, while stirring, until a total of 45 g has been added, maintain the temperature between 40-50 C at all times. After the addition, continue stirring and maintaining the temperature between 40-50 C for 2 hours. After this time, allow the mixture to cool undisturbed to room temperature over a 12 hour period. Crystals of trinitrobenzoic acid should have formed. Decant off as much of the acidic liquid as possible, then drown the crystals in water. Filter the crystals to collect them, wash with cold water, then transfer them to a small beaker. Add just enough 50 C water to dissolve the crystals. Filter this solution hot to remove any undissolved impurities, then boil it until no more crystals precipitate. Allow the solution to cool, filter to collect the crystals, then wash them with water. These should be colorless to greenish yellow crystals of trinitrobenzene. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

8.19 Trinitrotoluene(TNT):

 

2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, or just TNT, is the oft used military and industrial explosive that may be the among the best recognized explosive around. Other names for TNT include: trinitrotoluol; sym-trinitrotoluene; a-trinitrotoluol; 2-methyl-1,3,5-trinitrobenzene; entsufon; 1-methyl-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene; methyltrinitrobenzene; tolite; trilit; s-trinitrotoluene; s-trinitrotoluol; trotyl; sym-trinitrotoluol; alpha-trinitrotoluol; tolite; triton; tritol; trilite; tri; tutol; trinol; fllpulver 1902; Fp02; tritolo; trillit; tolita; tol; and trotil.

TNT was first synthesized in 1863 by a scientist named Wilbrand who treated toluene with sulfuric and nitric acid at near boiling temperatures. Although there are several isomers of trinitrotoluene, only the 2,4,6- isomer is of importance. Pure TNT is in the form of small columns or needles and is insoluble in water. It is quite stable, being meltable ,or able to act like a plastic at around 50 C. TNT can even be boiled although the experiments did this under reduced pressure (50mm Hg) to lower the boiling point to around 245 C. The normal detonation temperature is 333 C, the calculated boiling point at normal atmospheric pressure is 345 C, so don't do it. Some experiments have determined that the presence of foreign material like 1.9% of Fe2O3 will lower the amount of time it takes for TNT to explode once it reaches its critical temperature, or 295 C, the temperature at which decomposition begins. Also, mixing pure sulfur with TNT will lower the initiation temperature and increase the explosive power. For example, pure TNT explodes at 333 C, 5% sulfur explodes at 304 C, 10% sulfur at 294 C, 20% sulfur at 284 C, and 30% sulfur at 275 C. The increase in explosive power is gained through the addition of 5-10% sulfur. Because the stability of TNT is so great, it is harder to detonate it, the sensitivity increases somewhat above 80 C, but is still rather low even when molten. A powerful blasting cap, or booster charge, will be needed to detonate TNT. This lab is carried out in three separate operations, forming mononitrotoluene, then dinitrotoluene, and finally trinitrotoluene.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ethyl alcohol 100/500/600-mL beaker

nitric acid Buchner funnel

sodium bisulfite graduated cylinder

sulfuric acid pipet/buret

toluene separatory funnel

water stirrer/stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

Prepare a nitrating solution of 160 mL of 95% sulfuric acid and 105 mL of 75% nitric acid in a 500-mL beaker set in a salt-ice bath. Mix the acids very slowly to avoid the generation of too much heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. The acid mixture is slowly added dropwise, with a pipet or buret, to 115 mL of toluene in a 600-mL beaker while stirring rapidly. Maintain the temperature of the beaker during the addition at 30-40 C by using either a cold water or salt-ice bath. The addition should require 60-90 minutes. After the addition, continue stirring for 30 minutes without any cooling, then let the mixture stand for 8-12 hours in a separatory funnel. The lower layer will be spent acid and the upper layer should be mononitrotoluene, drain the lower layer and keep the upper layer.

 

Dissolve one-half of the previously prepared mononitrotoluene and 60 mL of 95% sulfuric acid in a 500-mL beaker set in a cold water bath. Prepare a nitrating solution of 30 mL of 95% sulfuric acid and 36.5 mL of 95% nitric acid in a 100-mL beaker. Preheat the beaker of mononitrotoluene to 50 &Deg;C. Very slowly add the nitrating acid to the beaker of mononitrotoluene, with a pipet or buret, drop by drop while stirring rapidly. Regulate the rate of addition to keep the temperature of the reaction between 90-100 C. The addition will require about 1 hour. After the addition, continue stirring and maintaining the temperature at 90-100 C for 2 hours. If the beaker is allowed to stand, a layer of dinitrotoluene will separate, it is not necessary to separate the dinitrotoluene from the acid in this step.

 

While stirring the beaker of dinitrotoluene, heated to 90 C, slowly add 80 mL of 100% fuming sulfuric acid, containing about 15% SO3, by pouring from a beaker. Prepare a nitrating solution of 40 mL of 100% sulfuric acid, with 15% SO3, and 50 mL of 99% nitric acid. Very slowly add the nitrating acid to the beaker of dinitrotoluene, with a pipet or buret, drop by drop while stirring rapidly. Regulate the rate of addition to keep the temperature of the reaction between 100-115 C. It may become necessary to heat the beaker after three-quarters of the acid has been added in order to sustain the 100-115 C temperature. The addition will require about 90-120 minutes. Maintain the stirring and temperature at 100-115 C for 2 hours after the addition is complete. Allow the beaker to sit undisturbed for 8-12 hours, it should form a solid mass of trinitrotoluene crystals. Pour the contents of the beaker over a Buchner funnel without any filter paper to collect the bulk of the crystals, save the acidic filtrate as well. Break up the collected crystals and wash them with water to remove any excess acid. Add the collected acid and wash filtrates to a large volume of water, this will cause any remaining trinitrotoluene to precipitate. Decant off as much of the water as possible and combine these crystals with the previous ones on the funnel. Drown the crystals in a large volume of water, filter to collect them, and wash several times with water. Wash the crystals by adding them to a beaker of water, heat the water enough to melt the crystals while stirring rapidly. Repeat the melting and stirring with a fresh batch of water three or four times to wash thoroughly. After the last washing, the trinitrotoluene is granulated by allowing it to cool slowly under hot water while the stirring is continued. Filter to collect the crystals and allow to dry. The TNT can be further purified by recrystallizing from ethyl alcohol, dissolve the crystals in 60 C and allow the solution to cool slowly. A second method of purification is to digest the TNT in 5 times its weight of 5% sodium bisulfite solution heated to 90 C while stirring rapidly for 30 minutes. Wash the crystals with hot water until the washings are colorless, then allow the crystals to granulate as before. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.20 Silver Fulminate:

 

Silver fulminate is a very sensitive primary explosive compound. It is most often found in "bang snaps" and other novelty pyrotechnic objects. Only very tiny amounts of silver fulminate should be prepared at once, the weight of the crystals can cause them to self detonate. Silver fulminate was first prepared in 1800 by Edward Howard in his research project to prepare a large variety of fulminates. For 200 years it has been only useful as a curiosity explosive in toys and tricks.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ethyl alcohol 100/500-mL beaker

nitric acid graduated cylinder

silver thermometer

water

 

 

Heat 8 mL of 70% nitric acid in a 100-mL beaker to 35-38 C. Add 1 g of silver metal to the acid. While the silver is dissolving it will produce toxic nitrogen dioxide fumes, use a fume hood or get to a well ventilated area. Some heating may be required to get all of the silver to dissolve. Put 15 mL of 95% ethyl alcohol in a 500-mL beaker set into a salt-ice bath. After the silver has dissolved, slowly add the solution to the alcohol while keeping the temperature below 18 C. More toxic nitrogen dioxide will be released. The reaction should require about 25-30 minutes to complete, after which 200 mL of cold water is added to precipitate the silver fulminate. Decant off as much of the liquid as possible then drown the crystals with water. Filter to collect the crystals and wash them with 30 mL of ethyl alcohol. Flour or starch can be added to the crystals before filtering to add some degree of stability. Store the silver fulminate away from sunlight as it can decompose. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

8.21 ANFO:

     ANFO is an acronym for Ammonium Nitrate - Fuel Oil Solution.  An ANFO solves the only other major problem with ammonium nitrate: its tendency to pick up water vapor from the air.  This results in the explosive failing to detonate when such an attempt is made.  This is rectified by mixing 94% (by weight) ammonium nitrate with 6% fuel oil, kerosene, or diesel.  The kerosene keeps the ammonium nitrate from absorbing moisture from the air.  An ANFO also requires a large shockwave to set it off.

 

*it's pretty difficult to make it go off. if you know alot about electrics and you can get the temperature up to 500C then it's not a problem. 25 KG (50lbs) ammonium nitrate costs around $14. and diesel costs about $1 dollar per litre (2 pounds). so it's VERY cheap. and VERY powerful. as long as you can make it go off.

 

*ANFO have to be stored in dry, indoor stores by temperature from minus 35C  to 35C up to 3 months from the date of manufacturing.

 

 

 

8.22 DNPA:

 

DNPA is the acronym for 4,4-dinitropimelic acid, another name is 4,4-dinitro-1,7-heptanedioic acid. This explosive is fairly stable to heat and shock as well as being storable at room temperature. While it is an explosive itself, it is usually used to manufacture polynitroaliphatic explosives and propellents. It may be more useful to polymerize this compound into the polyester polymer 4,4-dinitropimelyl chloride and 2,2-dinitro-1,3-propanediol.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

charcoal beaker

ethyl ether graduated cylinder

hydrochloric acid pipet/buret

methyl alcohol stirrer/stirring rod

methyl acrylate

potassium dinitroethanol

water

 

 

Preparation is by two steps, the first forms the dimethyl ester of DNPA, and the second hydrolyzes it. In the first step, 1200 mL of methyl acrylate is added dropwise, with a pipet or buret, while stirring with a magnetic stirrer or stirring rod, to an aqueous solution of 2.5 moles of potassium dinitroethanol at room temperature inside a large beaker. The addition is completed in 3 hours with 8 more hours of stirring required to complete the reaction. After completion of the stirring , the ester that should have formed is extracted several times with ethyl ether, decolorized with charcoal, and the ethyl ether is removed under vacuum. The impure ester is then recrystallized from methyl alcohol. The second step hydrolyzes 39 g of the ester by refluxing it with 350 mL of 18% hydrochloric acid for several hours. After cooling, the 4,4-dinitropimelic acid is crystallized by adding water. The total yield based on potassium dinitroethanol is 55-56%. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.23 Nitroguanidine:

 

Nitroguanidine, sometimes written as nitroguanadine, is a stable primary explosive compound. The explosive power and insensitivity of this chemical make it comparable to high explosives like TNT and a good choice for preparation if your safety skills are not fully established. Unfortunately, the preparation of guanidine nitrate, the main precursor for nitroguanidine, can be hampered as its precursors are difficult to obtain. This of course leads to the synthesis of nitroguanidine being hampered as well. With that aside, nitroguanidine is very simple to synthesize, requiring only sulfuric acid to react with. There are two crystalline forms of nitroguanidine, an alpha and a beta. Although there is little difference between the two forms, the alpha is the simpler to synthesize, the beta will quickly convert to the alpha anyway.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

guanidine nitrate 1000-mL beaker

sulfuric acid graduated cylinder

water stirrer/stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

In a 1000-mL beaker add 500 mL of 98% or greater sulfuric acid, then cool the flask in a salt-ice bath to 10C or below. Slowly add 400 g of dry guanidine nitrate to the acid while stirring, keeping the temperature of the mixture below 10 C. The mixture should have a milky appearance, allow it to stand at room temperature, while occasionally stirring, until it is homogeneous and free from crystals. This may require anywhere from 15 to 20 hours. After the wait, pour the mixture into a large beaker of ice and water, this will cause nitroguanidine to precipitate out of solution. After one hour of standing, with cooling in the salt-ice bath, all the crystals should have precipitated. Filter the mixture to collect the crystals, rinse them with water to remove any acid that may be behind, then dissolve them in 4 liters of boiling water. Allow the water to cool for 12 to 24 hours and the crystals should precipitate. Pour the water over a filter to collect the crystals, and then allow them to dry. The nitroguanidine formed can be stored safely and will not decompose. The yield is about 90%. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

8.24 Astrolite:

 

 

Astrolite is not a chemical compound but rather a two component high explosive mixture. Its claim to fame is it has the highest explosive velocity of all chemical explosives, a distant second only to a nuclear blast, a claim that is entirely false. Only that anarchist crap still thinks that Astrolite is super powerful. The truth is, its low density makes it unlikely to achieve a detonation comparable to more common explosives Astrolite G is a mixture of ammonium nitrate and hydrazine, Astrolite A adds aluminum powder to the mix for extra power. Hydrazine is a very toxic, corrosive, and dangerous chemical that you will never be able to get. The fumes can kill you in seconds if breathed in a confined area. I have devoted a section to hydrazine and its safety in the chemical synthesis section.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

aluminum powder beaker

ammonium nitrate graduated cylinder

hydrazine stirring rod

 

 

To make Astrolite G, add 200 g of ammonium nitrate to a large beaker and stir in 100 mL of hydrazine, mix well. For Astrolite A add 40 g of aluminum powder to the Astrolite G mixture. It is best to make the mixture immediately before use because the ammonium nitrate becomes sensitive to detonation once hydrazine is added. Professional blasters make their mixtures in the field at the blast site for greater safety. Each component is measured out in separate containers, transported to the site, mixed, allowed to sit for 20 minutes, and detonated. As separate components they are very safe (well as safe as hydrazine can get) and the mixing is easy. Astrolite can be detonated even when it has been poured out on the ground and left for 4 days. More Astrolite can be prepared by observing a 2:1 ratio of ammonium nitrate to hydrazine by weight and 1:5 of aluminum powder to ammonium nitrate by weight. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids and a stirring rod for mixing.

 

 

 

 

 

8.25 Dinitrochlorobenzene:

 

During the early chemical industry days of World War I there was a lot of spare chlorine floating about and there was a big demand for benzene which made it cheap and available. Put em together and you get chlorobenzene and dichlorobenzene,of which p-dichlorobenzene is a type of mothball still used today. The nitration of chlorobenzene was started around 1862 by A. Riche. Dinitrodichlorobenzene was first manufactured as an explosive called parazol. It was mixed with with TNT in shells but did not detonate completely. Instead, the unexploded portion was atomized in the air and was a vigorous itch-producer and lachrymator (causes tears like mace), it also yielded some phosgene gas which was a dreadful chemical weapon used back then. Dinitrochlorobenzene finds more use as an ingredient in the manufacture of other explosives than as an actual explosive itself, although it has been mixed with picric acid for use in shells. Avoid contact with the solid and vapors of this chemical, it causes severe itching, as well as weakness, low blood count, digestive organ damage, and heart failure. The proper name of this compound is 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene for the most abundant isomer, and 2-chloro-1,3-dinitrobenzene for the other isomer. Other names include 2,4-dinitro-1-chlorobenzene; 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene; 1,3-dinitro-4-chlorobenzene; chlorodinitrobenzene; DNCB; and 4-chloro-1,3-dinitrobenzene.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

chlorobenzene 1000-mL beaker

nitric acid graduated cylinder

sulfuric acid pipet/buret

water stirrer/stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

90 mL of chlorobenzene is added dropwise with a dropper pipet or buret to a previously prepared, and cooled to room temperature, mixture of 110 mL of 99% nitric acid and 185 mL of 99% sulfuric acid, in a 1000-mL beaker, while the mixture is stirred mechanically with a magnetic stirrer. A stirrer is essential for the length of time required, you may try this by hand with a stirring rod at your own risk. The temperature will rise because of the heat of the reaction, but should not be allowed to go above 50-55 C. After all the chlorobenzene has been added, the temperature is slowly raised to 95 C and is kept there for 2 hours longer while the stirring is continued. An upper layer of light yellow liquid solidifies when cold. The layer is removed, broken up under water, and rinsed. The spent acid, on dilution with water, will precipitate an additional quantity of dinitrochlorobenzene. All the product is brought together, washed with cold water, then several times with hot water while it is melted, and once more with cold water under which it is crushed. Finally, it is drained and allowed to dry at room temperature. The product, melting at about 50 C, consists largely of 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene, along with a small quantity of the 2,6-dinitro compound, m.p. 87-88 C. The two substances are equally suitable for manufacture of other explosives or alone as an explosive. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

8.26 HMTD:

 

 

HMTD, or hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine, is a somewhat unstable primary explosive compound. Its extreme sensitivity to heat, shock, and friction make HMTD a poor choice for the lesser skilled home chemist. This lab uses hydrogen peroxide at 30% concentration, it is possible to use the more common 3% concentration by adding ten times as much. The hexamethylenetetramine used here, also called hexamine, methenamine, or urintropine, can be purchased as "heating tablets." As to what heating tablets are... They are used in camping and in the military for heating meals, or hand warmers. It is very unlikely that you will find this anymore, so synthesize your own as described in the chemical synthesis section. HMTD has been used as a detonator, it is safer and more powerful than mercury fulminate or acetone peroxide. It is stable when compared to other primary explosives, and it is one of the safest explosive peroxides. HMTD should be kept cool and dry as it may evaporate or decompose, it should also be kept away from metals as it will corrode them. HMTD will detonate if struck, but will only burn if heated.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

citric acid 200-mL beaker

methenamine graduated cylinder

hydrogen peroxide stirrer/stirring rod

methyl/ethyl alcohol thermometer

water

 

 

Dissolve 14 g of methenamine in 50 mL of 30% hydrogen peroxide in a 200-mL beaker while stirring vigorously with a magnetic stirrer or with a stirring rod. You must also cool this solution by placing the beaker in a salt-ice bath. While stirring, slowly add 21 g of powdered citric acid in small portions to the beaker making sure the temperature stays at or below 0 C at all times. After adding the citric acid, keep stirring for 3 hours and continue to hold the temperature at 0 C. Next, remove the beaker from the cooling bath and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours, discontinue stirring as well. Finally, pour the solution over a filter to collect the crystals of HMTD, wash them thoroughly with water, and rinse with methyl or ethyl alcohol so they can dry faster at room temperature. Dry by setting in a cool place. HMTD does not store well, so deal with it immediately. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

8.27 HNIW:

 

 

HNIW is an acronym for hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane, other names include CL-20; octahydro-1,3,4,7,8,10-hexanitro-5,2,6-(iminomethenimino)-1H-imidazo[4,5-b]pyrazine; 2,4,6,8,10,12-hexanitro-2,4,6,8,10,12-hexaazatetracyclo[5.5.0.05,9.03,11]dodecane; and 2,4,6,8,10,12-hexanitro-2,4,6,8,10,12-hexaazaisowurtzitane.

HNIW is a new kid on the block, it was first prepared by A.T. Nielsen in 1987, and has since been proposed as a propellent for bullets and as a blasting explosive. There are actually 6 crystalline isomers of HNIW, this lab will prepare the beta form, although some of the alpha form will probably be made. The other isomers are made by heating the crystals to its decomposition point, the alpha and beta forms are the most stable. This explosive will most likely be the standard workhorse of the 21st century, it is currently still in testing for useful applications. HNIW is a symmetric polyazacyclic nitramine, itself a type of caged polynitramine, a promising new series of compounds. HNIW is similar to RDX and HMX in structure and explosive properties. This is a two part lab, the first synthesizing a derivative called tetraacetyldibenzylhexaazaisowurtzitane (TADB), then from that, HNIW.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic anhydride 500-mL Florence flask

bromobenzene graduated cylinder

chloroform stirrer/stirring rod

N,N-dimethylformamide thermometer

ethyl acetate

ethyl alcohol

HBIW

hydrogen

nitrogen

nitrosyl tetrafluoroborate

Pearlman's catalyst

sulfolane

water

 

 

Prepare a solution of 129 mL of N,N-dimethylformamide and 65 mL of acetic anhydride in a round-bottomed 500-mL Florence flask. Add to the flask, with stirring, 43.2 g of HBIW, 0.8 mL of bromobenzene, and 4.7 g of Pearlman's catalyst. Purge the flask by bubbling hydrogen gas in the liquid ,this will displace the air. Continue to bubble hydrogen gas into the flask and stir. If possible, maintain a pressure of 50 psi. Over a short period of time, the temperature may rise to about 50 C, at this temperature begin cooling the flask with a cold water or salt-ice bath to keep it under 50 C. The total reaction time needed is 24 hours. Since it is undesirable to bubble hydrogen gas through the flask for this length of time, as much would be wasted, a pressure is maintained. During the reaction, stop cooling if the temperature drops below 35 C, always keep it between 35-50 C. Stir the contents of the flask for the entire 24 hours. Purge the flask by bubbling nitrogen gas into it to displace any remaining hydrogen. Filter the contents of the flask to collect the solid material and the catalyst. Wash with 130 mL of denatured ethyl alcohol, this should leave behind a gray solid of Pearlman's catalyst and TADB. The TADB can be separated from the catalyst by dissolving the solid in boiling chloroform, and filtering to remove the remaining solid catalyst. Boil the chloroform down to recrystallize the TADB. The yield is about 85%.

 

Prepare a solution of 15.5 g of the above prepared TADB, 1.1 mL of water, and 300 mL of sulfolane in a round bottomed 500-mL Florence flask on a salt-ice bath. Add 10.5 g of nitrosyl tetrafluoroborate to the flask over a period of 30 minutes, keeping the temperature below 25 C. After the addition, stir the mixture for 1 hour at 25 C, then for 1 hour at 55-60 C. Allow the solution, which should be a yellow-orange color, to cool to 25 C. After cooling, rapidly add 47.8 g of nitrosyl tetrafluoroborate, keeping the temperature below 25 C. Stir the mixture at 25 C for 2 hours, then at 55-60 C for 2 hours. Cool the mixture to below 10 C with a salt-ice bath, then dump the contents, solid precipitate and all, into a large bucket. Slowly add 4.5 L of water to the mixture in the bucket, keeping the temperature below 25 C, the color of the solution should change from green to yellow, some brown fumes may be evolved. Maintain the temperature at 25 C with continuous stirring for 18 hours, a white precipitate should form. Filter to collect this crude HNIW, and wash several times with water to yield about 12 g of hydrated product. To purify the HNIW, dissolve it in 40 mL of ethyl acetate, chromatographically filter the solution through a short column of silica get, and wash with ethyl acetate. Pour the filtered solution into 500 mL of chloroform to precipitate the HNIW in its anhydrous beta form. The chromatographic filtration can be skipped. If pale yellow crystals are obtained as the crude product, it is the wrong stuff. Heat these crystals in 15 mL of water per 1 g of product at 95 C with stirring for 10 minutes, then cool to 0 C. After standing for 6 hours, filter and wash the crude product as above, it should be HNIW now. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

8.28 HNO:

 

HNO stands for 2,4,6,2',4',6'-hexanitro-oxanilide. This material uses the explosive TNO as its precursor. HNO was first prepared by A.G. Perkins in 1892 when he did nitrations of TNO and from oxanilide. HNO is a stable compound that resists mechanical shock, friction, and heat. Compared to TNO this compound is fairly similar, it has, perhaps, slightly greater stability and explosive power. HNO is used as a component in ignitors and pyrotechnics.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetone beaker

ethyl alcohol Buchner funnel

nitric acid 1000-mL Florence flask

sulfuric acid graduated cylinder

tetranitro-oxanilide litmus paper

water stirrer/stirring rod

thermometer

 

 

Prepare an acid mixture by pouring 125 mL of 90% nitric acid into a round bottomed 1000-mL Florence flask. Slowly add 55 mL of concentrated sulfuric acid. Set the flask into a salt-ice bath and cool it to 10 C. You will need a magnetic stirrer if using a flask, otherwise stir by hand with a stirring rod in a beaker with extreme caution. Slowly add 29.2 of tetranitro-oxanilide (TNO) to the mixed acid with rapid agitation while keeping the temperature between 8-10 C, this should require about 25 minutes. After adding the TNO, transfer the flask to a water bath and heat it to 85 C over a 2 hour period, then hold the temperature between 85-90 for 1 hour more. The HNO slurry is filtered on a Buchner funnel and washed with water until it is almost acid free. The filter cake is placed in a beaker and sufficient water added to form a slurry. Steam is run into the slurry under agitation for 10 minutes. The slurry is filtered and the residue washed. The latter treatment of the slurry is repeated until the wash water is found to be neutral to litmus paper. The HNO is washed with ethyl alcohol, then acetone, dried in the air, and finally dried at 100-110 C. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

8.29 IPN:

 

IPN is an acronym for isopropyl nitrate, its proper scientific name is 2-propyl nitrate. IPN is a white liquid with an ether like smell. IPN is a volatile liquid with anesthetic properties at lower concentrations as well as causing headaches if inhaled or spilled on the skin. Ingesting or constant inhalation of quantities exceeding 4% for two or more hours is lethal. Quantities as low as 0.2% show no ill effects. This substance has found uses as rocket propellents and jet starter fuel when it is not being used as a propellent or explosive. The liquid is stable for the most part although it is flammable.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

isopropyl alcohol Florence flask

nitric acid

urea

 

 

To prepare IPN, isopropyl alcohol is nitrated continuously by adding a mixture of 61% nitric acid with 95% isopropyl alcohol, saturated with urea, into a Florence flask set up for distillation containing boiling 50% nitric acid. The IPN and water formed are continuously distilled off at about 98 C from the reaction mixture. The volume of the reaction mixture is held constant by drainage of nitric acid and unstable by-products from it as the reactants are added. Unless you have a special flask with a stopcock on the bottom, you will have to periodically disconnect the flask from the condenser and dump out some of the used nitric acid. You will also have to momentarily disconnect the flask to add more acid/alcohol mix if you do not have an addition funnel. Be very careful doing this as you will subject yourself to a blast of acid fumes. A curtain of air, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide is blown through the reaction mixture to improve mixing and to facilitate the elimination of the volatile products. However, a flow of inert gas in excess of 50 L/hr decreases the IPN yield. The optimum ratio of nitric acid to isopropyl alcohol is about 2:1. The IPN yield is 78%.

 

 

 

 

 

8.30 MEDINA:

 

MEDINA stands for methylene dinitramine, and is also called methylenedinitramine and N,N-dinitromethanediamine. This compound was first prepared around 1949 at the University of Bristol by the hydrolysis of hexamine. This compound is not cruelty free (heh heh), it has been sprayed into rabbit eyes and injected under guinea pigs skins. The compound has been found to be non-toxic. This lab does not exactly fit in well with normal laboratory procedures as this information is the industrial laboratory method. Since this is the industrial method and it is still made in the lab I conclude this substance is either not used much or is to dangerous, I am leaning towards not used much. This is surprising as this explosive is quite powerful for such a small and simple molecule. Its real fault lies in the fact that it does not keep well, so use it soon after preparing.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic anhydride 50 & 250-mL beaker

acetone buret

charcoal 2-L Florence flask

ethyl acetate graduated cylinder

ethyl alcohol stirrer/stirring rod

ethyl chloride thermometer

formamide

formic acid

isopropyl alcohol

methenamine

nitric acid

2-nitropropane

paraffin

sodium hydroxide

sodium sulfate

water

xylene

 

 

This is a three step process for the manufacture of MEDINA: In a round bottom 2-L Florence flask, mix 476 mL of formamide and 70 g of methenamine. The flask is set up for refluxing, and heated at 140 C for 5 hours. It is then chilled in ice, the solid is filtered, and washed on a filter with 90 g of formamide. The crude product of methylenediformamide may be used in the next step or purified by dissolving in ethyl alcohol, decolorizing with charcoal, and chilling.

 

19 mL of 100% nitric acid is added dropwise with a buret while stirring to a suspension of 5 g of crude methylenediformamide in 19 mL of acetic anhydride cooled to 10-15 C in a 50-mL beaker. The solution is then held at 0 C for 2 hours, and poured with stirring into a 250-mL beaker filled with 150 mL of ice water. The precipitate is filtered, washed twice by mixing with ice water, pressed dry on the filter, and dissolved in 30 mL of ethyl acetate. The solution is seperated from water, dried over anhydrous sodium sulfate, concentrated in vacuum, 10 mL of isopropyl alcohol is added, and the product is collected. The product is methylene di(nitroformamide), which can be purified by recrystallization from either acetone, isopropyl alcohol, or from boiling ethyl chloride.

 

The crude methylene di(nitroformamide) is pressed dry on the filter, stirred into 105 mL of formic acid, and the paste is allowed to stand overnight. The next day the solution is filtered through an acid filter, the formic acid and water is removed by distilling with xylene, and the crude MEDINA, which seperates as a sand, is filtered and dried over paraffin and sodium hydroxide in vacuum. The crude MEDINA is recrystallized from 2-nitropropane or a 9:1 solution of ethyl chloride/isopropyl alcohol. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.31 MMAN:

 

MMAN is an acronym for monomethylamine nitrate, it is also called methylamine nitrate. It is a powerful and stable primary explosive compound. Its stability makes it a better choice for a primary explosive and as a test of the independent chemist's skill. When used as a blasting cap it will probably require some other more sensitive material to help it along, but when it explodes it will detonate even insensitive explosives. The only problem with it is that it is a hygroscopic compound, so keep it very tightly sealed in storage. Another snag is the methylamine solution used, it is not a supermarket item now that drug dealers have made it a DEA watched chemical, it is easy to make though. A note on nitric acid: You can use any concentration of acid from 20% and up, it is the volume of acid that is required. I have given the volume for pure acid, adjust as needed for lesser solutions.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

methylamine 1000-mL beaker

nitric acid desiccator

graduated cylinder

stirrer/stirring rod

 

 

Place 250 mL of 33% methylamine solution in a 1000-mL beaker. Slowly add, with stirring, 385 mL of 100% nitric acid. It will be helpful to divide the acid into four equal portions of 96 mL each and use a salt-ice bath. The acid addition will generate substantial heat and may boil, wait until the solution cools a little before adding the next portion. It is not necessary to add concentrated nitric acid, a concentration as low as 20% will suffice. You must still add the equivalent of 385 mL of pure acid. Remember there is 1 mL of pure acid per 1% of solution in 100 mL. A 20% solution would require 1925 mL. After adding the acid, test the solution with pH paper, or litmus paper. The result must be near pH 7 if using the pH paper and be neutral if using litmus paper. If the solution is acidic add methylamine until pH 7 is reached. If the solution is basic add nitric acid until pH 7 is reached. Evaporate the liquid to precipitate the crystals of MMAN by heating until a slurry is reached, then use vacuum drying to remove the rest of the water. Because the MMAN is hygroscopic, it will be impossible to drive off all the water unless heated under vacuum or placed in a desiccator. Extreme care must be taken when heating an explosive IT CAN EXPLODE. MMAN is safe enough that it only burns when strongly heated. Use either a hotplate, steam bath, or oil bath to heat the explosive. If you have access to vacuum equipment use the vacuum drying method. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, and a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing.

 

 

 

 

 

8.32 NPN:

 

NPN is an acronym for n-propyl nitrate, it also has the names propyl nitrate; monopropyl nitrate; 1-propyl nitrate; and propyl ester of nitric acid. This substance is a watery white liquid that is extremely toxic if inhaled. It is very stable, it can be knocked around for a good bit before detonating, but increasing the temperature will increase the sensitivity. This substance can be detonated while vaporized making it a good fuel-air explosive, The maximum detonation velocity that can be achieved is 1,900 m/s at 21% concentration in air. Anything more or less will have a lower velocity and is thus less powerful. NPN has found many uses in industry, the list includes: rocket propellent, jet motor starting fuel, turbine motor fuel, a degreasing solvent for iron and aluminum, and a diesel fuel additive just to name a few.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

ethyl acetate stirrer/stirring rod

isopropyl alcohol thermometer

nitric acid

n-propyl alcohol

sodium carbonate

sulfuric acid

 

 

NPN can be prepared by reacting n-propyl alcohol with 70% nitric acid dissolved in ethyl acetate. During the reaction the temperature must be kept at 20 C, the product can then be extracted by distillation.

 

NPN can also be prepared by reacting a continuous stream of propyl alcohol below the surface of a stirred mixed acid composed of 20% nitric acid, 68% sulfuric acid, and 12% by weight of water in an open stainless steel vessel cooled to 0-5 C. Additional mixed acid is also simultaneously introduced at about a third of the depth of the liquid. An overflow pipe maintains a constant reactant level and the effluent product is separated, washed with aqueous 10% sodium carbonate solution, and dried by passage through a Filtrol packed tower with 50% isopropyl alcohol as the solvent at 0 C. Yield is about 66.5%. Sorry, I have no volumes to give you. You will need a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.33 PVN:

 

PVN stands for polyvinyl nitrate, which means that this explosive is a continually linked chain of vinyl nitrate over and over again. The material appears to be a white powder if the polymer has fewer links in the molecule and as tough white strands if there are many links in the molecule. PVN was first prepared in Germany in 1929 by G. Frank and H. Kruger by nitrating polyvinyl alcohol. This laboratory procedure comes from, I believe, two French scientists named Chdin and Tribot who experimented on method of PVN preparation after WWII. The densities of PVN can vary depending on the density of the starting polyvinyl alcohol and range from a low 0.3 g/mL to 1.5 g/mL and corresponding detonation velocities of 2030 m/s to 6560 m/s. Obviously it is better to have a higher density product. This product has found a niche in military applications mainly in propellents, but not so much in industrial applications.

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic anhydride 250-mL beaker

ethyl alcohol graduated cylinder

nitric acid stirrer/stirring rod

polyvinyl alcohol thermometer

sodium bicarbonate vacuum desiccator

water

 

 

Over a period of 1 hour, very slowly add 5 g of finely pulverized polyvinyl alcohol (containing 10% moisture) to 100 mL of 99-100 nitric acid in a 250-mL beaker. The beaker should be in a salt-ice bath to provide cooling during the addition. Maintain constant stirring and a temperature of -8 C throughout the addition, and for an additional 2 hours after the addition. The resulting slurry is slowly drowned in an equal volume of ice water while vigorously stirring. Filter this to collect the white powder that should have formed, wash the powder with water until neutral to litmus, then put it in clean water for 12 hours. Repeat the washing and standing process using 95% ethyl alcohol, and again repeat the process with 12% sodium bicarbonate solution. Finally, the powder is washed with water until neutral to litmus, dried in the open air, then in a vacuum desiccator. The yield is about 96%. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

It may be possible to increase the nitration yield by adding the polyvinyl alcohol to acetic anhydride first and using more nitric acid, the procedure is followed as above.

 

Here are the formulas for WC846 and M9 propellants:

82% PVN 57.75% PVN

10.2% nitroglycerin 40.0% nitroglycerin

0.7% dinitrotoluene 1.50% potassium nitrate

6.1% dibutylphthalate 0.75% ethyl centralite

1.0% diphenylamine 0.50% ethyl alcohol

 

And, yes, M9 does add up to 100.5%, the alcohol is supposed to be just trace amounts, but is listed as 0.5% for some reason.

 

 

 

 

 

8.34 TeNN:

 

TeNN is an acronym for tetranitronaphthalene. There are actually several isomers of TeNN, we are primarily concerned with 1,3,6,8-tetranitronaphthalene as it forms in abundance over the 1,2,4,6-; 1,2,5,8-; 1,2,6,8-; 1,3,5,7-; 1,3,5,8-; and 1,4,5,8-tetranitronaphthalenes. A mixture of isomers is bound to occur, though. TeNN is a very powerful and quite stable high explosive compound. It is actually slightly more powerful that TNT and just as stable. This explosive is superb because of its primary ingredient naphthalene. Naphthalene is the chemical name for moth balls, it is cheap, easy to get, not to hazardous, and sold in a store near you. I keep waiting for the government to ban it, or some environMeNtaList whacko to launch a save the moths campaign to ban it. The only drawback to TeNN is the possibility of side reactions reducing the yield during synthesis. Rapid heating of TeNN will cause it to explode, but slow heating will only cause decomposition. This lab uses concentrated sulfuric and nitric acids which are not so common, but still obtainable. Making TeNN is a multi step synthesis, first making mononitro then 1,8-dinitronaphthalene.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetone 1000-mL beaker

ethyl alcohol 2000-mL beaker

naphthalene graduated cylinder

nitric acid stirrer/stirring rod

potassium nitrate thermometer

sulfuric acid

water

 

 

Prepare a mixture of 64 g of powdered naphthalene with 105 mL of water in a 1000-mL beaker. Slowly add 160 mL of 95% sulfuric acid to the beaker then add 81 mL of 70% nitric acid. Stir this mixture occasionally and allow it to cool to room temperature. During a 3 hour period, slowly add with stirring 150 g of powdered naphthalene to the acid mixture. The temperature will rise, regulate the addition of the naphthalene to get the temperature at 50 C by the end of the addition time. After all of the naphthalene has been added, continue stirring and heat the beaker to 55 C for several minutes then stop stirring and allow the mix to cool. Some mononitronaphthalene should crystallize on the surface of the beaker.

 

Prepare a second nitrating mixture by putting 300 mL of 53% sulfuric acid in a 1000-mL beaker. Cool the acid to 25 C by placing in a salt-ice bath. Add 152 g of potassium nitrate to the acid while stirring rapidly. Remove the mononitronaphthalene from the previous reaction and crush it up, add it in small bits while stirring to the mixture, maintain the temperature between 38 C and 45 C. The addition should require about 1 hour, do not allow the temperature to go over 45 C at any time during the addition. After the addition, continue stirring and heat the beaker to 55 C until the formation of dinitronaphthalene crystals begin. Filter the contents of the beaker on an acid filter to collect the crystals of dinitronaphthalene that should have formed. Wash the crystals with six portions of cold water and allow them to dry. Dissolve the dry crystals in boiling acetone. Filter this solution while hot to remove any undissolved impurities, collect the filtrate and allow it to cool by placing in a salt-ice bath. Filter to collect the pure crystals of dinitronaphthalene. Collect the acetone filtrate from this filtering, boil it to reduce the volume by half, and cool in a salt-ice bath. Again filter to collect a second crop of dinitronaphthalene, add these crystals to the previous and allow them to dry.

 

Prepare the final nitrating acid mixture by slowly adding 750 mL of 100% sulfuric acid to 750 mL of 100% fuming nitric acid in a 2000-mL beaker. Cool the acid mix to below 20 C with a salt-ice bath. Once below this temperature, slowly add with stirring the dry dinitronaphthalene from the previous reaction while maintaining the temperature at 20 C during the addition. After the addition, slowly heat the mixture to 80 C over a 1 hour period (1 degree higher every minute) then hold the temperature at 80-90 C for 3 hours more. Allow the mixture to cool then filter on an acid filter to collect the crystals of TeNN that should have formed. Collect the filtrate and drown it in ice water to precipitate additional crystals of TeNN. Filter to collect these crystals and combine them with the other crystals. Wash the crystals with several portions of water then add them to 95% ethyl alcohol. Allow the crystals to dissolve, then cool in a salt-ice bath to recrystallize the now pure TeNN. The pure crystals can be filtered to collect them and dried by heating on a steam bath.

 

You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature for these procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

8.35 TNPEN:

 

TNPEN is an acronym for -(2,4,6-trinitrophenoxy) ethanol nitrate, also called 2,4,6-trinitrophenoxyethyl nitrate; or glycoltrinitrophenylether nitrate. TNPEN was first prepared by H.A. Lewis back in 1925, others have since revised the method, with this particular preparation developed by R.C. Elderfield in 1943. TNPEN will ignite when heated in the open and will detonate if struck as if by a hammer, so its stability is not that low, compared to TNT it is as stable and has 122% the explosive power. There is some conflicting data that indicates the stability may be lower. The recommended uses of this explosive are in detonators or boosters, and as an ingredient in propellents. The detonation velocity ranges from 5500 m/s to 6600 m/s depending on the density which can range from 1.15 g/mL to 1.6 g/mL

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetone beaker

-(2,4-dinitrophenoxy) ethanol 250-mL Florence flask

ethyl alcohol graduated cylinder

nitric acid glass filter paper

sulfuric acid stirrer/stirring rod

water thermometer

 

 

Prepare a solution of 10 g of -(2,4-dinitrophenoxy) ethanol in 55 mL of 94% sulfuric acid in a small beaker. Prepare a second solution of 21.5 mL of sulfuric acid, 13.2 mL of nitric acid, and 15.7 mL of water in a round bottomed 250-mL Florence flask, chill this solution to between 0-10 C with a salt-ice bath. It does not matter what concentration of acids are mixed so long as the total water content comes out to 15.7 mL. While stirring, slowly add the -(2,4-dinitrophenoxy) ethanol solution to the cold acid mix. When the addition is complete, the temperature is raised in 30 minute intervals to 20 C, 30 C, 40 C, 60 C, and in a 15 minute interval to 70 C. After chilling, the cream-colored crystals are filtered using glass filter paper, washed free of acid, and recrystallized by dissolving in acetone and adding ethyl alcohol. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.36 TNPht:

 

TNPht is also known as ethyl picrate; aethyl-[2,4,6-trinitrophenyl]-ather; pikrinsaureaethylather, or aethylpikrat in German; keineyaku, or keyneyaku in Japanese. The proper scientific name for this substance is 2,4,6-trinitrophenetole. This explosive is almost as powerful as TNT but its sensitivity is not all that great. This explosive would be classified as a booster, it needs a detonator to set it off and then it would set off a high explosive. This material was tested in France during WWI in shells as a bursting charge. The Japanese used it during WWII as a substitute for TNT because they had a shortage of toluene. This lab was developed by L. Desvergnes around 1922.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

2,4-dinitrophenetole 500-mL beaker

nitric acid graduated cylinder

sulfuric acid stirrer/stirring rod

water thermometer

 

 

Dissolve 53 g of 2,4-dinitrophenetole in 95 mL of 95-98% sulfuric acid in a 500-mL beaker while stirring. Add 62% nitric acid so that the temperature rises rapidly to 30 C. Continue the addition, while maintaining the temperature between 30-40 C by cooling with a salt-ice bath, until a total of 30 mL of nitric acid has been added. Pour the resulting yellow slurry into about 1500 mL of cold water, filter to collect the crystals, wash the crystals with cold water, and dry. There should be about 61.8 g of product, or 96% of the theoretical yield. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids, a stirring rod or magnetic stirrer for mixing, and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

 

 

 

 

8.37 Tetranitromethane:

 

Tetranitromethane, also called TeNMe, is a colorless to pale yellow liquid that was first prepared by the action of nitric acid on trinitromethane back in 1861. The Germans used it back in WWII for an intermediate in making other explosives and as a substitute for nitric acid in the V-2 rocket. A pilot plant in New Jersey used to make tetranitromethane blew up in 1953. This compound is rather toxic, irritating the skin, mucous membranes and the respiratory tract. Prolonged exposure to vapors causes damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs. A concentration of 0.1 ppm in the air is fatal. Mixtures of tetranitromethane with organic liquids tend to form more powerful explosives, but the sensitivity is worse. A list of mixtures has been provided. Tetranitromethane has been proposed as a chemical warfare agent.

 

 

CHEMICALS APPARATUS

acetic anhydride addition funnel

nitric acid beaker

sodium hydroxide Clasien adapter

sodium sulfate desiccator

water 250-ml Florence flask

graduated cylinder

thermometer

 

 

This reaction will produce toxic fumes, so take the necessary precautions. Measure out 21 mL of 100% nitric acid into a round-bottomed 250-ml Florence flask. It is important to only use anhydrous acid and no more than the amount proscribed, any deviation will drastically lower the yield of this reaction. Place a Clasien adapter on the flask and attach a thermometer on the straight arm, almost touching the bottom of the flask, and an addition funnel on the side arm. In this instance do not use a thermometer adapter to connect the thermometer, there must be a gap to allow reaction gasses to escape.

Cool the contents of the flask to 10 C in an ice water bath. Slowly add 47.2 mL of acetic anhydride in portions of 0.5 mL at a time from the buret. Do not let the temperature of the mixture rise above 10 C during the addition, failure to maintain the temp may result in a dangerous runaway reaction. After the first 5 mL of acid has been added the reaction should have calmed down enough where you can begin to add larger portions of 1 to 5 mL at a time with constant shaking.

After all the acetic anhydride has been added, everything is removed from the flask. The neck of the flask is wiped clean with a towel, the flask is then covered with an inverted beaker, and it is now allowed to come up to room temperature in the ice bath. It is important to keep the flask in the ice bath because the reaction can still become dangerous if it is allowed to warm up too rapidly. The flask should be left alone for 1 week (yes, 7 days) at room temperature.

After sitting for a week the contents are mixed with 300 mL of water in a 500-mL Florence flask. The tetranitromethane is removed by steam distillation, the tetranitromethane passes over with the first 20 mL of the distillate. The lower layer of the distillate is separated, washed with dilute sodium hydroxide, and then water, and finally dried over anhydrous sodium sulfate in a desiccator. Yield is 1416 g, or about 57-65%. Do not distill tetranitromethane by ordinary distillation means, it may explode. The residues of distillation are especially dangerous. Use only steam distillation, and even then be careful. You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids.

 

Explosive mixtures with organic compounds

Tetranitromethane can be mixed with several compounds including benzene, ethylene glycol, gasoline, naphthalene, and toluene, but the resulting explosive may be rather sensitive to detonation. Here are some mixing ratios:

 

 

-87:13 mixture of benzene and TeNMe

 

-1:1 mixture of ethylene glycol and TeNMe

 

-varying amounts of gasoline or diesel mixed with TeNMe are powerful but very sensitive, I suspect that the more TeNMe there is the more sensitive it will be

 

-1 mole naphthalene to 2 moles TeNMe

 

-4 moles of nitromethane to 1 mole TeNMe

 

-mixing 10-40% paraffins and 60-90% TeNMe will make powerful explosives that are resistant to mechanical shock but detonate by explosive shock

 

-mixing with toluene creates a very powerful explosive (>8000 m/s) that is more unstable than nitroglycerine

 

 

 

 

8.38 CH-6

 

CH-6 is a mixture of 97.5% RDX, 1.5% calcium stearate, 0.5% polyisobutylene, and 0.5% graphite. It is a finely divided gray powder that is less toxic and more available than tetryl.

 

 

 

 

8.39 Composition A-5

 

Composition A-5 is a mixture of 98.5% RDX and 1.5% stearic acid.

 

 

 

 

8.40 COMPOSITION A-3.-

 

Composition A-3 is a wax-coated, granular explosive, consisting of 91% RDX and 9% desensitizing wax.

 

 

 

 

8.41 COMPOSITION B.-

 

Composition B is a mixture of 59% RDX, 40% TNT, and 1% wax. The TNT reduces the sensitivity of the RDX to a safe degree and, because of its melting point, allows the material to be cast-loaded.

 

 

 

8.42 PBXN-5

 

PBXN-5 is referred to as a plastic-bonded explosive because it is an explosive coated with plastic material. The composition is made of 95% HMX and 5% fluoroelastomers.

 

 

 

 

8.43 Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide(MEKP):



PREPARATION AND PROPERTIES OF METHYL ETHYL KETONE PEROXIDE

The three most common forms of methyl ethyl ketone peroxide are:

MONOMERIC: C4H10(O)4

DIMERIC: C8H18(O)6

ANHYDROUS DIMERIC: C8H16(O)4

The anhydrous dimeric form is the preferable form to create; it is more powerful and less sensitive to shock. Bot hforms are very sensitive to heat. Anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide takes many times as sharp of a blow from a hammer to initiate detonation than with trimeric acetone peroxide. This is due to several factors:

(1) It is an oily liquid, not a solid, A solid will not shift shape to fit its container, as will a liquid. Thus, when trimeric acetone peroxide is struck with a hammer, the crystals shatter, causing decomposition; when anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide is struck with a hammer, it will shift shape significantly, often avoiding decomposition.
(2) The C-O-O-C group is better shielded in anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide than in trimeric acetone peroxide. Thus, random energy surges will be less likely to affect the C-O-O-C group enough to break all of the bonds in the group, which would result in exothermic decomposition, likely starting a chain reaction; this would be perceived as detonation.
(3) There is less stress on the peroxide groups in anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide than in trimeric acetone peroxide (bond stress is mostly responsible for monomeric acetone peroxide's incredible instability, and anhydrous dimeric acetone peroxide's relative instability when compared to trimeric acetone peroxide).
(4) The decomposition to an exothermic stage of decomposition of a single molecule of anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide requires more energy than with a single molecule of trimeric acetone peroxide.
(5) Less energy is liberated from the decomposition of a single anhydrous methyl ethyl ketone peroxide molecule, causing it to be less likely that detonation will occur from the decomposition of just a handful of anhydrous methyl ethyl ketone peroxide molecules.

Perhaps the most valuable property of methyl ethyl ketone peroxide is the fact that it can be stored for a long period of time. Chemical decomposition does not proceed beyond the monomeric form, with the obvious exception of deflagration and detonation. Autonomous chemical decomposition is very slow when not in the presence of hydrogen peroxide (which causes the anhydrous dimeric form to begin to decompose slowly into the monomeric form). Because of this, it is wise to prepare anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide in an excess of methyl ethyl ketone (this fact has been factored into the below instruction on preparation of methyl ethyl ketone peroxide). Anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide is a thick, oily liquid. The anhydrous dimeric form, when pure, possesses a sharp, sour, acidic "burning" odor. The procedure for preparation that will soon be discussed will produce mostly the anhydrous dimeric form.


PREPARATION OF ANHYDROUS DIMERIC METHYL ETHYL KETONE PEROXIDE:


CHEMICALS NEEDED:


-40mL 27.5% H2O2 solution (other concentrations may be used; the volume of hydrogen peroxide solution will need to be adjusted accordingly; the quantity of sulfuric acid used will also need to be adjusted)
-25mL Methyl Ethyl Ketone CH3COCH2CH3 (sold as a solvent at hardware stores; keep in mind that it will dissolve most plastics)
-5mL 98% sulfuric acid (other concentrations may be used, the volume of sulfuric acid will need to be adjusted accordingly)
-200mL NaHCO3 solution

 

 

procedure:

 


1) Place 25mL of methyl ethyl ketone in a 100mL beaker. Place this beaker in an ice bath at temperatures ranging preferrably from -10 to 5 degrees Celcius; the lower end of the described recommended temperature range is preferrable.

2) Place 40mL of 27.5% H2O2 solution in a 100mL beaker. Place this beaker in an ice bath at temperatures ranging preferrably from -10 to 5 degrees Celcius; the lower end of the described recommended temperature range is preferrable.

3) Wait fro the temperature of both the methyl ethyl ketone and the temperature of the 27.5% H2O2 solution to fall into the recommended temperature range. Then, pour the beaker of methyl ethyl ketone into the beaker of hydrogen peroxide solution. Stir this solution for thirty seconds.

4) Add 5mL of 98% sulfuric acid slowly, drop by drop, taking care to keep temperatures within the recommended temperature range, into the beaker containing the monomeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. If the temperature rises above 5 degrees Celcius, stop adding the sulfuric acid immediately.

5) After all of the sulfuric acid is added, wait 24 hours. It is highly recommended to attempt to keep the temperatures within the recommended temperature range during the entirety of every step of the prepataion (this is a very common mistake made when attempting to make trimeric acetone peroxide; most will not bother to keep the temperatures around zero degrees Celcius while waiting 24 hours or so for the reaction to complete; the result of that is far less stable acetone peroxide due to lower yields of the trimeric form and higher yields of the dimeric form).

6) The beaker should now have two layers; a thick oily layer on the top, and a translucent white, relatively thin liquid on the bottom. The thick oily layer on top is the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. All traces of acid must now be removed. Pour this beaker into a 300mL beaker. Then slowly add 200mL of NaHCO3 solution. Stir vigorously for five minutes; try to keep the size of the pockets of the oily liquid (the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide) as small as possible when stirring.

7) Most of the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide will now begin to sink to the bottom of the beaker. Extract it with a syringe. Some will also remain on the surface; extract this also with a syringe (it is possible to isolate the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide by decantation, but this process can be very time consuming, frusturating, and will not be able to harvest nearly as much of the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide as the syringe extraction method).

If you wish to further deacidify the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, place it in an airtight aluminum container, in an ice bath (extremely important!). Leave the methyl ethyl ketone peroxide in the airtight aluminum container until bubbles no longer form. A safer alternative to this process is to add noon-crumpled pieces of aluminum foil to the anhdrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (also in an ice bath); however this will often make it difficult to recollect all of the anhdrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, due to it sticking to the pieces of aluminum foil; it can be very difficult to remove from that surface.

9) Now pour the deacidified anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide into an open glass, or plastic (not made of a polyhydrocarbon plastic!). Let it stay in the open at temperatures around 15 degrees Celcius to allow most of the water to evaporate off.

10) Now that the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide is dehydrated, it is ready for use.

STORAGE: Pour the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide into a sealed plastic container (not made of a polyhydrocarbon plastic!) for storage. The reason for sealing it is to prevent loss of anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide due to evaporation. The lower the temperatures are during storage, the better, with the exception of temperatures so low that it freezes the anhydrous dimeric methyl ethyl ketone peroxide.

Density of MEKP = 1.0g/cm3
Freezing point = approximately -5 to -10 degrees Celcius
Dimeric 2-peroxybutane explodes upon contact with concentrated sulfuric acid.

It seems that dimeric 2-peroxybutane (MEKP) is more stable than previously thought. It does not explode unless severely shocked. I have tried to explode as much as 4mL using only fuse, and that resulted in nothing but a tall pillar of flame. It does explode with a sharp crack when hit *hard* with a hammer. I suggest using aqueous ammonia instead of sodium hydrogen carbonate for neutralizing acid.

A dimeric 2-peroxybutane / ammonium nitrate dynamite:
11mL (or grams) of dimeric 2-peroxybutane mixed with 100g of ammonium nitrate.

 

 

 

8.44 Nitrourea:

 

This is a simple ketonitramine which is very easy to make. Its main (only?) drawback is the fact that it is easily decomposed in the presence of moisture, and therefore must be kept absolutely anhydrous for increased storage stability. This is a two stage synthesis, first forming Urea Nitrate, which is also an explosive.

I can't find density values for either of them at the moment, but Urea Nitrate has a max. VoD of around 4500 m/s and Nitrourea can get up to about 7000 m/s.

I have not found the zinc salt of Nitrourea to be very useful, so I will not include it unless people actually want me to.

 

Step #1: The production of Urea Nitrate.

 

Materials:

 

30g of urea (cheaper lawn fertilisers, such as Wilkinson's own brand, are pure urea.),

35mL of 70% nitric acid,

Distilled water,

Acetone,

Three 150mL beakers,

A thermometer,

A filter funnel,

A fridge,

Filter papers.

 

 

Procedure:

 

1) Put the urea in a 150mL beaker, and add 40mL of distilled water. Stir it with the thermometer until it has dissolved - it gets quite cold, so you'll need to warm it, or have a bit of patience.

2) Measure out the nitric acid into the other 150mL beaker.

3) Cool the nitric acid, and the urea solution, to 5*C in the fridge, or in an ice bath.

4) Slowly, while stirring with the thermometer, mix the two liquids, while keeping the temperature below 20*C.

5) Filter out the precipitate, and discard the solution.

6) Add the precipitate to 100mL of acetone in the third 150mL beaker, and stir it around with the thermometer.

7) Filter the Urea Nitrate out, and let it dry in a warm place.

 

Step #2: The production of Nitrourea.

 

You will need:

 

60g of Urea Nitrate,

90mL of conc. sulphuric acid,

Distilled water,

Alcohol,

Ice,

A salt/ice bath,

A hot water bath,

A thermometer,

A filter funnel,

Filter papers,

Two 250mL beakers,

A 500mL beaker.

 

1) Measure the sulphuric acid into a 250mL beaker, and cool it to -5*C in the salt/ice bath.

2) Slowly, while stirring and keeping the temperature below 0*C, add the Urea Nitrate.

3) 5 minutes after all the Urea Nitrate has been added, dump the mixture into 300mL of ice/water in the 500mL beaker.

4) Filter out the precipitate, and put it into the second 250mL beaker, containing 50mL of alcohol.

5) Heat this to the boiling point of the alcohol using the hot water bath, and while stirring add more alcohol, slowly, until all the Nitrourea has dissolved.

6) Chill this solution to 0*C in the salt/ice bath, filter out the precipitate and rinse it with cold alcohol.

7) Dry it in warm, dry air to prevent condensation of water on the precipitate.

8) The Nitrourea will now be pure, and can be stored for years in hard glass bottles if kept dry.

9) It's a good idea to keep it SLIGHTLY acidic, since alkalis accelerate it's decomposition when moist.

 

Step #1: The production of Urea Nitrate:

 

Yield, based on the amount of urea used:

 

Amount of urea used: 30.0 grams.

Theoretical yield: 61.5 grams.

Experimental yield: 55.5 grams.

Percentage yield: 90.2%

 

 

 

Step #2: The conversion of Urea Nitrate to Nitrourea:

 

Yield, based on the amount of Urea Nitrate used:

 

Amount of Urea Nitrate used: 60.0 grams.

Theoretical Yield: 51.2 grams.

Experimental Yield: 30.4 grams.

Percentage yield: 59.4%

 

 

 

Possible improvements:

 

Not much really. As with Hexamethylenetetramine Dinitrate, the liquid left after making one batch of Urea Nitrate can be used to dissolve the urea for the next batch, so that less Urea Nitrate is lost in the solution

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.45 Tetranitronapthalene:

 

This was once considered as a high explosive for use in artillery shells; as far as I know, the only reasons why it was not used are the facts that it was more expensive than Trinitrotoluene, and it didn't have the advantage of being safely castable. It is as stable as Trinitrotoluene and has the same oxygen balance.

VoD is 7013 m/s at 1.60 g/cm3, therefore its relative briscancy under these conditions is 0.96.

 

 

Materials:

 

105g of napthalene,

320mL of 98% sulphuric acid,

140mL of 70% nitric acid,

60mL of 95% nitric acid,

5% sodium bicarbonate solution,

Ethanol,

A 250mL beaker,

A 1.5L beaker,

A 3L container,

A hot water bath,

An ice bath,

A thermometer,

A filter funnel,

Filter papers.

 

 

Procedures:

 

Step #1: The production of mononitronapthalene.

 

1) Add 30g of powdered napthalene to 50mL of water in a 250mL beaker. Stir it around, and mix it together as good as you can (water and napthalene do not like mixing!)

2) Slowly add 80mL of the sulphuric acid, while stirring with the thermometer, and then add 60mL of the 70% nitric acid.

Do not let the temperature rise above 30*C during either of the additions.

3) Slowly stir in a further 75g of napthalene, keeping the temperature at around 50*C using the ice bath and hot water bath. Hold it at this temperature, while stirring, for half an hour.

4) Heat the mixture to 60*C for 3 minutes, then let it cool to room temperature.

5) Remove the solidified mononitronapthalene from the surface of the liquid. This can be used in the next steps to make Tetranitronapthalene, or purified by stirring it around under 75*C 5% sodium bicarbonate solution, then several washes under hot water, if it is going to be used to make Cheddites.

 

Step #2: The production of 1,8-Dinitronapthalene.

 

1) In a 1.5L beaker surrounded by an ice bath, cool 160mL of sulphuric acid to around 15*C.

2) Slowly stir in 80mL of 70% nitric acid, keeping the temperature below 30*C.

3) Crush the mononitronapthalene from the previous step as finely as you can, and slowly stir it into the sulphuric acid/nitric acid mixture, keeping the temperature below 40*C.

4) After all the mononitronapthalene has been added, stir it occaisionally for half an hour, keeping the temperature at 20*C - 30*C.

5) After this time, slowly warm the mixture to 70*C, while stirring vigorously. This warming should last about half an hour.

6) Hold the temparature between 65*C and 75*C for half an hour, while stirring.

7) Let the mixture cool to room temperature, and dump it into 1L of cold water in a 3L container. Let the product settle.

8) Decant off most of the liquid from the product, and slowly add 2L of distilled water at about 40*C, while stirring. Let the product settle and repeat the washing..

9) Filter the product out of the liquid, and let it dry.

10) Dissolve as much of the product as possible in near-boiling acetone, and filter the solution while hot. Cooling the filtrate in the freezer will precipitate 1,8-Dinitronapthalene (and unreacted Mononitronapthalene, if any) for the next step. The undissolved solid will be 1,5-Dinitronapthalene, which can be used in mixtures with Ammonium Nitrate or Chlorates.

 

Step #3: The production of 1,3,6,8-Tetranitronapthalene.

 

1) Chill 60mL of 95% nitric acid in a 500mL beaker, using a salt/icbath.

2) Once the acid is below 0*C, begin the addition of 80mL of 98% sulphuric acid, while stirring, keeping the temperature below 30*C.

3) After the acids have been mixed, add 20g of the powdered 1,8-Dinitronapthalene, as obtained above. Add it slowly, with rapid stirring, keeping the temperature between 25*C and 30*C.

4) After the addition, leave the mixture at room temperature for one hour, with occaisional stirring.]

5) After this time, slowly heat the mixture, while stirring rapidly, to 70*C to 80*C. This heating should be done over the period of about one hour, and the final temperature should be maintained, with stirring, for at least one further hour.

6) Cool the mixture and dump it into roughly three times its volume of cold distilled water.

7) Filter out the solids, wash them a few times with distilled water, and dry them.

8) Recrystalise them from ethanol.

 

 

 

9.0 Bombs

 

The info in this chapter are the experiences and procedures that other people have used. There are no guarantees about making these bombs.

 

 

9.1 C02 bomb:

 

C02 bombs(crater makers) are pretty much little hand grenades. They are also called crater makers because if you shove one in the ground and light it, there will be a small crater after it goes off. These little bastards are very useful and can be used for many other explosive devises.

 

Materials:

 

-Empty C02 cartridge

-any fast burning gunpowder or flash powder

-long cannon fuse(6+ inches)

-J-B Weld

-screw driver

-really small funnel

 

Instructions:

 

Take an empty C02 cartridge and widen the hole in the top with the screw driver as much as you can. Fill the C02 cartridge up with powder using the funnel. When it fills up with powder, tap the C02 cartridge on something hard so the powder packs down. Then put some more powder in, then tap it some more. Put the long cannon fuse in when you cant get anymore powder in. Now make a batch of J-B Weld and put some on the top of the C.M. so the fuse and powder wont come out. Let it dry. Pick a big open field, where no one with call the cops. Shove the C.M. in the ground and light it. Now RUN!You dont want to be by that shit when it goes off!

 

Tips:

 

-You can also use a rocket igniter and a power source as a fuse for better control and safety. Just make sure the wire running from the C.M. to the power source in REALLY long.

-Put some modeling clay on the outside of the C.M. then press some BBs or ball bearing into it; if you really want to fuck shit up!.I might warn you, if you get hit by the BBs or whatever when it goes off, youll probley DIE.

-Tape the C.M. to a can of starter fluid or a can of butane, for an added explosion.

 

 

9.2 Cherry Bomb:

 

These things kick ass! They can be pretty loud and dont throw shrapnel, unless you bury it in rocks.

 

Materials:

 

-ping-pong ball

-flash powder or other fast burning powder

-long cannon fuse

-J-B Weld

-red nail polish(optional)

-screw driver

 

Instructions:

 

Punch a hole in the ping-pong ball with the screw driver, and fill it with flash powder. Shove the fuse in the hole and fill in the hole around the fuse with J-B Weld. Let it dry. Now paint the C.B. with the nail polish, Ive heard the nail polish gives it an extra bang.

 

*Note: As with a C.M., you can use a rocket igniter setup instead of a fuse.

 

 

 

9.3 Dry Ice Bomb:

 

 

MATERIALS

 

-Dry Ice

-PLASTIC Bottle(s)

-Water

 

*You can get dry ice from an ice cream manufacturer or something.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

-Fill PLASTIC Bottle 2/3 With Water

-Place Several Chunks Of Dry Ice Inside

-Cap Tightly & Quickly

 

*NOTE

 

-Bigger The PLASTIC Bottle The Bigger The Boom

-Large Mouthed Bottles Dont Explode

-Submerse 1/2 Way In Pool, To Rattle Your Neighbors House

 

*Water Is Not Required, It Only Accelerates The Process

The Less Water Used, The More Dry Ice Is Needed.

*BE CAREFUL, these things will mess you up if they go of in your hand or near you!

 

 

 

9.4 Sparkler Bomb:

Materials:

 

-#7 sparlers(3 or 4 bricks worth)

-elctrical tape

 

 

Instructions:

 

Settle in with a coke or something and start unboxing the sparklers. The number of sparklers per bundle determine the loudness of the explosion.... so keep this in mind when you make them. I have found that 12 per bundle make for a nice level of percussion... altho 48 sparklers per bundle can literally " ROCK THE HOUSE"!! The best bang for your bucks is about 32 per bundle. After 60, there is no increase in percussion and you are basically wasting sparklers ( the outer ones get destroyed before they ignite ).

Unbox the number of sparklers you have decided upon, and bundle them up into a circular form. Locate the most center sparkler and pull it out of the bundle by about 2 - 2.5 inches ( if you run slow make it 3.5" ) this becomes the fuse. Once you have the bundle set, begin wrapping the bundle with electrical tape starting at the top of the bundle ( not at the fuse tip, but where the fuse enters the bundle) wrap the tape tightly around the bundle going towards the bottom of the bundle stopping at the wires. Continue wrapping the bundle back up towards the top and then back to the bottom again. This should result in 3 layers of black tape. Take a few extra inches of black tape and lightly cover the top of the bundle ( this helps in keeping the sparks from falling on the top of the bundle as you are lighting the fuse and causing a premature explosion). Once you have the black tape on the bundle, its time to wrap the unit with the strapping tape. This is done pretty much the same way as the black tape but you use 4 layers of this tape. ( this tape increases the explosion force).

Once you have taped the assembly, take one of the wires extending from the bottom of the bundle and wrap it around the existing wire handles ( this helps in reducing the wire shrapnel that WILL occur if you dont wrap) next... take another wire handle and wrap it around the existing wires about 1/2 way between the bundle and end of the wires. To be really "safe" wrap a few turns of black tape around the base of the bundle where you wrapped the first wire.

Most sparklers are difficult to light with a Bic lighter or such, a propane torch works very well... its faster, easier and quicker.

When you plan to "use" the finished product, keep in mind that they are quite capable of extreme forces. The wires are the most prominent threat. To reduce the chance of getting "nailed", force the handle section of the unit into the ground. DO NOT place these things inside of pipes, glass containers, or items that can shatter ( I think the word is hand grenade). Also DO NOT place near containers holding materials that can burn, explode, or cause a problem. Remember, the local authorities dont understand people who enjoy percussive articles :) .

WARNING

These things can be REALLY loud! They are strong. And they will remove the grass from the area of detonation. A 32 bundle will clear the grass down to the mud with about a 15" diameter spot. If you are within several feet of the unit when it goes off, there is a good chance of perminent hearing loss ( aka blown eardrums) and several serious wounds. sooooo... best advice be at least 20-30ft(minimum) away from it. If it is true that the old style CherryBombs, Silver Salutes , M-80's etc. are equal to a 1/4 stick of dynamite...then these things are equal to a 3/4 stick. DO NOT HOLD THESE THINGS IN YOUR HAND!!!!!!! you will LOOSE whatever is in contact with the eplosion.

WHAT to Expect...

 

The fuse takes about 3-5 seconds to reach the top of the bundle, once it hits the top, a yellowish flame spurts out for about 1/2 a second. When you see this flame spurt out, the time has come :) There is a bright white flash and a fair amount of smoke produced when it ignites. After effects are neighbors saying "What the hell was that ? " , you standing there saying

" HOLY sheeet !!!" The remains of the unit, if firmly planted in the ground, will be many wires spread outward along the ground and the fuse wire standing up, the local area devoid of vegitation.

 

 

 

9.5 Tennis ball bomb:

 

 

Ingredients:

 

         Strike anywhere matches or FFFFg BP

         A tennis ball

         A nice sharp knife

         Duct tape

 

Break a ton of matchheads off. Then cut a SMALL hole in the tennis ball. Stuff all of the matchheads into the ball, until you can't fit any more in. Then tape over it with duct tape. Make sure it is real nice and tight! Then, when you see a geek walking down the street, give it a good throw. He will have a blast!!

 

 

9.6 Mail Box Bomb:

 

-Two liter bottle of chlorine (must contain sodium hypochlorate)

-Small amount of sugar

-Small amount of water

 

Mix all three of these in equal amounts to fill about 1/10 of the bottle. Screw on the lid and place in a mailbox. It's hard to believe that such a small explosion will literally rip the mailbox in half and send it 20 feet into the air! Be careful doing this, though, because if you are caught, it is not up to the person whose mailbox you blew up to press charges. It is up to the city.

 

 

9.7 Cheap Smoke Bomb:

 

By far, the most common smoke formula is the Potassium Nitrate/Sugar formula.
It produces a white-gray smoke and is both easy, inexpensive & fun to make.
The percentage of Potassium Nitrate and Sugar in this composition vary somewhat depending
on who you ask, but the 60/40 mix listed below is pretty common.


A lump of this stuff the size of your thumb produced the
smoke cloud on the right in under 2 seconds.

Potassium Nitrate 

60 %

Sugar 

40 %

 

 

Although the two ingredients can just be finely powdered and mixed together, in recent side-by-side tests, we found that melting the two together does in fact make a superior Smoke Bomb.
To melt the mixture together, you'll need small metal saucepan or other heat resistant container, and an electric hot plate. An electric hot plate is preferred to an open flame heat source because it's a tad safer, and easier to prevent overheating of the mixture. The mixture must be heated SLOWLY, and over a LOW heat until it just starts to melt. Heating it too quickly, or at too high a  temperature will cause it to turn black, burn & ignite making a giant mess, not to mention a fire hazard. In any case, this should all be done outside just in case you overheat it does happen to ignite. As the mixture begins to melt, it will turn brown and look exactly like Carmel Candy (see image above)... after all, you are melting Sugar ( and no, you can't eat it ).

A step-by-step procedure is outlined below....

 

Procedure:

 
Start by making a small size batch (50 grams total). Measure out 30 grams of Potassium Nitrate and 20 grams of Sugar into a small cup. For those of you who cut math class, 30 grams of Potassium Nitrate and 20 grams of Sugar is still a 60% / 40% mixture. If you make a batch larger than 50 grams, it will be very difficult to mix and heat evenly. You can always make more, so don't mix up a giant batch.

 
Snap a lid on the container and shake to mix the two chemicals together. Pour the mixture into a heat resistant container and set it on your hot plate.


Set the hot plate temperature to medium-high, and about every 30 seconds or so, stir the mixture well, being sure to scrape the material that may start sticking to the bottom.

 
 
Over the next several minutes, the mixture will begin to darken and clump. It will soon begin to look like brown sugar, and when it finally mixes smoothly and looks like peanut butter, it is done. If you mixture is turning BLACK, you're heating it a too high of a temperature.

 
Remove the container from the heat, and scoop out a lump of the sticky mass. You can either just plop some on the concrete, or if you're picky about the way your smoke bombs look, you can make small cardboard molds and press the gooey mass into them. Personally, we just lay it on the concrete.


Before the little blob cools, insert a small piece of Visco Safety Fuse.


Do this to the remainder of the material and allow them to cool and harden.


In about 5 minutes, the material will be cool and become rock hard ( beware that it will stick to the surface while cooling, but is easily removed with a little knock from a hammer. ) Set your Smoke Bomb away from any flammable materials, light the fuse and stand back.

 

*see the pyrotechnics section of this book for the other better smoke formulas.

 

 

 

9.8 Calcium Carbide Bomb:

 

This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Exercise extreme caution.... Obtain some calcium carbide. This is the stuff that is used in carbide lamps and can be found at nearly any hardware store. Take a few pieces of this stuff (it looks like gravel) and put it in a glass jar with some water. Put a lid on tightly. The carbide will react with the water to produce acetylene carbonate, which is similar to the gas used in cutting torches. Eventually the glass with explode from internal pressure. If you leave a burning rag nearby, you will get a nice fireball!

 

 

9.9 Firebombs (Molotov cocktail):

 

Most fire bombs are simply gasoline filled bottles with a fuel soaked rag in the mouth (the bottle's mouth, not yours). The original Molotov cocktail, and still about the best, was a mixture of one part gasoline and one part motor oil. The oil helps it to cling to what it splatters on. Some use one part roofing tar and one part gasoline. Fire bombs have been found which were made by pouring melted wax into gasoline.

 

9.10 Generic Bomb:

 

-Acquire a glass container.

-Put in a few drops of gasoline.

-Cap the top.

-Now turn the container around to coat the inner surfaces and then evaporates.

-Add a few drops of potassium permanganate (Get this stuff from a snake bite kit)

-The bomb is detonated by throwing against a solid object.

 

After throwing this thing, run like hell. This thing packs about stick of dynamite.

 

 

 

9.11 Picallo bomb(bottle salute):

 

These can be really cool, depending on how you make them. They dont usually do much damage like other bombs, but theyre pretty easy to make; but I would not be near it when it goes off.

 

Materials:

 

-plastic soda bottle with a screw-on cap (the bigger bottle, the louder the boom!)

-box of Picallo Peat fireworks

-nail

-knive or razor blade

 

Instructions:

 

Open up a picallo peat using a razor blade, save the fuse. Pour the powder in the soda bottle, make sure the bottle is dry! Poke a hole in the cap with the nail and shove the fuse in the cap a little less than half way. Screw the cap on the bottle real tight. Stand the bottle up somewhere. Light the fuse and back up.

 

*Note: The more powder and the bigger the bottle you use, the bigger the boom. Other powder can be used instead of the insides of picallo peats; any fast burning powder will work.

 

 

 

9.12 THERMITE BOMB:

 

Thermite can be made to explode by taking the cast thermite formula and substituting fine powdered aluminum for the coarse/fine mix. Take 15 grams of first fire mix and put in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Insert a waterproof fuse into the mix and gather up the foil around the fuse. Waterproof the foil/fuse with a thin coat of wax. Obtain a two-piece spherical mold with a diameter of about 4-5 inches. Wax or oil the inside of the mold to help release the thermite. Now, fill one half of the mold with the cast thermite. Put the first fire/fuse package into the center of the filled mold. Fill the other half of the mold with the thermite and assemble mold. The mold will have to have a hole in it for the fuse to stick out. In about an hour, carefully separate the mold. You should have a ball of thermite with the first fire mix in the center of it, and the fuse sticking out of the ball. Dry the ball in the sun for about a week. DO NOT DRY IT IN AN OVEN ! The fuse ignites the first fire mix which in turn ignites the thermite. Since the thermite is ignited from the center out, the heat builds up in the thermite and it burns faster than normal. The result is a small explosion. The thermite ball burns in a split second and throws molten iron and slag around. Use this carefully !-Thermite Burns at over 5000 deg. F.

 

 

9.13 soda bottle bomb:

 

 

 

Take a 2 liter plastic soda bottle and fill about a quarter of it with Muramic Acid (pool acid). After this you have to work fast! Drop some aluminum foil strips into the bottle and put the cap on. Shake it up a bit and throw it. It will create a gas and explode. The fumes are very hazardous, so make sure you wont harm anyone unless you intend to.

 

 

 

 

10.0 pyrotechnics:

 

Why buy all those wussy fireworks on the 4th, and waste money when you can make your own that are way better?! Before making any pyrotechnic devise, refer to the safety section of this book...and read the following:

 

[*Warning detail taken from http://www.unitednuclear.com/.]

 

PAY ATTENTION... OR DIE!

First of all... EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS!


Even if you're just boiling some water, sure as hell, some spaz out there is going to bump into the pot and pour the boiling hot water all over themselves, get third degree burns, and die. (and of course blame it on the person who told them to boil the water) Now add some high energy chemicals, like Oxidizers and Metal Powders, not to mention some Radioactive material, and you've got a real recipe for disaster. Any chemistry experiment, no matter how simple it may seem, has the potential of being dangerous... even if you follow directions exactly as stated. The firework formulas always require special attention, for if any pyrotechnic formula ignites unexpectedly, it generally can't be extinguished fast enough. Pyrotechnic (firework) compositions have their own oxygen supply, so they can't be smothered once ignited. Although large quantities of water will extinguish most slower burning compositions, there are even some where the addition of water makes them burn even faster. Some formulas like Flash Powder burn so fast, it's almost instantaneous. If a quantity of it ignites while you're mixing it, before you can blink your eye, move your hand, or turn your face, the skin will have already been burnt off your body. Pyrotechnic mixtures are sensitive to shock... don't bang on them. They are sensitive to friction... don't grind them... and of course  if a spark or flame touches them, they'll ignite or explode too. USE COMMON SENSE! Anything that burns has the potential of exploding, so never put a pyrotechnic composition in a glass or metal container. To do so is asking for death. If you're going to mix any of these formulas, make sure you know what you're doing and have a large bucket of water nearby.


- Avoid using large quantities -
- Only ignite the mixture outdoors -
-Follow any special warnings given -
Only ignite pyrotechnic mixtures or completed fireworks with a fuse,
never just throw a match in the mix or on the firework.

 

 

10.1 Pyrotechnic compositions and formulas:

 

 

10.1-1 Smoke formulas:

     Most homemade smoke bombs usually employ some type of base powder, such as black powder or pyrodex, to support combustion.  The base material will burn well, and provide heat to cause the other materials in the device to burn, but not completely or cleanly.  Table sugar, mixed with sulfur and a base material, produces large amounts of smoke.  Sawdust, especially if it has a small amount of oil in it, and a base powder works well also.  Other excellent smoke ingredients are small pieces of rubber, finely ground plastics, and many chemical mixtures.  The material in road flares can be mixed with sugar and sulfur and a base powder produces much smoke.  Most of the fuel oxidizer mixtures, if the ratio is not correct, produce much smoke when added to a base powder.  The list of possibilities goes on and on.  The trick to a successful smoke bomb also lies in the container used.  A plastic cylinder works well, and contributes to the smoke produced.  The hole in the smoke bomb where the fuse enters must be large enough to allow the material to burn without causing an explosion.  This is another plus for plastic containers, since they will melt and burn when the smoke material ignites, producing an opening large enough to prevent an explosion.

 

White smoke:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................4
Charcoal..........................................5
Sulfur............................................10
Wood dust.........................................3

 

-or-

 

comments: This is the easiest smoke formula to make.

Preparation: Melt the two chemicals together on LOW heat and stir it till it turns brown and smooth.

sugar..............................................2
potassium nitrate..................................3

 

 

Red smoke:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium chlorate................................15
para-nitroaniline red.............................65
Lactose...........................................20

 

Green smoke:

Comments:
Preparation:

Synthetic indigo..................................26
Auramine (yellow).................................15
Potassium chlorate................................35
Lactose...........................................26

 

Smoke composition #1:

Comments: Different sources mention differnt compositions. The most often mentioned one is given here.
Preparation: The mixture is most succesfull when prepared by melting the sugar and potassium nitrate together on low heat, but this requires good stirring, and there is a risk of accidential ignition. The molten mixture can be poured in cardboard containers and a fuse insterted while the mixture solidifies.

Potassium nitrate.................................50
Sugar.............................................50

 

Smoke composition #2:

Comments: The mixture is difficult to ignite. Hexachloroethane is poisonous, and can be replaced by 72 parts PVC. This, however, makes the mixture yet harder to ignite. The zinc oxide can be replaced by titanium dioxide (2 parts ZnO replaced by 1 part TiO2). The smoke is slightly irritating and not suitable for indoor use.
Preparation:

Zinc oxide........................................45
Hexachloroethane..................................45
Aluminum..........................................10

 

Smoke composition #3:

Comments:
Preparation:

Zinc powder.......................................35
CCl4..............................................41
Zinc oxide........................................20
Diatomeous earth..................................5

 

Smoke composition #4:

Comments:
Preparation:

Zinc powder.......................................25
CCl4..............................................50
Zinc oxide........................................20
Diatomeous earth..................................5

 

Smoke composition #5:

Comments: Heat of reaction: 2.579 kJ/g, Gas volume: 62 cm3/g, ignition temperature: 475C, impact sensitivity test: 15% of TNT
Preparation:

Zinc..............................................69
Potassium perchlorate.............................19
Hexachlorobenzene.................................12

 

 

 

 

 

10.1-2 Colored Flame formaulas and torches:

     Colored flames can often be used as a signaling device for soldiers. by putting a ball of colored flame material in a rocket; the rocket, when the ejection charge fires, will send out a burning colored ball.  The materials that produce the different colors of flames appear below.


COLOR               MATERIAL                       USED IN
_____               ________                       _______
_______________________________________________________________________________
red                 strontium                      road flares,
                    salts                          red sparklers
                    (strontium nitrate)
_______________________________________________________________________________
green               barium salts                   green sparklers
                    (barium nitrate)
_______________________________________________________________________________
yellow              sodium salts                   gold sparklers
                    (sodium nitrate)
_______________________________________________________________________________
blue                powdered copper                blue sparklers,
                    old pennies
_______________________________________________________________________________
white               powdered magnesium             firestarters,
                    or aluminum                    aluminum foil
_______________________________________________________________________________
purple              potassium permanganate         purple fountains,
                                                   treating sewage
_______________________________________________________________________________

 

Fire dust:

Comments: The composition spreads a large amount of long lived orange fire dust particles. The lifetime of those particles depends mainly on the consistency and type of charcoal.
Preparation: The components must be intimately mixed. This can be done by dissolving the potassium nitrate in a minimum amount of boiling water, adding the charcoal and sulfur and precipitating the potassium nitrate in the form of fine particles by adding a large amount of isopropyl alcohol and cooling the solution as fast as possible to 0C, followed by filtering and drying.

Potassium nitrate.................................58
Charcoal..........................................35
Sulfur............................................7

 

Blue fire composition #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Copper ammonium chloride..........................5
Potassium perchlorate.............................24
Stearin...........................................2
Asphaltum.........................................1

Red fire composition #1:

Comments: Burns at a moderate rate with a nice deep red color.
Preparation:

Strontium nitrate.................................66
Potassium chlorate................................25
Powdered shellac..................................9

Red fire composition #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Strontium carbonate...............................16
Potassium chlorate................................72
Powdered shellac..................................12

Green fire composition #1:

Comments: Dangerous mixture, since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation:

Barium nitrate....................................7
Potassium chlorate................................3
Sulfur............................................2

Green fire composition #3:

Comments:
Preparation:

Barium chlorate...................................9
Orange shellac powder.............................1

White fire composition #1:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................24
Sulfur............................................7
Charcoal..........................................1

White fire composition #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................7
Sulfur............................................2
Powdered antimony.................................1

Yellow fire composition #1:
Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................4
Sulfur............................................1
Charcoal..........................................2
Sodium chloride...................................3

 

Yellow fire composition #2:
Comments: Dangerous mixture, since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation:

Potassium chlorate................................8
Sulfur............................................2
Sodium carbonate..................................3

Purple fire composition:

Comments: Dangerous mixture, since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation:

Copper sulfate....................................1
Potassium chlorate................................1
Sulfur............................................1

Magnesium flare:
Comments: Heat of reaction: 6.134 kJ/g, Gas volume: 74 cm3/g, ignition temperature: 640C, impact sensitivity test: 19% of TNT
Preparation:

Sodium nitrate....................................38
Magnesium.........................................50
Laminac...........................................5

Green torch #1:

Comments: Note that calomel is a very toxic compound.
Preparation:

Barium chlorate...................................5
Barium nitrate....................................4
Shellac...........................................1
Calomel...........................................2

Green torch #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Barium nitrate....................................5
potassium perchlorate.............................6
K.D. Gum..........................................2
Sulfur............................................3

Blue torch #1:

Comments: Note that calomel and Paris green are both very toxic compounds.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................5
Copper acetoarsenite (Paris Green)................2
Dextrin...........................................1
Calomel...........................................1

Blue torch #2:

Comments: This mixture is incompatible with nitrates and chlorates due to the presence of a copper-ammonium compound.
Preparation: 'Sugar of milk' is lactose.

Potassium perchlorate.............................24
Copper ammonium sulfate...........................6
Sugar of milk.....................................2
Sulfur............................................9

Purple torch #1:

Comments: Note that calomel is very toxic.
Preparation:

Strontium nitrate.................................7
Potassium perchlorate.............................9
Copper(II)oxide...................................6
Calomel...........................................3
Sulfur............................................5

Aluminum torch:

Comments:
Preparation:

potassium perchlorate.............................13
Fine aluminum powder..............................6
Flake Aluminum....................................5
Dextrin or lycopodium.............................1

Red and aluminum torch:

Comments: The composition is a modification of the 'Aluminum torch'. Suggested dimensions for the torch are 2.22cm diameter and 45cm length.
Preparation: Before ramming, this formula should be moistened with a solution of 1 part shellac in 16 parts alcohol and 1 part of this solution used to every 36 parts of composition. As this mixture is somewhat difficult to ignite it is necessary to scoop out a little from the top of the torch and replace it with a starting fire composition. Meal powder can be used for that purpose.

Strontium nitrate.................................13
Sulfur............................................3
Mixed Aluminum....................................3

Extra bright torch:

Comments: According to the original text: "An aluminum torch of heretofore unheard of brilliance and giving an illumination, in the 2.54cm size, of what is said to be 100000 candlepower". Testing with paint grade aluminum revealed that it burns very bright indeed at a steady slow burnrate and with little residue. It is easily pressed in tubes.
Preparation: Rub the Vaseline into the barium nitrate. Mix the sulfur and the aluminum separately. Then mix it with the barium nitrate/vaseline mixture. A starting fire mixture is required for ignition. The 'starting fire #1' composition can be used for that purpose.

Barium nitrate....................................38
Mixed Aluminum....................................9
Sulfur............................................2
Vaseline..........................................1

 

 

 

10.1-3 USEFUL PYROCHEMISTRY:

     In general, it is possible to make many chemicals from just a few basic ones.  A list of useful chemical reactions is presented.  It assumes knowledge of general chemistry; any individual who does not understand the following reactions would merely have to read the first five chapters of a high school chemistry book.


1.  potassium perchlorate from perchloric acid and potassium hydroxide
     K(OH)       +     HClO     ---->     KClO     +    H O
                   4              4           2

2.  potassium nitrate from nitric acid and potassium hydroxide
      "       +     HNO     ---->     KNO     +     "
                  3             3

3.  ammonium perchlorate from perchloric acid and ammonium hydroxide
     NH OH       +     HClO     ---->     NH ClO     +     "
       3              4                 3   4

4.  ammonium nitrate from nitric acid and ammonium hydroxide
        NH OH       +     HNO     ---->     NH NO     +     "
       3             3                      3  3

5.  powdered aluminum from acids, aluminum foil, and magnesium

A.     aluminum foil    +    6HCl    ---->   2AlCl   +   3H
                                                3            2

B.     2AlCl  (aq)   +    3Mg    ---->  3MgCl (aq)   +  2Al
          3                                  2

     The Al will be a very fine silvery powder at the bottom of the container which must be filtered and dried.   This same method works with nitric and sulfuric acids, but these acids are too valuable in the production of high explosives to use for such a purpose, unless they are available in great excess.

 

10.1-4 Rocket propellants:

 

Rocket propellant #1 ('Candy Propellant'):

Comments: This propellant is often refferred to as "candy propellant" or white propellant
Preparation: It is best prepared by melting the potassium nitrate and sugar together, but this is a dangerous operation and could result in accidential ignition during preperation. Dry mixing is possible and much safer but produces lower quality propellant.

Potassium nitrate.................................74.5
Sugar.............................................25.5

Rocket propellant #2:

Comments: The propellant has a burn rate of 0.0385 inch/sec at 100psi and a burn rate of 0.04 inch/sec at 300psi. Burn temperature is approx. 1800K. and ISP=180.
Preparation:

Ammonium nitrate..................................85-90%
Elastomeric binder (HTPB or other urethane plastic).....?

Rocket propellant #3:

Comments: Stinks like ammonia when mixed, and hardens faster than normal epoxy curing time. Suggestions for rocket dimensions: 1" rocket tube, 3" fuel length, Durhanms water putty nozzle 3/8" thick, and 5/16" diameter. Core in center of fuel about 3/8" diameter through the length.
Preparation:

Ammonium perchlorate, 200 micron..................80
Resin (Epon 815 epoxy & curing agent U)...........20
Copper chromite...................................+1%

Rocket propellant #4:

Comments: Mixture is somewhat hygroscopic. Low impulse propellant.
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................63
Sugar.............................................27
Sulfur............................................10

 

Rocket propellant #6 (KNO3 propellant):

Source: rec.pyrotechnics. Posted by Chris Beauregard <cpbeaure@descartes.waterloo.edu
Comments: The burning rate of these rocket fuels depends much less on pressure than that of black powder. This widens the accetable limits of the ratio nozzle area/fuel surface area.

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................72
Carbon............................................24
Sulfur............................................4

 

Rocket propellant #7 (NaNO3 propellant):

Source: rec.pyrotechnics. Posted by Chris Beauregard <cpbeaure@descartes.waterloo.edu
Comments: The burning rate of this rocket fuels depends much less on pressure than that of black powder. This widens the accetable limits of the ratio nozzle area/fuel surface area.

Preparation:

 

Sodium nitrate....................................69
Carbon............................................27
Sulfur............................................4

 

Rocket propellant #7 (Zinc/Sulfur):

Source: rec.pyrotechnics
Comments: Burns very fast, producing lots of smoke. It is not a very effective propellant due to its low energy density.
Preparation:

Zinc..............................................67.1%
Sulfur............................................32.9%

 

Space Shuttle Boosters propellant:


Source: NASA homepage
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Aluminum powder...................................16
Ammonium perchlorate..............................69.9
Fe2O3 catalyst....................................0.07
Rubber based binder of polybutadine acrylic acidacrylonitrile.....12.04
Epoxy curing agent................................1.96

 

 

ESTES C-class rocket engine propellant:


Source: rec.pyrotechnics, Composition from 1994 US Dept. of Labour Material Safety Data Sheet.
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................71.79
Sulfur............................................13.45
Charcoal..........................................13.81
Dextrin...........................................0.95

 

Blue strobe rocket propellant:


Source: Greg Gallacci <psygreg@u.washington.edu
Comments: The GE silicone II is noted for having an ammonia-like odor, where the GE silicones smell more like vinegar. The dimensions of the rocket made with this propellant were 1 1/8 inch ID, with a 1/2 inch core.
Preparation: Mix the copper oxide, PVC and silicone first, in a plastic bag. Then mix in the ammonium perchlorate. The stuff is said to be somewhat crumbly, and presses well.

 

Ammonium perchlorate..............................63
Silicone II.......................................22
Copper(II)oxide...................................10
PVC...............................................5

 

 

10.1-5 colored star compositions:

Red star #1:

Comments: The perchlorate can be substituted by chlorate without changing the color.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................66
Red gum...........................................13
Lampblack.........................................2
Strontium carbonate...............................12
Polyvinyl chloride................................2
Soluble Glutinous Rice Starch.....................5

Red star #2:

Comments:
Preparation: Dissolve shellac in boiling ethanol, add the other ingredients and proceed as usual. The stars take unexpectedly long to dry. They can be dried in the sun or in a vacuum. Smaller stars dry faster.

Potassium chlorate................................20
Strontium nitrate.................................60
Shellac...........................................20

Red star #3:

Comments:
Preparation: Dissolve shellac in boiling ethanol, and add the other ingredients.

Potassium chlorate................................65
Strontium carbonate...............................15
Shellac...........................................20

Green star #1:

Comments:
Preparation:

Barium nitrate....................................28.3
Potassium Perchlorate.............................47.2
Parlon............................................4.7
Red Gum...........................................14.2
Soluble Glutinous Rice Starch.....................5.6

Green star #2:

Comments: A simple but nice (somewhat yellowish) green.
Preparation: Dissolve shellac in boiling ethanol.

barium nitrate....................................7
potassium chlorate................................7
shellac...........................................2

Blue star #1:

Comments: LNiksch :"These stars burn much faster and more blue than any mix containing copper carbonate I have tried"
Preparation: Dampen with alcohol/water 70/30 to make cut or pumped stars.

Potassium perchlorate.............................66.5
Red gum...........................................9.9
Cupric oxide......................................13.4
Parlon............................................5.4
Soluble Glutinous Rice Starch or Dextrin .........5.6 or 4.8

Blue star #2:

Comments:
Preparation: Add 25 volume parts of water to dextrin and mix in the other ingredients. Use more water if necessary.

Ammonium perchlorate..............................60
Sulfur............................................17
Copper(II)oxide...................................20
Dextrin (binder)..................................3
Red gum or Shellac................................6

Purple star #1:

Comments: Dangerous mixture since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation: Bind with dextrin in water. The ingredients must be very pure.

Potassium chlorate................................36
Strontium sulfate.................................10
Copper sulfate....................................5
Lead chloride.....................................2
Charcoal..........................................2
Sulfur............................................12

Purple star #2:

Comments: Dangerous mixture since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation: Bind with dextrin in water. The ingredients must be very pure.

Potassium chlorate................................38
Strontium carbonate...............................18
Copper chloride...................................4
Lead chloride.....................................2
Sulfur............................................14

Yellow star #1:

Comments:
Preparation: Mix dextrin with 4 volume parts of water and mix in the other ingredients.

Potassium chlorate................................6
Sodium hydrogen carbonate.........................2
Dextrin...........................................2

Yellow star #2:

Comments:
Preparation: Bind with shellac in ethanol or dextrin in water.

Potassium chlorate................................8
Sodium oxalate....................................3
Lampblack.........................................2

 

Orange star #1:


Comments: Dangerous mixture since it contains both sulfur and a chlorate.
Preparation: Bind with alcohol.

Strontium nitrate.................................36
Sodium oxalate....................................8
Potassium chlorate................................5
Shellac powder....................................5
Sulfur............................................3

Orange/Red star:

Comments: Sculpy is a PVC based modelling clay - "FIMO" will also work, but is more difficult to mix.
Preparation:

Strontium nitrate.................................35
Potassium perchlorate.............................40
"Sculpy"..........................................22
Fe2O3.............................................2

 

Salmon color star:


Comments: Sculpy is a PVC based modelling clay. The result is a salmon-berry (reddish-orange) color.
Preparation: Warm the sculpy slightly, to make it more mixable and mix it with the ammonium perchlorate without using solvents. Screen it several times and make pressed stars. The stars can be baked in an oven at 135C for 20 minutes, which will result in much harder, more ignitable, more intensely colored stars. Heating the stars is not recommended though, since it could cause the stars to ignite.

Ammonium perchlorate..............................75
"Super Sculpy"....................................25

White star #1:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium Nitrate.................................58
Aluminum..........................................40
Dextrin...........................................2

White star #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium Perchlorate.............................40
Magnesium.........................................32
Sulfur............................................16
Charcoal..........................................12

White star #3:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium Perchlorate.............................2
Aluminum..........................................1

Brilliant white star:


Comments: Bind with dextrin in water
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................4
Aluminum dust.....................................4
Dextrin...........................................1

 

Veline's green star:

This set of compositions was invented by Robert Veline and is used in Kosankie's 'Chemistry of Fireworks (Chemistry of color) class'.
Comments: These compositions are part of a matched set invented by Robert Veline. The compositions mix compatibly to produce a wide range of other colors. Examples are given below. The wood meal in the prime (see miscellaneous compositions) makes the stars a little 'fuzzy', making the stars much more easy to ignite. Without the wood meal prime the stars are often blown blind.
Preparation: Summary of Robert Veline's own comments: "Potassium perchlorate is a fine powder. Parlon is Hercules brand or Superchlon brand from Ishihara co. ltd. Red gum is a fine powder. Copper(II)oxide may be substituted by copper carbonate without much change in performance. Calcium carbonate is 200 mesh, 'Whiting'. More pure forms slow the burn rate and degrade the color."

Potassium perchlorate.............................30
Barium nitrate....................................24
Barium carbonate..................................15
Parlon............................................15
Red gum...........................................5
Magnalium (50/50), 200 mesh.......................11
Dextrin...........................................+4

 

Veline's blue star:

Comments: These compositions are part of a matched set invented by Robert Veline. The compositions mix compatibly to produce a wide range of other colors. Examples are given below. The wood meal in the prime (see miscellaneous compositions) makes the stars a little 'fuzzy', making the stars much more easy to ignite. Without the wood meal prime the stars are often blown blind.

Preparation: Summary of Robert Veline's own comments: "Potassium perchlorate is a fine powder. Parlon is Hercules brand or Superchlon brand from Ishihara co. ltd. Red gum is a fine powder. Copper(II)oxide may be substituted by copper carbonate without much change in performance. Calcium carbonate is 200 mesh, 'Whiting'. More pure forms slow the burn rate and degrade the color."

Potassium perchlorate.............................55
Copper(II)oxide...................................15
Parlon............................................15
Red gum...........................................9
Magnalium (50/50), 200 mesh.......................6
Dextrin...........................................+4

 

Veline's mixed colors:

 

Comments: These are a few examples of the colors that can be obtained by mixing a few of Robert Veline's set of star compositions.

Preparation:

 

Yellow............................................55 green, 45 orange
Chartreuse........................................80 green, 20 orange
Aqua..............................................80 green,20 blue
Turquoise.........................................55 green, 45 blue
Magenta...........................................50 red, 50 blue
Maroon............................................85 red, 15 blue
Peach.............................................60 orange, 25 red, 15 blue
Purple............................................5 orange, 15 red, 80 blue

 

Electric star #4:


Source: "The Pyroguide" (a document found on internet)
Comments:
Preparation: Bind with shellac in alcohol.

Potassium perchlorate.............................4
Aluminum, medium..................................2
Dextrin...........................................1

 

Firefly #1:


Source: rec.pyrotechnics archive. Posted by Eric Eisack.
Comments:

Preparation: Aluminum is large flake. It was sieved through a windowscreen. This gives about 30 mesh powder.

 

Potassium nitrate.................................50
Charcoal,air float................................29
Charcoal, 80 mesh.................................10.5
Sulfur............................................6
Aluminum (large flake)............................4.5
Dextrin or CMC....................................+5 or +1

 

Firefly #2:

Source: rec.pyrotechnics archive. Posted by Dan Bucciano.
Comments: Can also be used as rocket propellant: Mix the chemicals, dampen, and granulate through a 20 mesh screen and dry. Use +3% by weight as a tail effect. Once you have passed the top core of the rocket by 1/2 inch, you may ram 100% firefly formula the rest of the way. You will end up with a beautiful long trailing tail of firefly.

Preparation:

 

Potassium Nitrate.................................47
Air Float Charcoal................................33
Antimony tri-sulfide..............................5.8
Aluminum (400 mesh,12 micron, spherical)..........4.2
Sulfur............................................4.7
Dextrin...........................................5.2

 

Firefly #3:

Source: PML Digest 391, post by L.Niksch <LNiksch@aol.com. This formula is provided with the "firefly aluminum" from Skylighter.
Comments:

Preparation: Ball mill potassium nitrate, Air Float charcoal, sulfur and Dextrin together for 1 hour. Then add the 36 mesh Charcoal and firefly aluminum and mix with a spoon. Add water to make a dough mix and cut with a knife into 3/8" cut stars. Separate stars and dry for 3-4 days. The effect is a long tiger tail going up and firefly sparkles coming down. Larger stars take longer to dry, and a damp star produces very little firefly effect.

 

Potassium nitrate.................................49
Charcoal, air float...............................29
Charcoal, 36 Mesh.................................11
Sulfur............................................9
Dextrin...........................................10
Aluminum, firefly.................................5

 

Glitter star:

Source: rec.pyrotechnics archive, post by Tommy Hakomaki <tommy.hakomaki@mailbox.swipnet.se
Comments:

Preparation: Wet with ethanol/water (70/30)

 

Potassium nitrate.................................55
Aluminum 200-400 mesh.............................5
Dextrin...........................................4
Antimony(III)sulfide..............................16
Sulfur............................................10
Lampblack.........................................10

 

White comet #1:


Source: rec.pyrotechnics
Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................96
Fine charcoal.....................................44
Sulfur............................................15
Dextrin...........................................10

 

White comet #2:

Source: rec.pyrotechnics
Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................40
Fine charcoal.....................................24
Sulfur............................................8
Dextrin...........................................9

 

 

Matrix comet composition #1:


Source: PML 8 oct 96, post by Myke Stanbridge <mykestan@cleo.murdoch.edu.au
Comments: A matrix comet consists of a matrix composition in which colored microstars are embedded. It produces a colored tail when fired. The microstars must be slow-burning while the matrix must be very fast burning. The matrix must either emit as little light as possible or a lot of light in a color that is compatible with the color of the microstars. The following green matrix composition from c1995 is a good starting point for further experimentation.

Preparation: Exfoliated mica is also called Vermiculite. It is usually obtained from 'mineral products' suppliers in graded sizes from around 5 to 10 millimetres. It requires comminution in a coffee mill, followed by screening. The guar binder, although very effective in low amounts, has a very slow drying profile and a tendency to produce a 'skin' that prevents 'radiant heat source' drying. To dry the comets uniformly requires a fan circulated 'dry air' drier. Large 3" comets might take two months to dry properly depending on the circumstances.

 

Potasium chlorate, passing 200 mesh...............50
Barium benzoate, passing 100 mesh.................23
Barium carbonate, passing 200 mesh................10
Exfoliated mica, pass 80 mesh, hold 120 mesh......10
Bentonite clay - wyoming, passing 200 mesh........6
Guar gum fine WW250F, passing 200 mesh............1

 

Matrix comet composition #2:


Source: PML 8 oct 96, post by Myke Stanbridge <mykestan@cleo.murdoch.edu.au
Comments: A matrix comet consists of a matrix composition in which colored microstars are embedded. It produces a colored tail when fired. The microstars must be slow-burning while the matrix must be very fast burning. The matrix must either emit as little light as possible or a lot of light in a color that is compatible with the color of the microstars. The following green matrix composition from c1995 is a good starting point for further experimentation.

Preparation: Exfoliated mica is also called Vermiculite. It is usually obtained from 'mineral products' suppliers in graded sizes from around 5 to 10 millimetres. It requires comminution in a coffee mill, followed by screening. The guar binder, although very effective in low amounts, has a very slow drying profile and a tendency to produce a 'skin' that prevents 'radiant heat source' drying. To dry the comets uniformly requires a fan circulated 'dry air' drier. Large 3" comets might take two months to dry properly depending on the circumstances.

 

Potasium perchlorate, passing 100 mesh............50
Zirconium silicate, passing 325 mesh..............30
Polykarbenite-3 - Armex, passing 200 mesh.........10
Barium carbonate, passing 200 mesh................9
Guar gum fine WW250F, passing 200 mesh............1

 

 

'Dragon eggs' star (Crackling star):


Source: rec.pyrotechnics. Composition from "The best of AFN III"[12], page 121
Comments: Sometimes, Bi2O3 is used instead of Pb3O4. The composition is extremely sensitive, both to friction and impact. It is also quite poisonous and explosive. Gloves and an air mask must be worn at all times when handling this mixture since the mixture contains the very toxic Pb3O4.

Preparation: Add lacquer untill the thickness is like wood putty. Pass the mix through a screen and dry it to make 1mm squares. These will explode with a sharp crack shortly after lighting and can be used as star cores.

Pb3O4.............................................81.8

Magnalium (50/50, 100-200 Mesh)...................9.1
Copper(II)oxide...................................9.1
Nitrocellulose lacquer binder.....................10% by volume

 

Blue star with charcoal tail:

Source: rec.pyrotechnics, posted by sweden <sweden@synchron.ct.se. Source of this composition is Bruce Snowden
Comments:

Preparation: Add isopropyl alcohol for binding. Cut, round and pumped stars can be made with this composition, but a typical KClO4/Red gum/Charcoal/dextrin prime will be necessary. A final layer of sodium nitrate/sulfur/Charcoal (85/5/10), moistened with NC/acetone lacker (w. about 3% NC) can be added. This adds yellowish sparks. Mealpowder can be used instead if the yellow sparks are not desired.

 

Ammonium perchlorate..............................70
Basic copper carbonate............................10
Red Gum...........................................10
Charcoal..........................................10
Dextrin...........................................+5

 

Electric purple star:

Source: Quoted in an AFN Yearbook from David Bleser on "Protecting Electric Puple Decomposition"
Comments: When very fine powdered ammonium perchlorate was used in a an attempt to try to increase the burning rate of stars an ammoniacal smell and an increase in temperature was noticed. The batch of stars was safely disposed of. By adding 5% potassium dichromate and 1% boric acid the reactions were prevented.

Preparation:

 

Ammonium perchlorate..............................68
Copper benzoate...................................8
Strontium carbonate...............................12
Magnalium (200-400 Mesh)..........................5
Hexamine..........................................7
Dextrin...........................................+5

 

Brilliant core:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 219.
Comments: This composition can be used for the cores of round stars. It gives a strong flash of light. The cores burn quickly and are self propelled when they are unevenly ignited. To prevent that, these cores should be coated with 'Brilliant core prime' (see miscellaneous compositions) untill they are round.

Preparation:

 

Barium nitrate....................................66
Aluminum, fine flake..............................27
Boric acid........................................1
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................6

 

Silver star core:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 220.
Comments: This composition can be used for the cores of round stars. It burns less quickly than the brilliant core, and produces a silver flame.

Preparation:

 

Potassium perchlorate.............................56
Rosin (BL combustion agent).......................5
Aluminum (fine flake).............................32
Lampblack.........................................2
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................5

 

Silver wave:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 220.
Comments: This composition produces a silver fire dust. A large silver fire dust flame of short duration is obtained. When the ratio perchlorate to aluminum is changed to 35/65 a small flame with yellowish fire dust of long duration is obtained.

Preparation:

 

Potassium perchlorate.............................50
Aluminum (somewhat coarse flake)..................50
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+5%

 

Golden wave #1:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 221
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................37
Aluminum (somewhat coarse flake)..................47
Antimony trisulfide...............................9
Boric acid........................................1
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................6

 

Golden wave #2:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 221.
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................37
Aluminum (somewhat coarse flake)..................47
Sulfur............................................9
Boric acid........................................1
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................6

 

 

Matrix comet composition #1:

Source: PML 8 oct 96, post by Myke Stanbridge <mykestan@cleo.murdoch.edu.au
Comments: A matrix comet consists of a matrix composition in which colored microstars are embedded. It produces a colored tail when fired. The microstars must be slow-burning while the matrix must be very fast burning. The matrix must either emit as little light as possible or a lot of light in a color that is compatible with the color of the microstars. The following green matrix composition from c1995 is a good starting point for further experimentation.

Preparation: Exfoliated mica is also called Vermiculite. It is usually obtained from 'mineral products' suppliers in graded sizes from around 5 to 10 millimetres. It requires comminution in a coffee mill, followed by screening. The guar binder, although very effective in low amounts, has a very slow drying profile and a tendency to produce a 'skin' that prevents 'radiant heat source' drying. To dry the comets uniformly requires a fan circulated 'dry air' drier. Large 3" comets might take two months to dry properly depending on the circumstances.

 

Potasium chlorate, passing 200 mesh...............50
Barium benzoate, passing 100 mesh.................23
Barium carbonate, passing 200 mesh................10
Exfoliated mica, pass 80 mesh, hold 120 mesh......10
Bentonite clay - wyoming, passing 200 mesh........6
Guar gum fine WW250F, passing 200 mesh............1

 

Matrix comet composition #2:

Source: PML 8 oct 96, post by Myke Stanbridge <mykestan@cleo.murdoch.edu.au
Comments: A matrix comet consists of a matrix composition in which colored microstars are embedded. It produces a colored tail when fired. The microstars must be slow-burning while the matrix must be very fast burning. The matrix must either emit as little light as possible or a lot of light in a color that is compatible with the color of the microstars. The following green matrix composition from c1995 is a good starting point for further experimentation.

Preparation: Exfoliated mica is also called Vermiculite. It is usually obtained from 'mineral products' suppliers in graded sizes from around 5 to 10 millimetres. It requires comminution in a coffee mill, followed by screening. The guar binder, although very effective in low amounts, has a very slow drying profile and a tendency to produce a 'skin' that prevents 'radiant heat source' drying. To dry the comets uniformly requires a fan circulated 'dry air' drier. Large 3" comets might take two months to dry properly depending on the circumstances.

 

Potasium perchlorate, passing 100 mesh............50
Zirconium silicate, passing 325 mesh..............30
Polykarbenite-3 - Armex, passing 200 mesh.........10
Barium carbonate, passing 200 mesh................9
Guar gum fine WW250F, passing 200 mesh............1

 

10.1-6 smoke star compositions:

 

Red smoke star:

Source: Shimizu[1], page 226. Listed as "Smoke dye compositions for stars, red"
Comments:

Preparation: Wheat flour can be substituted for milk sugar. Produce as 10mm cut stars, and prime with meal powder.

 

Potassium chlorate................................28
Milk sugar........................................20
Rhodamine B conc..................................30
Oil orange........................................22
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+3%

 

Yellow smoke star #1:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 229. Listed as "Yellow dragon"
Comments: The smoke is more dense than that of dye smoke, but it looks dark yellow against the light of the sun. The smoke is poisonous.

Preparation: Make pressed stars.

 

Potassium nitrate.................................25
Sulfur............................................16
Realgar...........................................59

 

Yellow smoke star #2:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 228. Listed as "White willow"
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................48.5
Sulfur............................................48.5
Realgar...........................................3
Charcoal (or hemp coal)...........................+2%
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+6%

 

Green smoke star:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 226. Listed as "Smoke dye compositions for stars, green"
Comments:

Preparation: Wheat flour can be substituted for milk sugar. Produce as 10mm cut stars, and prime with meal powder.

 

Potassium chlorate................................33
Milk sugar........................................27
Oil yellow (Butter yellow)........................20
Phthalocyanine blue...............................20
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+3%

 

Blue smoke star:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 226. Listed as "Smoke dye compositions for stars, blue"
Comments:

Preparation: Wheat flour can be substituted for milk sugar. Produce as 10mm cut stars, and prime with meal powder.

 

Potassium chlorate................................33
Milk sugar........................................27
Phthalocyanine blue...............................40
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+3%

 

Violet smoke star:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 226. Listed as "Smoke dye compositions for stars, Violet"
Comments:

Preparation: Wheat flour can be substituted for milk sugar. Produce as 10mm cut stars, and prime with meal powder.

 

Potassium chlorate................................29
Milk sugar........................................25
Rhodamine B conc..................................13
Oil orange........................................16
Phthalocyanine blue...............................17
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+3%

 

White smoke star #1:

Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 228. Listed as "White chrysanthemum I"
Comments:

Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................53
Sulfur............................................7
Charcoal (or hemp coal)...........................32
Lampblack.........................................8
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................+6%

 

White smoke star #2:


Source: Composition from Shimizu[1], page 228. Listed as "White chrysanthemum II"
Comments:

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................66
Realgar...........................................13
Charcoal (or hemp coal)...........................5
Lampblack.........................................5
Soluble glutinous rice starch.....................11

 

 

10.1-7 flash charges:

Flash #1:

Comments: The sulfur can be replaced by antimony trisulfide and the sound of a salute made with this composition will change very little.
Preparation:

potassium perchlorate.............................50
Aluminum..........................................23
sulfur............................................27

Flash #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

potassium perchlorate.............................70
Aluminum (dark pyro)..............................30

Flash #3:

Comments: Larger percentage of aluminum results in a stronger flash. This composition is slightly less sensitive than the usual perchlorate mixtures which also contain sulfur.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................65...70%
Aluminum powder...................................rest (up to 100%)

Flash #4:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................3
Aluminum, 400 mesh................................3
Sulfur............................................1

Flash #5:


Comments: This is a relatively safe flash composition. Burns with a brilliant white light in an open tube, or when unconfined. When well confined, it produces a loud, low pitched report and a short but intense flash.
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................50
Sulfur............................................30
Aluminum..........................................20

Flash #6:

Comments: Can be ignited by a fairly low temperature flame, and produces a greenish flash when magnesium is used. Burns very fast, and produces a loud report even in an open container.
Preparation:

Magnesium or Aluminum.............................1
Barium sulfate....................................1

Flash #7:

Comments: Relatively insensitive.
Preparation:

Barium nitrate....................................4
Alumium (fine mesh)...............................2
sulfur............................................1

Smokeless flash powder:

Comments:
Preparation:

Zirconium.........................................28
Zirconium hydride.................................7
Magnesium.........................................7
Barium nitrate....................................30
Barium oxyde......................................25
Rice starch.......................................5

Photoflash:

Comments: Heat of reaction: 8.989 kJ/g, Gas volume: 15 cm3/g, ignition temperature: 700C, impact sensitivity test: 26% of TNT. half a pound of this flash delivers 120 million candlepowder. It is used in the M120A1 and M112A1 flare cartdriges.
Preparation:

Aluminum (20 micron; atomized)....................40
Potassium perchlorate (24 micron).................30
Barium nitrate (150 micron).......................30

Purple Flash:

Comments:
Preparation:

Magnesium.........................................10
Potassium perchlorate.............................10
Cupric oxide......................................3
Strontium nitrate.................................3
PVC...............................................1

Yellow flash:

Comments:
Preparation:

Magnesium.........................................1
Sodium nitrate....................................6

Green flash:

Comments:
Preparation:

potassium perchlorate.............................6
barium nitrate....................................3
Aluminum powder...................................5

 

 

10.1-8 burst charges:

 

H3 Bursting charge:

Comments: This energetic burst charge is used for small diameter shells (2...3 inch), since it makes a large and symmetrical burst possible. Besides the composition below, a ratio of chlorate to hemp coal of 10:3 is also popular. The sensitivity of this mixture to shock and friction is unexpectedly low, as long as the composition does not come into contact with sulfur or sulfur compounds.
Preparation:

Potassium chlorate................................75
Hemp coal (or Paulownia coal).....................25
Glutinous rice starch.............................+2%

Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #1:

Comments: This energetic burst charge can be used for small shells, but is unsuitable for the smallest diameters (2...3 inch). It is much safer to handle than the H3 bursting charge since it contains no chlorates.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................70
Hemp coal (or Paulownia coal).....................18
Sulfur............................................12
Glutinous rice starch.............................+2%

Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #2:

Comments: Shimizu lists this composition as burst charge No. 5. This compositions sensitivity is quite low, although higher than that of black powder. The explosive force of this composition is lower than that of the Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #1. This burst charge is often used in shells of middle and large diameter (6...10 inch).
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................70
Hemp coal (or Paulownia coal).....................30
Glutinous rice starch.............................+2%

Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #3:

Comments: Shimizu lists this composition as burst charge No. 44. The potassium bichromate catalyses the decomposition of the potassium perchlorate. This compositions sensitivity is quite low, although higher than that of black powder. The explosive force of this composition is lower than that of the Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #1. This burst charge is often used in shells of middle and large diameter (6...10 inch).
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................70
Hemp coal (or Paulownia coal).....................30
Potassium bichromate..............................5
Glutinous rice starch.............................+2%

Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #4:

Comments: Shimizu lists this composition as burst charge No. 46. The potassium bichromate catalyses the decomposition of the potassium perchlorate. This compositions sensitivity is quite low, although higher than that of black powder. The explosive force of this composition is higher than that of the Potassium perchlorate bursting charge #1, especially when the particle size of the carbon is small.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................70
Hemp coal (or Paulownia coal).....................30
Lampblack.........................................25
Potassium bichromate..............................+5%
Glutinous rice starch.............................+2%

 

 

10.1-9 whistle mixtures:

 

Whistle mix #1:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................72.5
Sodium salicylate.................................27.5

Whistle mix #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................30
Potassium dinotrophenate..........................70

Whistle mix #3:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................70
Sodium benzoate...................................30

Whistle mix #4:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium chlorate................................40
Sodium chlorate...................................10
Potassium nitrate.................................30
Sodium salicylate.................................10
Paraffin oil......................................10
Ferric oxide......................................+0.2

Whistle mix #5:

Comments: This mixture is quite sensitive to friction and shock.
Preparation:

Potassium chlorate................................75
Gallic acid.......................................25

 

10.1-10 priming compositions:

Priming composition #1:

Comments:
Preparation:

Barium nitrate....................................4
Potassium nitrate.................................3
Sulfur............................................1
Shellac...........................................1

Priming composition #2:

Comments:
Preparation:

Potassium permanganate............................54
Powdered iron.....................................47

Priming composition #3:

Comments: Suitable for priming most stars. Chlorate stars or stars containing ammonium compounds should never be primed with this composition. It can be stored in small plastic containers.
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate, fine, sieved...................75
Sulfur, fine (preferably flour)...................10
Charcoal, fine, sieved............................15

Priming composition #4:

Comments: Suitable for priming stars. Aluminum and manganese dioxide aid in ignition, but are not necessary.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................80
Charcoal, fine....................................15
Red gum...........................................4
Manganese dioxide (optional) .....................9
Aluminum, (fine flake or pyro grade; optional)....4
Dextrin...........................................2

Priming composition #5:

Comments: This type of prime helps reduce the friction and impact sensitivity of chlorate stars which is especially important when shells fire from the mortar and experience set-back or "kick" from lift acceleration.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................68
Charcoal, air float...............................20
Silicon or Aluminum...............................9
Dextrin...........................................3

Priming composition #6:

Comments: This prime is safe to use with chlorate stars and gives a much better color than a black powder prime. The difference is most noticable on red stars which tend to a dark salmon color when primed with black powder.
Preparation: Dissolve the potassium nitrate in hot water and mix with the charcoal.

Potassium chlorate................................52
Potassium nitrate.................................8
Charcoal..........................................30
Lampblack.........................................10
Binder............................................+5%

Priming composition #7:

Comments: A standard black powder priming cannot be used with stars that contain ammonium perchlorate, since a double decomposition reaction forms the highly hygroscopic ammonium nitrate. This makes the stars unignitable. Replacing the potassium nitrate prime by this priming composition solves that problem.
Preparation:

Sodium nitrate....................................80
Paulownia coal....................................15
Sulfur............................................5

Priming composition #8:

Comments: Used for strobe stars of ammonium perchlorate base to prevent nitrates from the outer priming to react with the ammonium perchlorate. The layer should be at least 1-2mm thick.
Preparation:

Potassium perchlorate.............................74
Rosin (BL combustion agent) or Red gum............12
Hemp coal (or paulownia coal).....................6
Aluminum (fine flake).............................3
Potassium bichromate..............................5

 

 

10.1-11 Other compositions:

 

Golden rain #1:
Source: "Mengen en Roeren"[6], page 224
Comments: Burns with a yellow color, and emits yellow sparks that are formed by the slowly burning lampblack.
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................18
Sulfur............................................8
Lampblack.........................................5

 

Golden rain #2:
Source: "Mengen en Roeren"[6], page 224
Comments: Burns with a yellow color, and emits yellow sparks that are formed by the slowly burning lampblack and the iron filings.
Preparation:

Potassium nitrate.................................10
Sulfur............................................2
Lampblack.........................................2
Fine iron filings.................................7

 

Senko Hanabi (Japanese sparklers), sulfur based:

Source: Shimizu[1], page 70
Comments: For more details on what the effect looks like and how devices can be constructed, look at 10.4, "The phenomenon of Senko-Hanabi" in Shimizu's book (on page 68). Realgar may be used instead of sulfur, see 'Senko Hanabi (Japanese sparklers), realgar based' for a realgar based formula. The realgar based formula produces larger en more beautiful sparks.

Preparation:

 

Potassium nitrate.................................60
Charcoal or soot..................................10-20
Sulfur............................................20-30

 

 

Senko Hanabi (Japanese sparklers), realgar based:

Source: Shimizu[1], page 70
Comments: For more details on what the effect looks like and how devices can be constructed, look at 10.4, "The phenomenon of Senko-Hanabi" in Shimizu's book (on page 68). Sulfur may be used instead of realgar, see 'Senko Hanabi (Japanese sparklers), sulfur based' for a sulfur based formula. This realgar based formula produces larger en more beautiful sparks than the sulfur based formula.

Preparation: </