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Archive for October 18th, 2008

Well, not naked.  Free.  Settle for free.

I’ve been going over a HUGE amount of material in trying to figure out pyrotechnics (of the legal kind) like smoke bombs and flames to use with a pumpkin for Halloween.  I want my daughter to be the geekest girl out there and nothing says “geek” quite like a flaming, smoking, spitting pumpkin that is melting the asphalt driveway.

And then I got into reading about all manner of things – dark aluminum powder, potassium perchlorate,  glycerin, potassium nitrate/sucrose mixtures (KNO3) for rocketry, the addition of metallics (Al, Mg, Mn, Cu) for different energy outputs, rocket motor geometries and stages…. ooooh oooh oooooh oooh!

So anyway, go check out Richard Nakka’s Experimental Rocketry Website.

Essentially you have a sugar fuel, an oxidizer, some reactive metals, and lots of fun.  Yep, nothing fun can’t get funner by adding a little thermite.

Practical Pyrotechnics is a good read, too.

So as I add to this post tomorrow I’m going to throw in material on smoke bombs, which are dirt simple to make.  Thing is, all the recipes you find on it are essentially the same mixtures that you use in rocketry to make a solid fuel rocket.  Tells me you ought to be using sodium bicarb or something to slow the reaction down.

Let’s be clear here, though… If you don’t have any chemistry or physics experience:  Don’t even think about trying anything until you do.  The simplest seeming things might have negative consequences, which can be (a) unstable, (b) give off bad byproducts, (c) be toxic, or at best (d) a waste of time or money.  The damn things are flammable, too.  If you aren’t careful you could get burned.

Note: That was the end of the safety lecture.  You are responsible for your own safety.  If you want to do something stupid and illegal there’s all manner of recipes for M-80’s, flash powder, guncotton, etc. just lying around for the taking on the web, and I’m not going to put it here.

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