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Member Since 29 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Feb 25 2011 01:05 PM

Topics I've Started

Reducing Smoke in Pyrotechnic Mixtures

08 September 2010 - 09:01 PM

I have been doing a few mixtures lately and the smoke given off from the mixtures are blocking the effect! Especially when the wind is in the wrong direction.
Has anyone here had similar problems? And how do you remedy these problems?
Moreover, are there any particular mixtures that make a lot of smoke? And how does one reduce smoke?

As far as I know, mixtures containing magnesium, and potassium nitrate will emit lots of smoke.
What is the smoke composed of? Metallic oxides?

What chemicals emit lots of smoke?

Barium, and certain other chemicals...

02 September 2010 - 04:53 PM

Hello all,
I have been browsing barium suppliers for my pyro chems, but I have found out from a supplier that barium (nitrate) is a schedule 1 poison, and other barium compounds (carbonate), are schedule 2 poisons.
Thus, I will require a business VAT number to purchase, this has thrown some doubt into the legality of home pyrotechnics.
Is barium illegal to possess? and is it illegal to purchase from a supplier who does not have a license whatsoever to sell the stuff?
What do suppliers actually do with the VAT no. supplied? Asking because I don't want a business to get into trouble should I convince them to buy it for me.

Whilst we're on the subject, I do understand that pyrotechnic mixtures are illegal to have, unless in "small amounts", up to the discretion of the LA.
What about pure chemicals, such as perchlorates on its own, I know KNO3 is OK to have.
And is there any age limit as to who can handle potentially explosive chemicals, like perchlorates again?

Finally, for the people who store stars mixtures, BP, Flash Powder at home, would that mean you would get into legal troubles should someone from the L. Council make an unannounced visit to your home?

Sodium Hydroxide + Aluminium -->

19 August 2010 - 09:30 PM

OK, this question isn't related to pyrotechnics, but it is related to chemistry.
Having seen the reaction between NaOH and Aluminium a few times, I still can't work out what happens in the equation.
As far as I know, sodium is far more reactive than aluminium to displace it to aluminium hydroxide so the formula,
(NaOH + Al --> AlOH + Na) is wrong, it isn't balanced, I know.

Does anyone have any theories as to what the end products are?

Moreover, in the equation:

sodium hydroxide + aluminium... the aluminium is group 3, and the sodium is group 1.
From what I learnt in chemistry, anything group 4 or less usually lose the electrons in their outer shell in order to form ions with negatively charged elements. In this equation, both reactants are below group 4, therefore, how do they form compounds (ionic or covalent) if there are no negatively charged particles to form the electrostatic bonds??

Granted, the sodium hydroxide will be in solution, but how does this come into the equation???

If I have made some massive blunder that school chemistry doesn't cover, my apologies.

Magnesium Flares

10 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

I want to ask questions about magnesium flares. I have a trayload of magnesium and I am thinking about using them to make a flare.

First, does anyone have any idea where one can get instructions on how to make them? Are there similar to fountains? Are there any magnesium/perchlorate based formulas anyone can suggest? I almost thought about using nitrate and then I remembered that nitrate + magnesium = A + E.

Secondly, how do people using magnesium search and rescue based flares hold them if they burn really hot? And how come we can see the light from every angle even though there's only a small opening at the top?


Crystalising Acetic Acid

31 July 2010 - 10:32 PM

I want to try and make sodium acetate this summer as an experiment.
I understand how to make it and I want to use pure acetic acid and sodium hydroxide.
I have plenty of sodium hydroxide and i just need the acetic acid.
I don't have the equipment to distill vinegar and it would be too inefficient so I am hoping to crystalise it. Wikipedia says it crystalises at 16.5 degrees so if I put it in a fridge, then it should freeze?
Unfortunately it does not. I have some industrial grade malt vinegar (>65% acetic acid) and after a week in the fridge : no result.
I tried putting it in the freezer, IT IS STILL THERE. It has been two weeks and not even a crystal. =(

Something interesting which happened though, I hope someone can explain the following phenomenon:
1. After a few days in the freezer, drops of a clear liquid condensed somehow on the top of the container.
2. When the tapped the top of the container, a few drops fell into the solution of industrial vinegar.
3. The strange part: I heard a hissing/fizzing sound when the drops of clear liquid fell into the solution.

So are there any methods to gain pure acetic acid from vinegar of ANY grade?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks