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Flash powder safety


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#1 Vrizla

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 05:17 PM

Hi everyone it's been a while since I've been on, too busy with my job. I have completed most of all the projects on turbo pyro and had a blast doing it. (Pardon the pun lol) I want to start experimenting with shells with a flash report. I am only going to make 1 gram at a time 70/30 perchlorate aluminum using the diapering method. Supposedly echart 5413 HS is the king of flash, but I have read lots of safety information on making flash, and some of the material says that flash powder made with single micron aluminum is dangerous. That it is sensitive to static and impact can degrade over time and spontaneously combust. Can someone elaborate on the subject and tell me which information is true. Also I have read that lye is used in paper production. Could there be enough of a trace left over in paper to contaminate my flash? Is there special paper that should be used for diapering

Edited by Vrizla, 07 March 2010 - 05:59 PM.

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#2 dagabu

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 08:07 PM

Virzla,

Let me take a page right from Passfire in dealing with the same subject earlier today. This is from Ned Gorski, one of the most respected names in amateur pyrotechnics today:

"what is the strongest and safest flash to make
Jeff


Jeff, sort of like "military intelligence" or "jumbo shrimp", you've come up a somewhat self-contradictory mixture of notions,,an oxymoron.
The "strongest" flash would more than likely be one of the more dangerous to make.
The "safest" flash would more than likely be pretty weak.

And, in fact, you've asked about a pyro mixture which is itself a contradiction in terms: flash powder is about the simplest and easiest of fireworks creations, being only a simple dry mixture of chemicals. And flash is about the most powerful and most dangerous of the common fireworks mixtures some of us work with.
More than a few of us still steer clear of working with it, it can make folks so nervous to work with.
Flash powder can ruin your life in an instant.

And, you do not need flash powder to dabble creatively in the pyrotechnic arts, although for many of us, salutes and flash powder are some of the first things we are drawn to, and interested in learning about.

So, it would be hypocritical of us to 'judge' you for asking your question, but knowing what we know, it would be irresponsible to answer you completely honestly.

You've walked up to a bunch of creative fireworks hobbyists, for whom flash is a mildly interesting addition to some pyro devices, but also for whom the more creative and scientific and artistic aspects of this art call our name much louder.

You've walked up and asked this group the One question many young, curious, but not very pyro-educated, and perhaps even irresponsible, kids, who are sometimes referred to as Kewl-Bomerz, would ask. It might be one of the first questions many of us would have asked once upon a time, though, so you Might be worth a bit of indulgence.

In this group, it would be considered completely irresponsible to answer your question completely honestly, but it might also be irresponsible to send you on your way with a somewhat hypocritical, gruff, rebuff. That might just send you looking somewhere else, only to get into trouble. There's a huge amount of bad info out there on the internet and elsewhere.

So here goes. You might consider, if you are truly curious about this fireworks art, strolling up and listening for a bit.. Maybe asking a few curious and respectful qustions. You Might be worth some respectful answers. We don't know that, though, so we'd be careful with you.

There is no safe flash powder. If you hear of any formulas which use chlorate, avoid them. If you hear of formulas which have more than two ingredients in a ratio of about 7/3, avoid them. Don't mix anything you don't definitely have some good info on. Don't do anything that someone you respect hasn't OK'd, and coached you on. There are relatively less-dangerous flash powders, and ones which can go off if you rub them the wrong way. There are ways to mix flash which are relatively less dangerous, and ways to mix it which are pretty much guaranteed to risk setting it off.

And in the end, flash is about the most powerful, most dangerous, easiest to make, easiest to get into trouble with, most on the edge of the law, most impressive at a gut level, least impressive on an artistic level, stuff in pyro.

If this scares you out of here, that's good.
If this invites you in here with the right attitude, good.
Mostly don't do anything you don't really know much about, don't hurt yourself, don't ask us to violate principles which we consider to be very important, and don't cast a bad light on an art which is tough enough to maintain in our society as it is..

Maybe more of an answer than you bargained for,,maybe just the one you need.
ned"
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#3 al93535

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:16 PM

Any flash is dangerous! 5413 is an excellent grade of aluminum for flash! When you make flash with quality Potassium perchlorate and 5413 super H aluminum it will be storage stable. It will not spontaneously combust, unless you added something else or got it wet. It IS static sensitive, as well as impact sensitive. Don't worry about the paper, just use a big enough piece. Clean up spills of flash immediately!

I always spray myself, tubs and paper with anti-static spray before making flash powders.
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#4 xetap

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 09:47 PM

Ideally, you wouldn't store flash in the first place- especially w/o an approved magazine.

#5 50AE

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:13 AM

I think the other members have told you enough. There is no safe flash powder. There are differences between reactivity, sensibility and energy output between every mix. You should choose the best suitable for you. As for me, I'm very satisfied with the 5:3:2 nitrate flash. Maybe it won't work for crossettes, but it's ideal for small shells and salute inserts.

#6 Vrizla

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 08:49 AM

I know there is no safe flash. I am respectful and fearful of it and all other pyrotechnic mixtures. I was just wondering if5413 HS is less stable then otheraluminum.

Edited by Vrizla, 08 March 2010 - 08:49 AM.

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#7 Mumbles

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:28 AM

I don't think any type of quality produced aluminum will make flash any more dangerous than another from an impact or static perspective as long as you're using 7/3. It may be more dangerous in the sense that if it does go off, it will cause more damage, but that is about it. Given that, it certainly wouldn't make me any more uneasy about using it.

It sounds like you've done your homework and have at least a stable basis. I still recommend 7/3 perc/Al over a nitrate based one. The nitrate ones have their uses for boosting and slower flashes, but for smaller salutes or crossettes, I think the nitrates just don't fit the bill.

I also highly second Al's suggestion of the anti-static spray. It is sold in the laundry isle at the store. Static Guard is a common brand. Between it, and all cotton clothing, it is one of the cheapest precautions you can make. Watch the relative humidity too. Some people recommend making flash with at least 60%. Early morning is usually pretty wet FYI, plus you'll be the most careful and mentally sharp.
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#8 dagabu

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 11:04 AM

I take a page right from Alberts play book (little Big Shots) and dump a quart of water on my concrete shop floor before I start work. The humidity reaches the comfortable lever within minutes and no static at all.

D
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#9 Cookieman

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:04 PM

Hi everyone it's been a while since I've been on, too busy with my job. I have completed most of all the projects on turbo pyro and had a blast doing it. (Pardon the pun lol) I want to start experimenting with shells with a flash report. I am only going to make 1 gram at a time 70/30 perchlorate aluminum using the diapering method. Supposedly echart 5413 HS is the king of flash, but I have read lots of safety information on making flash, and some of the material says that flash powder made with single micron aluminum is dangerous. That it is sensitive to static and impact can degrade over time and spontaneously combust. Can someone elaborate on the subject and tell me which information is true. Also I have read that lye is used in paper production. Could there be enough of a trace left over in paper to contaminate my flash? Is there special paper that should be used for diapering



Vrizla,

I think Ned said it best. As far as Flash powder goes, the dangers and risks outweigh the benefits. If your going to make a safe flash powder use 7/3 Kclo4 and 5413H Al. You can also use Indian blackhead which is just as good.As for finding Al which is 1 micron, good luck. As far as I know the military uses 1 micron Al.and is hard to obtain unless you know someone. The 5413H is 3 micron porous flake and the Indian Blackhead is 2 to 3 if I'm not mistaken. When I make my flash powder I usually steal my wifes static guard and spray myself with it. Also make sure your working in an clean envirnement where is no source of ignition using the diaper method.If your going to store it, I store mine in an antistatic bag that I get from the computer store. If you want to know which flash powder is most powerfull, I have tested and tried 50/50 Potassium permanganate and Magnalium. This flash powder is the most powerfull and also the most sensitive.It has absolutely no use in pyrotecknics whatsoever. The only reason I used it was to remove a 2 foot tree stump for my father in law.Even then, we were at a safe distance and was ignited by remote.
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#10 xetap

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 10:55 PM

If you want to know which flash powder is most powerfull, I have tested and tried 50/50 Potassium permanganate and Magnalium. This flash powder is the most powerfull

This is based on what?

#11 Gunzway

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:16 AM

I have tested and tried 50/50 Potassium permanganate and Magnalium. This flash powder is the most powerfull and also the most sensitive.It has absolutely no use in pyrotecknics whatsoever. The only reason I used it was to remove a 2 foot tree stump for my father in law.Even then, we were at a safe distance and was ignited by remote.


You made enough KMnO4/MgAl flash powder to remove a 2ft tree stump? Dude... I'm not sure as how evidence goes, but if it isn't the most powerful it is still enough to take your fingers off in small quantities with ease. Most KMnO4 flash powders, even saying 'one gram' makes me quiver to the thought if something were to go wrong.



That video is said to be "roughly 5mg". That just gives you an indication of how powerful it is. Now, enough to remove a 2ft tree stump. That's not even having balls, that's stupid Cookie Man. Even if it's ignited by remote, you had to be close to it at points of time. The stuff is sensitive as heck and not to mention extremely powerful. Frankly, I would be kissing God's ass every night that you're not dead. Frankly, what you just said is perhaps one of the stupidest things I've heard someone ever do with energetic materials. Perhaps the only person to out beat you is Phone, but he's paid his price. I sincerely hope you never touch KMnO4 again and you realize how lucky you must be.

#12 Ralph

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 05:29 AM

This is based on what?


based on the observations of someone with a mental disorder called poly kewl Dysexecutive Syndrome


I personally have no respect for anyone who has made enough of such a retarded flash comp to blow up a tree stump let alone a 2ft one (and this is coming from a guy with an avatar like mine)

Edited by Ralph, 14 March 2010 - 05:29 AM.

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#13 FREAKYDUTCHMEN

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 06:58 AM

I believe the 5413H is quite dangerous, I'm told by a factory owner.
It can be too reactive.

For flash, indianblack is good enough, you won't notice a real difference. And you'd better play with amounts or with the formula to get a good break or salute.

#14 50AE

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 07:15 AM

....


Pyros can be very rough to someone who's doing such extreme experiments like you.
I want to be always nice with people, so I'll tell it to you the easy way:
Don't mess with KMnO4 flash compositions.


If you wish to stay in good health, please don't touch this stuff anymore. The most of us here will say the same thing just to help you. KMnO4 doesn't have its place in pyrotechnics, it isn't used for a good reason. I know a few local people that had permanganate compositions self ignited, luckily without accident.

Edited by 50AE, 14 March 2010 - 10:47 AM.


#15 NightHawkInLight

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 07:15 AM

based on the observations of someone with a mental disorder called poly kewl Dysexecutive Syndrome


I personally have no respect for anyone who has made enough of such a retarded flash comp to blow up a tree stump let alone a 2ft one (and this is coming from a guy with an avatar like mine)

Alright alright, yes that was terribly unintelligent to do, and even less intelligent to admit to, but there's no reason to get personal about it. The guy's a new member and I think everyone has gone through a stage of stupidity. Most times it's not as severe, sometimes it's even worse. He needs a kick from us all to make him realize just how bad of an idea something like that is, but no disrespect. At least, not unless he refuses to quit doing such things.

#16 TheSidewinder

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 09:57 AM

And now that you've all expressed your opinions.....

Permanganate-based Flash is bad news. Period. Saying you were at a safe distance is irrelevant. As was pointed out, you had to mix it. And in doing so, you risked your life. There's a very good reason the pro's don't use it, and that's partly due to its instability. It can self-ignite without warning.

You were lucky. Don't push your luck.
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#17 Cookieman

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:58 AM

based on the observations of someone with a mental disorder called poly kewl Dysexecutive Syndrome


I personally have no respect for anyone who has made enough of such a retarded flash comp to blow up a tree stump let alone a 2ft one (and this is coming from a guy with an avatar like mine)



As I said before, this comp. has no use in pyrotecknics, and the member was asking which is the most powerfull flash powder.I was in no way indicating to him to go ahead and try it. And if you think I have Polly keel dysexecutive syndrome which is how you spell it ,I think your wrong.I always take all the neccessary precautions when I'm doing something. It's always nice of you guys to leave such nice comments.Is that how you welcome everyone to the forum?
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#18 Miech

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 12:23 PM

In pyrotechnics there is a 10th logarithmic relationship between ignorance and the number and severeness of accidents happening to you. Although it might sound arrogant, we actually do know a lot of things better then you do. When making a composition that is as unstable as permanganate flash, and in the quantities you did, your precautions don't matter that much anymore. You're going to kill yourself anyway. Now imagine how your family would feel about having the police picking up small pieces of you with a pair of pliers and putting those small pieces of you in a bag for investigation. Is it really worth it? NO, NOT AT ALL!!! Now go find yourself another hobby, and stop bothering us with your stupid and insane actions.

Edit: And yes, I'm having a bad day...

Edited by Miech, 14 March 2010 - 12:24 PM.

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#19 FrankRizzo

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 01:25 PM

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#20 Ventsi

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 06:19 PM

I really don't see what all the hoopla about using dark aluminum is. Indian and 5143H are both fairly expensive and all they do is make things more sensitive. I use Crackers Bright Aluminum. Its supposedly 12micron/1200mesh which I find hard to believe but it makes some excellent flash. Its way cheaper, not as sensitive and not as sharp when used for a booster.
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