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Trouble with green


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Hi All,


First off, thanks for the wealth of info on this forum. Between here and a few other places, I've gathered enough info to get to a point where I can build mines and basic shells and rockets.


So far I've nailed the charcoal, D1 glitter, granite, red, blue (thanks 50AE, your comp helped me tweak mine) and yellow but I've had some trouble with green. I've tried a few different comps so far but they all look yellow. I'm limited to potassium chlorate as an oxidiser because I have to make it myself and would strongly prefer not to have to make barium chlorate.


I started with organic green from shimizu, swapping the kclo4 for chlorate and palron for PVC


28 BaNO3

48 KClO3

14 Red Gum


5 Dextrin


This one was yellow so tried Hardt 3 & 4 using chlorate


BaNO3 34

KClO3 38

Red Gum 11.5

Charcoal 11.5

Dextrin 5


BaNO3 30

KClO3 44

Red Gum 13

Charcoal 4


Dextrin 4


After these I tried probably 10 more comps adjusting these ratios a little, some I added a little 200 mesh aluminium because I thought the temp needed to be higher. All were 5g at a time powdered. I know the colour/burn rate wont be the same as the final star but these weren't even close like with my other comps


I don't want to rule it out but the BaNO3 should be pure. It was purchased from a pyro supplier and I haven't had any problems with their other chems. Assay claims 99.5% with less than 0.005% Sodium. I am certain of the purity of my KClO3 because it has already made beautiful blues and reds.


I have the following chems that I think are relevent, I may have others required just suggest.





Zinc Dust (would strongly prefer to keep this for granites)

Aluminium (200 mesh)

Red Gum

Pine Charcoal




This has been driving me crazy, I haven't hit a roadblock this hard since learing the importance of charcoal type for making useable BP.

Any suggestions on a comp that will get me to a solid green. It doesn't have to be perfect, just something that is unmistakeably green



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Do you have access to, or can you get Mg/Al, and either parlon or saran ?
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I'm going to second what Carbon said. You want MgAl.


Without using Barium chlorate, green REALLY suffers with no metal fuel. Even Ammonium perchlorate greens really improve with some metal.


With MgAl a decent green is easy as 60% Barium nitrate, 15% MgAl, 15% PVC, 5% sulfur and 5% Dextrin. There are many other formulas using basic coloured chemicals, including MgAl.


While I do not know how much experience you have, or what set up you have to work in, I do suggest you get KClO4 and try not to use KClO3 unless it's needed (like coloured smoke).


Are you aware of the nitrate-chlorate-reactive metal (Al, MgAl, Mg, Zn) incompatibility?


You have just Dextrose, but not Dextrin?

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Thanks for the responses,


Sorry typo, meant dextrin. I do have Dextrose too but that's for brewing not burning :P


Unless someone knows of a good source who will ship to Aus, Magnalium is about $60/kg here. In terms of colour fuel, has anyone been able to produce something acceptable with straight up Al as its only about $20/kg? Worst case, I can get my hands on some magnalium but Al is much easier, faster and cheaper for me.


Our local Saran brand is LDPE, I can get parlon but its on the expensive side compared to PVC.


As I don't have magnalium on hand, I might try a little veline green and the BaNO3-MgAl-PVC-S-Dex with Al and see what happens. Worst case, more yellow and time to find some cheaper MgAl


As much as I would love to use KClO4, I can't get it shipped here to my knowledge and local supply is $80/kg. Right now I've got a chlorate cell setup and don't really have the space/equipment resources to get it to perc. Instead I just take the necessary precautions working with chlorate. Also yes, I am aware of the dangers working with nitrate/metal, chlorate/metal.

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I use Hardt Green #5 changed up a little. I'm sure the original looks as awsome as all of Hardts comps do, I changed some things to fit what chems I have.




Barium Nitrate 56

Red Gum 7

Magnalium 200 mesh 17

PVC 15

Dextrin 5


Changed Up


Barium Nitrate 56

Sulfur 7

Aluminum flake 3 micron 8

Aluminum flake 100 mesh 8

Parlon 15

Dextrin 5


Heres a short video I just made, just for you :P of the changed comp still powder. It looks better the higher it gets

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Thanks Sparx,


Exactly what I'm after.

Tried both variations with 300mesh Al + PVC. Remarkably hard to light and lackluster. Id say the lack of dark pyro flake is all the difference. Slowly coming to the realisation Im just going to have to source some MgAl.


Just had a thought though. I've got cheap and easy 5 micron Zinc dust (same price/availability as Al). I'll try subbing that in tomorrow and see what happens. Should get some green contribution from the zinc plus fuel the BaNO3 nicely. Saw a vid maybe on here (can't remember) of MgNO3 + Zinc dust. The poster mistakenly thought the green was from the MgNO3. Hoping BaNO3 plus Zinc will be a solid deep green

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Twig gonover to your next scrap metall dealer and get some Al and Mg and make your own MgAl. Easy and shoulb be arouhd 10 $ / kg
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there are a few in Pyrocolor Harmony that I would try if I were you, I am hesitant to share them, though, because they contain potassium chlorate and sulfur. They are also "antique" so probably wouldnt stand out with other colors that you are using.

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While I don't want to put you off trying Zinc with Barium nitrate, I am interested in how it will work, I really doubt you'll get a solid, deep green.


Firstly Zinc may not burn hot enough, secondly you need chlorine in there if you want anything that actually resembles green (otherwise barium is an excellent white emitter... it is used for this), and most convincingly, zinc gives such cloudy flames that even if there was a good green emission from the barium, the zinc would make it milky.


I may be wrong about the first point though, and if you do add some PVC to the formula you may indeed get a decent green, and if not, perhaps some other effect?


Ultimately I think Zinc dust is best mixed with BP for 'greens'... or just mixed with sulfur and burned in large piles. Ok, I know this sounds like a waste but it's quite addictive. If your Zinc is from amps then I've used the same stuff. It's ruthlessly reactive for zinc due to the particle size, so I used 60% in a formula (35% BP, 5% dex) and it was still incredibly fast burning.


To be honest, while $60 a kilo MgAl and $80 a kilo KP is a lot more expensive than many people pay, I would still be willing to pay that to get them if I had to.

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The dark alum flake or eckart 5413 in my case makes all the difference yes.


You could replace some of the barium nitrate with P. chlorate, swap the sulfur for airfloat charcoal decrease the pvc and increase the aluminum you have.


something like this comes to mind


barium nitrate - 40

p. chlorate - 20

200 mesh aluminum - 17

c.coal - 7

pvc - 12

dextrin - 4


wet with solution of 70% isop alcohol and 2% boric acid.

I use perchlorate. When I need a comp to burn hotter, brighter and easier I increase the perchlorate, sulfur and aluminum and decrease the parlon and dextrin. For you, the chlorate will make it easier to light and burn hotter increasing the aluminum while replacing the sulfur with c.coal (for safety). I'm no chemist, I'm very much a novice with trial and error.

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I may be overblowing this issue.


I know there are many formulas which contain chlorate, nitrate and aluminium, and some of these seem reputable.


However I don't trust them. I'll mix KNO3 and Aluminum all day with no worries, and I rarely use any boric acid. In most cases the nitrate-aluminium reaction does not bother me. It usually requires extreme conditions (a large damp pile in a warm location) to heat up enough to ignite, or even significantly alter the performance.


But even a slight reaction creates Ammonia. Ammonia and chlorate is a very serious incompatibility, considered worse than chlorate and sulfur.


I'd be happier mixing Potassium chlorate with sulfur than I would be mixing a chlorate, a nitrate and aluminium.

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Good point. Would you suggest then to use antimony Trisulfide instead of the chlorate and retain the sulfur to ease lighting?

like this maybe?


B.nitrate 50

Antimony tri 6

sulfur 7

alum 17

parlon/pvc 15

dex 5

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Antimony trisulfide burns white, and would likely damage the color. I'd also have some concerns about the high charcoal content in the other formula you recommended for similar color purity issues. I also agree with Seymour on the chlorate and nitrate issue. Normally barium nitrate doesn't undergo the typical nitrate/aluminum reaction since it's hydroxide is so insoluble. However, I wouldn't want to take any chances.


Organic greens are generally fairly tough to do well without barium chlorate. The Hardt ones tend to be some of the best for most things. I take it you're finding these formulas second hand though, and don't actually own the book. In the caption for the table these come from, it's plainly stated that the color for 3 is poor and 4 is only slightly better.


When adding metals, magnalium is usually better than aluminum. One trick is to use potassium benzoate instead as sort of a pseudo-metal. It ups the flame temperature and burn rate some, without introducing any additional colorants like real metals do. When using metals, you need to use additional chlorine to turn the normally white aluminum or magnesium oxides into the optically transparent (in the visible region) chlorides.

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Mums ..... Your the second person to address the use of K-Benz in a color star comp as a "filler type of material" or partial metal replacement , that helps the burn rate but doesnt sacrifice the color. Very interesting !!! I have always wanted to give it a try, but never remember that nifty trick when I get in the star rolling frenzy.

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Thanks to all the replies, mumbles, the k-benz sounds like a cool idea, shame I have Na-benz instead.


Making MgAl will be in the cards for the future, just dont have the space right now. Can litterally get tons of turnings from our machine shop so it was never an issue of sourcing


I've had a few nights to tinker and no results I'm happy with. I've decided to put it on the backburner to save my sanity while I wait for BaNO3 from another supplier and some magnalium.


Here are some of my findings so far


-Subbing Zn for MgAl in any comps with more than 5% PVC yielded orange toward the yellow side. Extra PVC skewed it towards red. Think rich diesel mix burning.I'm wondering if ZnCl is the culprit. Maybe one day I'll test it more scientifically taking notes


-Al/BaNO3/KClO3 comps were so blinding they could have been purple for all I know. Seriously though, looking at the light cast on the walls, the colour was really washed out so difficult to tell if I was getting any significant green. On the safety note, I'm not really concerned as its burnt in under a minute from mixing, its not getting wet and batch size is so small, even if it decided it wanted to go up while mixing, it would not cause any problems. I just want to prove the BaNO3 before I work out a safe and reliable star comp


-All organic formulas (many different ones from around the net) burned fast thanks to the chlorate but nothing distinctly green, some could be called yellow-green if you squint and wished really hard


Out of curiosity, is everyone ball milling the BaNO3? I just quickly blade milled mine before use so its not the finest. I'm wondering if that could be a cause of the difficulty in lighting Hard #5 using Al


Once I get the new chems and reliably get some green, I'm curious to start experimenting with the conditions that Zn produces aqua/green


On a side note. In the right proportions, fine and well mixed Zn + S burns at a rate that would put my best BP to shame. From a tiny pile tested on a block of pine, there was brief green flash and woosh before the air was filled with superfine wisps of what I assumed were ZnS strands


I've googled this pretty hard but its been incoclusive, does anyone know a little about the conditions under which copper/copperII oxide produce green and blue flames? Anyone know if its been attempted to get green from copper(salts) (ignoring the KNO3 comp ive seen in another recent thread)?

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For blue, you need chlorine around. I honestly haven't the slightest idea what make it sometimes burn green. Copper (II) Chloride and alcohol burns with a green-blue flame, and there is clearly chlorine around there.


There is a copper metal based green here that may be of interest to you. Most of the other green use barium nitrate and Mg. http://www.skylighter.com/fireworks/how-to-make/copper-green-blue-fireworks-stars.asp

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hi mumbles,
what is the use of potassium bromate in blue star composition. ..how hazardous is potassium bromate as compared to potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate?
what incompatibility and safety precautions to follow with this chemical? ?
can I replace potassium chlorate with potassium bromate in blue star that is based on potassium chlorate, cupric oxide, hexamine, parlon and dextrin.

Edited by swapnilsutar1988
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  • 6 months later...



This threads been dead for a while but I thought I would report back so others can see the paths not to take.


After alot of Nitrate and carbonate experimenting with KClO3, I gave up on organic greens. The best I got was Shimizu low temp green and this is tilted far to the yellow side. I also didn't mess with metallic fuels as they would be far too bright compared to my other beutiful chlorate organics perfect for 2" shells and 3" shell of shells.


It was deeply frustrating to have red, blue, purple, orange, yellow all from simple and cheap ceramic store supplies but BaCO3 just couldn't work .


I've had alot of progress in making all the base chems, it's annoying not having reliable pyro sources but I have learnt so much more in making eveything from scratch. Makes you appreciate it more I think.


-Poor quality Al powder. The stuff I had was sourced for cold casting, I'm now estimating its somewhere around the 200 mesh mark. There was no chance this was ever going to be an adequate metallic fuel. Makes great D1 and streamers though ;). I haven't tried finer stuff but it could possibly work.


-K-Benzoate. At the time, all I had was Na-Benzoate which would have ruined the colour. I recently found a cheap and plentiful supply of K-Sorbate as a steriliser at the brew shop, so decided to give it a shot (this works reasonaby for whistle booster in the same ratios as benzo). I started with Shimizu green with KClO3 subbed, varying KClO3, BaNO3 and K-Sorbate ratios. I tried a good number of proportions, some with oxidiser rich, some fuel rich and upping chlorine donor. K-Sorbate had little effect on colour saturation but did a hell of a job controlling burn rate. Even small proportions added to the otherwise tame dry powder mix, upped the burn rate to equal my fastest black powder with some serious light output


-MgAl. I finally decided to DIY. All it took was a bit of PPE, a terracotta pot, repurposed hair drier, bag of charcoal and a can of tomatoes. Mg was surprisingly easy to find. First scrap for cash place I went to had hundreds of Kg's of Mg water heater anodes for $5/kg. Haven't tried any BaNO3 formula's with it yet but I assume they'll be fine. I'll wait for some SrNO3 to pair up some nice bright red and green stars


-Ba(ClO3)2. Finally some success. My KClO3 cell has had a few refinements and I can solidly puch out 1.5kgs a week so I have a bit of stock built up. As far as I have been able to source, bulk KCl is only available as $100/25kg horse nutrition additive or $20/25kg red fertiliser Muriate of potash which has an incredibly frustrating to remove fine, red and greasy impurity assumed to be iron oxide. Once I had readjusted my perspective to the effort of dissolving, filtering and recrystalising 25kg of KCl, I figured BaCO3 + HCl -> BaCl2 wouldn't be too much harder and I already had a surplus of KClO3. BaCO3 is seriously cheap at about $3 per kg at the ceramics supplier for 1-5kg ammounts and 30% HCl is about $2-3 per litre. For those without a good source of BaCl and ALOT of patience to filter out the insoluble crap after the reaction, it makes a viable feedstock for a Ba(ClO3)2 cell.


The video attached is just 80-20 Ba-Chlorate Redgum from my ceramic grade BaCO3 feedstock cell . The video quality is not great but in person it looked as deep and beautiful as other youtube Ba-Chlorate Shellac videos I've seen.


So I can reduce the Ba-Chlorate usage, I'll probably give Hardt #1 a shot and make up some stars to complete my rainbow. Anyone used it before? Hows the colour?


Another recent revelation I've had is that redgum is easier to extract from grass trees than I thought. Possibly the one advantage of pyro down under, limitless red gum...


All in all, I'm in a pretty good mood :)






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There are big issues with international shipment of powdered metals, BUT some people will sell small ingots that you mill to dust yourself.

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