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whats in this shell I bought and opened?


eonblue68

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I've been in to Pyro for a few months now and make small shells, fountains and rockets. This 4th I purchased some mortar shells from the local fireworks stand. I opened one to compare to my own. What I found was a whiteish looking powder surrounding the stars inside. I took a half a teaspoon of it and lit it and was like OMG it ignited like a flash powder but didn't have the color of flash that I've made. Like I said it looked white, kinda dingy color, not a black powder obviously. Can anyone tell me what this could be? It was the consistency of baby powder, had somewhat of a sulfur smell to it.

Thanks

Jimmy

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It is flash powder indeed. I guess the components are potassium perchlorate, bright flake aluminum and sulfur. Bright flake aluminum is cheaper than German dark. To increase sensitivity and power sulfur is added
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Its flash. In almost all of those commercial shells it is very easy to see the flash in the center of the shell when it breaks. Thats what makes those small shells appear to have such big burst diameters.

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It is flash powder indeed. I guess the components are potassium perchlorate, bright flake aluminum and sulfur. Bright flake aluminum is cheaper than German dark. To increase sensitivity and power sulfur is added

 

It would be basically impossible to confuse flash containing bright Al for any sort of white powder.

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Over at fireworking i read that ned said: Metall containing burst charges got banned.

So i think that flash is quite unlikely.

Maybe a test for perc and chlorate would be a good starting point. After that maybe test for the standart whistle chems and sulfur.

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It is probably a whistle mix made with perchlorate and potassium hydrogen phthalate. I guess it's possible they added sulfur but it shouldn't be needed.
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  • 4 weeks later...

Guys....

 

Most hot consumer 1.75" artillery shells are broken with whistle mix along with the traditional BP coated or KP coated rice hulls. Whistle mix is a combination of perchlorate and potassium/sodium benzoate. I burns nearly as fast as flash in powdered form but with a more orange light instead of the white light of flash containing metal fuels. In fact in Mexico their lower grades of firecrackers and salutes use whistle mix. Flash broken shells are not allowed in consumer fireworks per CPSC regulations because it is considered to be a report mixture instead of a break. The maximum allowed is 2 grains which isn't going to do much in a shell. Now with that being said flash powder is used in several consumer shells that are make it to our shores untested. 1.3/B shells can use all the flash powder they want although once you use too much it will either destroy or fail to ignite the stars. It does make quite a bang though.

 

The powder in the aforementioned shells is likely as many here have said, plain whistle mix. It got it's dingy color from the other chemicals in the shell. Most likely the stars.

Edited by countryboy7978
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"The maximum allowed is 2 grains which isn't going to do much in a shell."

 

Wow, 2 grains that sure is potent stuff........... :D grams??

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2 grains is about right in terms of grains the mass unit, not physical particle. The last I read, you could have 50mg in ground devices like firecrackers, and 140mg in aerial devices. 2 grains is right about 130mg.

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