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Kno3+wood balanced equation?

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#1 JMan



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Posted 06 March 2018 - 07:26 PM

Wondering if anyone knows the ratio of kno3 to wood (in general) cant find it out since wood has such a complex chemical formula

#2 Mumbles



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Posted 06 March 2018 - 07:58 PM

Sounds like you answered your own question.  Every single source is going to be different, so there is no answer without testing your desired product.


Cellulose: (C6H10O5)n

Hemicellulose: about the same as cellulose

Lignin: approx (C3H3O)n


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#3 JMan



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Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:29 PM

Well darn. I was hoping to not have to soak 50 different 1 inch dowel sections in different concentration solutions but if I ever get around to conclusive results then Ill post them (prolly not very soon Im doing sugar rockets at then moment)

#4 Arthur



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Posted 07 March 2018 - 02:10 AM

Add to that there is no consensus of the true reaction stoichemetry of burning black powder, there are too many ways to produce the known combustion products. Also powder burned under pressure seems to produce different products from powder burned loose. Add in all the variables of different woods and there will be no way of determining the final reaction mechanism.

#5 Baldor



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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:19 AM

If you are talking about soaking solid wood in KNO3, I think the wood will not absorb enough nitrate for an stechiometric reaction. Look at cotton rope impregnated in KNO3.  It's more porous than wood, its made with saturated solution, and it hardly burns.

#6 Differential


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Posted 19 March 2018 - 03:40 PM

Since wood, starch, and sugar are all approximately CH2O, I would use this equation:


5 CH2O + 4KNO3 --> 2K2CO3 + 3CO2 + 5H2O + 2N2

or about 2.7 parts saltpeter to dry​ wood. Like Baldor said, you're not probably not going to get a dowel to soak up nearly 3 times its weight in saltpeter, unless it's a very low density wood like balsa. It would work a lot better with a mix of sawdust and powdered saltpeter.


Also, what kind of wood are you using? "Soft" resinous woods like pine and cedar have a lot of pitch and tar, so you would also need more oxidizer. Then again, the resin might make them easier to light.

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