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Best Al Flake for Glitter/Flitter Stars?


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#1 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 02:29 PM

Looking to move into glitters/flitters and firefly stars effects. Have many, many types of Al & Mg/Al at disposal.

 

My primary question is this: Is there any significant difference between using, both -325 mesh: 1) Dark American Flake Pyro -325, aka old US Bronze #809, or 2) Bright American Flake -325, which apparently has a thicker coating of stearic acid on it?

 

My guess is they behave similarly, but the likely thicker coating on "bright" might slow energy/heat transfer before conflagration, thereby perhaps delaying the burn/effect.

 

Are these interchangeable? Is one an absolute necessity over the other for any given effect?

 

I've heard horror stories of bright Al getting everywhere, but my 5um atomized loves to do that anyways, and any charcoal making/handling day is guaranteed a scolding from the woman for leaving black fingerprints about, but that's sideline information.

 

So:

 

American dark pyro vs American bright, both -325.

 

Interchangeability? Requirements for different uses/effects? One excels at something the other does not? Handling ease (I'm aware bright flake gets everywhere...)?

 

Opinions and favorites?

 

Thanks much!

 

 

 

Edit addition: And what are your thoughts on the utility and fun-factor of course flitter US Bronze Al #812 (12-40 mesh)? Worth adding to the collection? Limited utility? I already have K101 and K102...

Second Edit: Is American Dark Flake -325 close to German Flake 10890, with which I have great fun? I'd heard that the German 10890 is essentially the same thing as US Bronze #809, but would appreciate personal experiences with comparing utility. Tx!


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 09 November 2020 - 02:39 PM.


#2 rogeryermaw

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 03:17 PM

in my experience, the finer the aluminum, the faster the reaction. fine flake aluminum will burn faster and very likely leave little to no trail of spritzels or at least not long lasting. for glitter, spherical is recommended. i have tried with a couple of mesh sizes and a real treat was a test i did with a mix of 325 and 200 mesh mgal. that was the coolest one i made. with mgal, after the charcoal trail went dark, the color seemed to go from orange to a much lighter yellow. mgal also sizzles which was quite a nice effect. 

 

flake aluminums are good in firefly but what i have seen usually calls for stuff that is FAR more coarse than flake bright/dark aluminum.

 

N1 glitter using mixed mesh granular mgal:



#3 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 03:28 PM

Thanks, Roger,

 

I've got a ton of spherical laying about, too. Love, love Alcoa 120 with it's mixed mesh spherical effects.

 

Appreciate that flake will burn faster, but specifically querying specific uses (and differences) between commonly marketed -325 dark Al flake #809 (or similar) vs same -325 bright flake.

 

p.s. Nice N1 w/MgAl...I have all sizes, so intend to replicate that, too. BUT...my primary query is bright vs dark flake utility and any specializations that one has over the other.

 

1) Treat -325 bright flake the same as -325 dark pyro flake for most purposes?

 

2) Is -325 American dark pyro flake = German 10890, or a different beast?

 

Thanks again!

 

SW

 

edited for typo.


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 09 November 2020 - 04:52 PM.


#4 rogeryermaw

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 03:59 PM

mmm...hmmm...i have personally found little use for the fine flakes except for flash and slow flash. one notable exception is for very hard to light stars where max heat is imperative. certain ap strobes come to mind. i have used dark flake in intermediate steps of a step prime system... that shit could light flying rocks!



#5 Bourbon

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 10:15 PM

mmm...hmmm...i have personally found little use for the fine flakes except for flash and slow flash.

Roger, would that be the same for dark and bright?



#6 Richtee

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 02:38 PM

You ever taken a torch to alum foil and busted it up? A blade mill quick like. Try it :{)


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#7 Carbon796

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 03:37 PM

Fine flake Al is also often seen/spec'd in some primes, metal fueled streamers "flitters", a few glitters/tremalons, boosters, rosette comp and some colors. Fine flake Aluminum is probably not as commonly used as much as it once was. Because it's availability and size selection has drastically reduced. While its price point has drastically increased. Whether or not you see much use for it, will depend on what you prefer to build.

Edited by Carbon796, 10 November 2020 - 03:41 PM.

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#8 rogeryermaw

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 07:41 AM

Roger, would that be the same for dark and bright?

you know...i don't guess i've really tested them side by side like that. they do both work in prime mixtures but i think i would probably use the bright if i were making white or silver stars. for me, the dark is much easier to clean up. they both work in slow flash mixes ime but for the bangs, i use dark. haven't tried bright flake in 7/3.


Edited by rogeryermaw, 11 November 2020 - 07:43 AM.

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#9 Bourbon

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 10:16 AM

Fine flake Al is also often seen/spec'd in some primes, metal fueled streamers "flitters", a few glitters/tremalons, boosters, rosette comp and some colors.

Would these you mention be fine "bright" flake also?

 

If I'm understanding this correctly between you and Roger: Bright fine flake is most common for effects? Dark fine flake is most suited for primes, boosters and fast FP?


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#10 rogeryermaw

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Posted 11 November 2020 - 11:08 AM

Would these you mention be fine "bright" flake also?

 

If I'm understanding this correctly between you and Roger: Bright fine flake is most common for effects? Dark fine flake is most suited for primes, boosters and fast FP?

not the end all/be all but yeah that's about how i use em


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#11 rellim

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 06:31 AM

in my experience, the finer the aluminum, the faster the reaction. fine flake aluminum will burn faster and very likely leave little to no trail of spritzels or at least not long lasting. for glitter, spherical is recommended. i have tried with a couple of mesh sizes and a real treat was a test i did with a mix of 325 and 200 mesh mgal. that was the coolest one i made. with mgal, after the charcoal trail went dark, the color seemed to go from orange to a much lighter yellow. mgal also sizzles which was quite a nice effect. 

 

flake aluminums are good in firefly but what i have seen usually calls for stuff that is FAR more coarse than flake bright/dark aluminum.

 

N1 glitter using mixed mesh granular mgal:

Roger, at what rate did you substitute/add MgAl to D1 glitter?



#12 rogeryermaw

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 08:25 AM

same % as the original formula. all mgal no aluminum.



#13 Mumbles

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:02 AM

I treat American dark 809 and Eckhart 10890 interchangably.  I've only gotten to use 809 a few times, and visibly they're a little different looking, but that could be age as well.  IIRC, the 809 was a bit darker and a bit denser.  In the air, they perform close enough to be interchangeable in my opinion. 

 

In stars, I think dark flake and bright flake have their own distinct uses.  As a broad generalization for the same composition, dark flake tends to give a denser and shorter tail from what I've seen.  Bright flake will be a bit more bushy and longer.  I've always chalked this up to the thicker stearic acid coating slowing the reaction and allowing it to hang a bit longer in bright flake.  I prefer bright flake in streamers and flitters for the slower burn and bushier tail.  That said, I wouldn't normally use exclusively -325 mesh flake for a streamer.  If you can find it, there is a coarser bright flake in the 100-300 mesh range that really fills in the tail nicely in combination with -325 mesh and some even coarser flake or atomized aluminum. 

 

Dark flake does have it's uses in streamers however.  If you've ever seen containers of it, you'll know it's quite a bit more dense.  This definitely has it's advantages.  Streamers made from entirely bright flake can be very fluffy in addition to incredibly messy.  Mixing in a denser metal can really help with compaction.  Dark flake, atomized, etc. all work decently for this.  They're much easier to handle and compact in my experience.  It really cuts down on that marshmallow fluff consistency you can sometimes get.  For compositions that are more glitter/flitter than streamer, dark flake can clean up the burn a bit if things are slaggy or there's fallout. 


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#14 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 02:08 PM

I treat American dark 809 and Eckhart 10890 interchangably.  I've only gotten to use 809 a few times, and visibly they're a little different looking, but that could be age as well.  IIRC, the 809 was a bit darker and a bit denser.  In the air, they perform close enough to be interchangeable in my opinion. 

 

In stars, I think dark flake and bright flake have their own distinct uses.  As a broad generalization for the same composition, dark flake tends to give a denser and shorter tail from what I've seen.  Bright flake will be a bit more bushy and longer.  I've always chalked this up to the thicker stearic acid coating slowing the reaction and allowing it to hang a bit longer in bright flake.  I prefer bright flake in streamers and flitters for the slower burn and bushier tail.  That said, I wouldn't normally use exclusively -325 mesh flake for a streamer.  If you can find it, there is a coarser bright flake in the 100-300 mesh range that really fills in the tail nicely in combination with -325 mesh and some even coarser flake or atomized aluminum. 

 

Dark flake does have it's uses in streamers however.  If you've ever seen containers of it, you'll know it's quite a bit more dense.  This definitely has it's advantages.  Streamers made from entirely bright flake can be very fluffy in addition to incredibly messy.  Mixing in a denser metal can really help with compaction.  Dark flake, atomized, etc. all work decently for this.  They're much easier to handle and compact in my experience.  It really cuts down on that marshmallow fluff consistency you can sometimes get.  For compositions that are more glitter/flitter than streamer, dark flake can clean up the burn a bit if things are slaggy or there's fallout. 

Finally. Now that is the useful info I was initially hoping for. I appreciated the limitations of querying only the popularly available -325 American bright vs dark flakes, and will  keep an eye out for a larger flake size. Have a bunch of 10890 so now know not to bother adding US 809 to the collection unless for some special  purpose.

 

Much experience with US Bronze #812 Al (12-40 mesh)? It's flake and not atomized/sperical, I presume?  Besides the large K101/102, I have an AL size gap in my collection, apart from my good ol' Alcoa 120. Small flake (3 um pyro), smallish  flake (10890), small atomized (5 um), smallish atomized (-325 atomized), mixed atomized (Alcoa 120), but nothing in the 100-200 mesh range of flake. So it seems like a gap that needs to be filled. That'd likely be more than sufficient for most applications I  can imagine testing out, but are there any  other Al variants you consider a "must have" in the metals collection? Relative utility of 100-200 mesh (or larger) granular Al, or spherical Al vs the 100-200 mesh flake I'll look for?

 

For mediumish spherical,  I suppose I can just screen separate my Alcoa 120 to desired range (it starts out pretty broad).

 

Appreciate the input. The earlier comments were interesting, but I really was not looking for Al comparisons for salutes--that I have well covered already. Probably my fault for restricting my query to -325 bright vs dark that brought that on, but it seems -325 is the most commonly available size for the "bright flake" called for in various star comps. Though I now see that Pyrochemsource has a larger variety of Al than FWC (who's out of "bright flake" anyways for the foreseeable future, he says). I don't do Skylighter, sorry. Too pricey. And Firefox? Meh! Once was enough with that duo, and what a friggin hassle...avoid at all costs--absolutely the most disorganized and unreliable chem company I've ever dealt with..


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 20 November 2020 - 02:21 PM.


#15 Mumbles

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 03:39 PM

You may see the old US Bronze Grades in a lot of formulas. 

 

808 - American Bright Flake, -325 mesh

809 - American Dark Flake, - 325 mesh

810 - A coarser American bright flake, maybe -100 or -200.  I generally consider this fine flitter.

811 - No idea, but it probably exists.  Don't quote me, but I have a totally unfounded memory this might have actually been an atomized Al.

812 - Medium Flitter, -30+80

813 - Coarse Flitter, -12+40ish

 

810 is what I was specifically referring to when I mentioned a coarser flake, if you ever come across it.  I looked briefly and didn't see anything from a few main suppliers.

 

I have plenty of experience with coarse flake and flitter aluminum.  It's underutilized in my opinion, but one of my favorites.  You can get what's essentially kind of a blend of 812 and 813 from Eckhart as 41813.  I generally use it as is for just general streamer purposes.  I do screen it for use in firefly though.  You really need a solid +30 or +40 mesh aluminum without any fines, otherwise the effect is given away too early.  It's much thinner than K101 and K102, so it takes fire more easily and is a little more floaty.  It makes very nice comets and stars as well.

 

As for what you need or any gaps that need to be filled, it really depends on what you like to make.  Coarse atomized or spherical or granular aluminum can be fun, but really best suited to bigger comets.  The hangtime can be distractingly long for stars.  I'd say a coarser bright flake could find some utility.  You can definitely get by with a blend of normal bright flake and atomized or something though. 


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