Name of composition: OTC Blues
Composition Type: Star
Color/Effect: Blue star composition
CuCl2(I used the anhydrate form): 3
CuO: 2(using an additional 2 parts of the chloride should also work)
Any Precautions/Incompatabilities: Normal KClO3 incompatibilities(so avoid sulfur).
Well, I did indeed make this star composition using entirely OTC materials and it does indeed burn a decent blue in addition to burning a pretty nice speed and brightness. First I'll give the details of the preparation of the star once all the chemicals are made and then I'll give the details of making all the chemicals from OTC things.
Mix together finely powdered sucralose, KClO3, anhydrous CuCl2, and CuO. Use common sense on how to do this(ie, don't ball mill them together). probably using the diapering method would be good. I myself only made about 5g test batch which I just mixed together with a plastic spoon on a glass ashtray.
Next, dissolve nitrocellulose in acetone or MEK(MEK was on hand so I used it instead of acetone) to make a thick solution of NC. I find it best to make a fairly thick solution at first and then add more solvent as needed while mixing with the powder until its a good star making consistency. I used some homemade NC. It was the dinitrate or less, not the trinitrate since I had made it to use for binding stars. Cut the stars to the desired size. Allow them to dry. While they're drying of the acetone they'll pick up some water from the air because the CuCl2 is hydroscopic. This results in the stars burning rather shitty and also being a little soft like rather hard rubber. Thus it is necessary to heat the stars to dry them. I heated mine on a cheap electric hotplate set at about 250F for like an hour. This dried them so they burn beautifully. I currently am storing them in a ziplock bag with some prills of calcium chloride to keep them dry. A decent coating of NC laquer after drying them may also work to keep them dry.
Now for the OTC preperation/procurement of all the chems.
KClO3 was made in a chlorate cell starting with KCl(to help ensure there was no sodium contaminating it). My first testing of such a composition started with KClO3 made from calcium hypochlorite and KCl(some copper sulfate solution was added to a solution of the KClO3 to precipitate any remaining calcium. This also resulted in the presence of CuCl2 when it was dried(at around 250 on the hotplate for a while). The chlorate from this was quite inferior to that made in the chlorate cell.
Sucralose is just the main ingredient in Splenda brand sweetener. You can buy boxes of it at the grocery store. It comes as low density granules(it's much sweeter than sugar per gram but they make it so on cup per cup basis its equivalent) which are easily powdered.
CuO: I made mine by precipitating copper carbonate from a solution of CuSO4 and Na2CO3(NaHCO3 should also suffice) and then heating the copper carbonate in a copper crucible(copper pipe endcap) over a propane torch. This heating method is probably overkill. It decomposes at a fairly low temperature. A stove probably can be used. Mumble's site also has a method which uses NaOH instead of the carbonate. Same basic method though.
CuCl2: CuSO4 and CaCl2 solution were mixed to precipitate the insoluble CaSO4. Note that CaSO4 is fairly soluble for a salt considered insoluble. Thus a slight excess of CuSO4 may not be a bad idea. Filter and then boil down the CuCl2 solution(more Calcium sulfate will precipitate as it boils down since the calcium sulfate precipitation is slower than most double replacements, I think this is probably because of the not entirely ionic nature of the copper salts). As the volume gets lower, filter/decant out the additional calcium sulfate and then finish boiling down the CuCl2 solution until a dry green substance is obtained. This can be dehydrated to the brown anydrate if desired(I did this although it's not really necessary since you'll have to dry the stars again later).
The synthesis of nitrocellulose is widely known.
This does indeed work to make nice blue stars if one absolutely cannot order things online. It does however take more effort than usual to prepare the stars. Hence the name "OTC Blues" as opposed to just "OTC Blue".
I also think I may have found a way to make OTC red stars but still need to look into it. If I succeed I'll make a red , white, and blue starred shell(the white stars being a failed attempt at blue which used only CuO instead of CuCl2). I'll try to get a video but my video camera has been giving me troubles.
That's a video clip of my initial attempt which used the crappy chlorate made from Ca(ClO)2. The actual color of that test was significantly better than in the video and the composition posted above is a better blue than that initial attempt shown in the video.
Just a safety tip:
Combining chlorates with soluble copper compounds is not wise because of the possible formation of copper chlorate that is extremely reactive!
Even if the copper salt is used in its anhydrous form and the composition is bound with non-aqueous solvents, this composition cannot be considered as safe and should not be stored!
If you have access to potassium chlorate, much safer and more useful compositions are based on cuprous chloride (CuCl or copper(I) chloride), copper oxychloride or basic copper carbonate.
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