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Looking for a starting point


BurritoBandito

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Could anyone recommend a good starting point for a chemistry virgin to begin learning the basics of pyro related chemistry? For example understanding why some oxyanions work better with some fuels than others. What is going on at a molecular level with explosives? Are these even the right questions to be asking?

 

Edit: Maybe this question belongs under "Newbie Questions"?

Edited by BurritoBandito
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Could anyone recommend a good starting point for a chemistry virgin to begin learning the basics of pyro related chemistry? For example understanding why some oxyanions work better with some fuels than others. What is going on at a molecular level with explosives? Are these even the right questions to be asking?

Edit: Maybe this question belongs under "Newbie Questions"?

 

Two books come to mind:

 

Chemistry of Pyrotechnics by Conkling, and

Military and Civilian Pyrotechnics by Ehlern.

 

After a careful study of those two, you should have a fundamental understanding of the subject.

 

Good luck.

 

WSM

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@WSM: Thanks you sir.

 

Edit: Removed links to PDF files.

Edited by BurritoBandito
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Lol, okay nater. Sorry, I didn't think of it as stealing. It popped up the PDFs when I did a google search for the title/author. If there's one thing to be said about the members of this forum it's that they have some integrity.
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  • 3 years later...

WSM, you're the best!

Thank you for those books. But i have again one question:

Does it matter if i don't have/use a Ball mill?

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Your first project should be decent ball mill. Good black powder is the main ingredient in pyro and everything else will suffer if you don't have good lift, burst and fuel to get your goodies in the air. I tried the red gum and Cia methods but was quickly put off with them. I've got rockets that roar off the rack rather than just a PFFFFFFFT.

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Your first project should be decent ball mill. Good black powder is the main ingredient in pyro and everything else will suffer if you don't have good lift, burst and fuel to get your goodies in the air. I tried the red gum and Cia methods but was quickly put off with them. I've got rockets that roar off the rack rather than just a PFFFFFFFT.

 

As long as this topic is titled "Looking for a starting point" I'll x2 OM's comment. I know this doesn't go back to the OP but (@ PyroMyLife), if you're looking to walk through the pyro door a ball mill will take you to a lot of places. Sure, there's plenty of comps and other chemicals, but in the long run you can have a PILE of fun with KNO3, S and charcoal. Not just great BP to propel and burst shells and make rockets but there's a whole line of charcoal based stars that can build a base of GMPs and manufacturing techniques that will not only be fun but be the basis for advanced comps and techniques.

 

I'm a Process Improvement guy in my work. It's tempting to want to leap ahead and do too much too fast. My mantra is this: Start at the beginning. Get it right. Nail it. Then, move to the next step. Build a solid foundation to improve upon. If you don't have the basics down, anything advanced will eventually suffer because all those things depend on knowing and controlling those basic things.

 

Like OM says: "Ball mill. Do it!"

 

Last words: Safety first, second, third and always. One misstep could suck for the rest of your life. Keep it on the "fun side"!

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  • 2 weeks later...

WSM, you're the best!

Thank you for those books. But i have again one question:

Does it matter if i don't have/use a Ball mill?

 

A properly set up ball mill is a good way to mill individual components to a fine, consistent particle size powder. Some feel it's the best way to make high performing black powder. I don't disagree, but living in a city makes that process difficult (if not outright impossible).

 

If your goal is to reduce the particle size of individual chemicals, some have used small spinning blade type coffee mills, or high end blenders with some success. Industry tends to use large hammer mills to grind materials to finer particle sizes.

 

If your intent is to mix live compositions, be sure to limit that to "safe" mixtures only, and avoid any temptation to ball mill dangerous, high energy mixtures, or your career is likely to have a sudden, unpleasant end.

 

Good luck, be safe, and enjoy!

 

WSM B)

 

Edit: I don't disagree with what the previous two gentlemen have said. I've used ball mills for several decades, but only once for BP powder, and under very controlled circumstances due to my situation.

Edited by WSM
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