Instructables

Making Rocket Fuel With Kitchen Chemistry!

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Picture of Making Rocket Fuel With Kitchen Chemistry!
Today we're doing some kitchen chemistry using common household items.  This is the type of cooking that gets me excited, because I'm experimenting with recipes for solid-state rocket fuel.

www.thekingofrandom.com
 
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Step 1: Watch The Video!



WARNING: This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Misuse, or careless use, of tools or projects may result in serious injury, death, and/or permanent damage to equipment and property.  Ignition of an incendiary or explosive material may not be legal in your area.  Use of this content is at your own risk.



Step 2: KNO3 and Sugar

Picture of KNO3 and Sugar
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For this project, I wanted to use some kitchen chemistry and a few common household items to test out a few different methods for making rocket fuel.  This type of rocket fuel is commonly referred to as "R-Candy"

The main components of this composition are a brand of stump remover, which is 100% potassium nitrate (KNO3), and plain white table sugar.

In addition, I tried using different amounts of corn syrup and homemade rust powder.  The rust was made by mixing steel wool (like these scrubbing pads) and vinegar, then letting it rust out over the course of 1-2 weeks.


Step 3: Mix Intimately and Caramelize

Picture of Mix Intimately and Caramelize
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When mixed together in ratios of 60% KNO3/40% Sugar by weight, and placed on medium heat, they melt into a creamy brown liquid. This is because the sugar caramelizes and absorbs the KNO3. The smell is similar to that of making candy, and that's why this is sometimes referred to as "Rocket Candy" or "R-Candy".

The mixture is volatile, and will violently ignite if brought in contact with a flame, so extreme caution needs to be used at this point.

When it's runny enough, it can be poured into a casing to cool down and solidify. I'm using these Mega-Block LEGOs. Watch out, it's hot!

This was really cool! Next, mix it with some gunpowder (store bought or homemade) and various chemicals like titanium or copper and you can have a homemade fireworks display!

ryckmans_t1 year ago
Sorry, but isn't the point of an Instructable to give instructions? This entry would be much more interesting if actual data was provided, e.g. at least state the units of ratio ("weight" for KNO3/sugar only appeared in the comments, nothing for the rust).

Umm, he literally weighed it right in front of you. He used a kitchen scale and weighed it in grams. The percentage number was based on how many grams of each product were in each mix.

The King of Random (author)  ryckmans_t1 year ago
If you read the whole instructable you would see that KNO3, Sugar and "weight" were actually all in the instructable, so I'm confused by your complaint.

For your convenience I added 1% to the statement about the rust.
when you say weight, would that be like if you used so many cups of KNO3 you would have to use so many cups of sugar?
That would be volume. Weight means how much they weigh on a scale. Eg. 1 lb of bricks vs 1 lb of feathers.
oh so if you had 1 pound of sugar you would need so many pounds of kno3?
seriously? they give you percentages. 40% sugar, 60% potassium nitrate. (stated in the video, and on page three) i dont mean to be rude but how hard is it to figure out four parts sugar to six parts stump remover? but, if you must, 1 lbs of sugar, equaling 40% of the weight, means the total weight is 2.5 lbs. which means 60% of the weight, stump remover, is 1.5 lbs.
yac2 months ago

I really like your videos man! They are awsome and very helpful, perfect for passing the time or expirementing in fun homemade tricks. I have succefully made this r-candy but would really like to make a homemade rocket like you did in the video, could you please make a video on how to make those?

TheMrCOOLguy28 months ago
Can u tell me how to make rocket fuel WITHOUT KNO3 please

simple, all you need is LOX ( liquid oxygen) and LH2 (liquid hydrogen). but you dont have those, so the answer to your question is "no" unless you have LOX and LH2. (this is how NASA makes the base of their rocket fuel. the also ad a certain mixture but i am unsure of what it is.) ;)

its pretty easy to get... look in garden center or online

no

-JMS-2 months ago

Is it possible for u to make a rocket fuel without KNO3? Use I g only kitchen items?

lilchumy8 months ago
I love all your ideas! I hope to someday be as good at engineering as you. I recently made a pvc air gun. it uses an old air pump, a ball valve and some pvc. but it leaks air around the pump, ive tried hot glue, liquid nail glue, and several super glue. im stumped and cant find a good adhesive. what should I use? please respond.
Tire patch glue and an old inner tube from a bike tire. The glue used to patch tires actually melts/partially dissolves the rubber of the tire and the patch. When it dries the melted rubber is fused with the melted patch.
-Good luck, I have made many spud guns using compressed air, they are really fun.

-Safety WARNING: the glue used (any glue that smells vaguely like clear plastic model glue) needs to be used in a well ventilated area. If you are not careful can cause very serious health problems. If you are skeptical, look up solvent vapour poisoning...
One last thing...(you may have already done this, but it doesn't hurt to mention it)

Make the seal on the pressure side of the gun, so the seal is pressed against the wall of the inside of the gun, rather than bandage-style on the outside.
-also You should look into a solenoid valve (sprinkler valve ~$10 @ hardware store) for firing. It uses about 12v-18v (although 9v battery should work) and can be hooked up to a button or momentary switch.
lharket7 months ago
Which one had the fastest burn-rate, was it 13syrup 30water 59KNO 30sugar?
sokamiwohali9 months ago
Hey KOR. Just wondering, what did you use for the propellant enclosure for your home made rocket motor casing? i bet, if we found a suitable metal, we could make a re-useable motor casing with re-useable nozzle. what could i do to ask you if you could find out how hot the propellant burns? it would be nice to know that way finding the metal with the highest melting point, lightest possible weight could be used.
rncbme1 year ago
Any auto repair facility with a brake drum lathe will have an abundance of iron filings on hand.
The King of Random (author)  rncbme1 year ago
You were right. I called one up and just picked up 5 lbs of the stuff. Thanks again! Do you have any ideas on how to turn iron filings into iron powder?
It depends on the thickness, a blender should do the job fairly well. You could also use those hand warmer packets since the main ingredient is iron powder. Hope this helps
The King of Random (author)  Jimbok31 year ago
Thanks Jimbo. I'll give it a try. Can't be very nice on the blender I imagine :)
Your welcome! As for the blender lets just say it will only have one purpose, unless you want sharp bits of iron in your smoothies. lol
iron is good for your health
Try sifting through a window screen
The King of Random (author)  evad1 year ago
I ran it through a blender and it made a fine powder I'm very happy with. Running through a screen would make it even better. Thanks!
If you pour the filings back and forth, there will be a lot of powder that will separate, capturing it will be the challenge.
The King of Random (author)  rncbme1 year ago
Great idea! I'll look into that!
Ryanj20001 year ago
Thats a pretty cool idea. But where would you buy stump remover.
Ace Hardware
wallllllllmart
pjones1410 months ago
At the end of the video, what did you use for the rocket body tube? PVC? Toilet paper tube? You didn't choke the engine, did you?
capt.tagon11 months ago
Next project. Show us how to use this for making super loud "Witch Whistles."
dbenn12312 months ago
cool XD
Great instructable no flaw what's so ever
lilchumy1 year ago
Hey, I love all ur instructables!!! Can u make one on how to make a mini alcohol stove? I would love that. Thanks!!! And how do u know all these cool things? Like the mousetrap gun was realy cool!!! I made one and works pretty good. Anyways, thanks.
Biggerdog1 year ago
I'm pretty sure the burn rate increases because oxygen is released from the iron oxide when it is heated and the increased oxygen increases the burn rate of the other ingredients. No additional exhaust gas is generated, but the created gas is released more rapidly, increasing the thrust. Since the thrust is proportional to the mass of the gas times the velocity squared, increasing the velocity is much more effective than increasing the mass. BTW, the iron oxideand aluminum mix is called Thermite, not termite. The burning mixture consumes oxygen, so does not give off gas. Iron powder may not contain any oxide, so must be oxidized. Perhaps soaking it in water and letting the water evaporate slowly will do it. I've also used potassium perchlorate as an oxidizer. This is very effective, but too much results in an explosion rather than a controlled gas release.
people1011 year ago
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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