Picture of flash powder
This is a reasonably safe, easy to make, high powered flash powder, suitable for use in electrically triggered pyrotechnics effects.

It stays reasonably stable under various moisture conditions.

For instructions on making squibs (small flat pack explosives), see my other instructable.

*** WARNINGS:***
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Step 1: Gather materials

Picture of gather materials
You will need:

  • aluminum powder
  • potassium perchlorate powder
  • a metal cylinder for rolling out powder
  • an anti-static bag for mixing
  • a precise scale, capable of measuring single-gram quantities

Step 2: Prepare the work area

Make sure your work table is flat, clean, and dry.

Make sure there is NO possibility of static shocks: Do not wear rubber shoes on synthetic carpets in cool, dry air, etc...

Lay out your materials neatly, and DESIGNATE AN AREA FOR EACH CHEMICAL. They become an explosive when mixed together, so you don't want them mixing unless you mean to.

Step 3: Measure and mill perchlorate

Picture of measure and mill perchlorate
Decide on your batch size. I suggest NOT mixing more than 12 grams at a time.

Weigh out perchlorate in the amount of 2/3 of your batch size. For example: A 12 gram batch is 8 grams perchlorate, 4 grams aluminum powder.

Place the pile of perchlorate on a small piece of paper, in its spot on the work surface, and GENTLY use the metal roller to mill it into a very fine powder.

The finer the powder is, the more reliable your triggering will be.

If it is very clumpy, you may wish to scoop it up into a pile again, and re-mill it several times.

When you are done, use the piece of paper to pour your powder into the mixing bag.

Step 4: Measure aluminum powder

Picture of measure aluminum powder
"Fluff" your aluminum powder by agitating it with a spoon or similar instrument. This serves the same purpose of the milling did with the perchlorate: The powder will not be clumped together, and it will mix better, making a more reliable explosive.

Again, using your scale, measure 1/3 of your batch size in aluminum powder.

Carefully pour the aluminum powder into the mixing bag with the perchlorate.
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fancypants2311 months ago
ive heard that star molecule aluminum powder is supposed to be the best aluminum to use, what type do u use?
The Ownist7 years ago
where can i get potassium perchlorate
also know as salt petre, go find it at your local walgreens or whatever drug store you have nearby

Salt Peter or Salt Petre in the USA is potassium nitrate although in some parts of the world like Chile and Peru it refers to sodium nitrate.

Salt petre is potassium nitrate not potassium perchlorate. Also i haven't been able to find salt petre anymore lately so i had to order some online.
its just stump remover . :0
oh, i usually put: "i think" before everything i put on any comments that have to do with explosives/ fyrework things thanks i guess.
Potassium perchlorate and potassium nitrate are not the same chemical.
you can buy this product at the following website.
Thinkman8 years ago
When Black Powder isn't granulated, and is in a super fine powder state (similar to that of Talcum Powder) it is called "Meal Powder".

The mixing process for Black Powder is just as important as the formula. Black Powder MUST be made in a Ball Mill to work properly.
A Ball Mill is a rotating drum with dozens of lead balls inside. The 3 chemicals are loaded into the Ball Mill, along with the lead balls, sealed shut and allowed to rotate for anywhere between 1 hour and 24 hours. As the Ball Mill rotates, the lead balls will crush the chemicals together, forcing some of the Potassium Nitrate into the pores of the Charcoal and Sulfur. At the same time, the entire mass will be reduced to a super fine powder. The longer the Ball Mill runs, the stronger the Black Powder will be. A general rule of thumb for all pyrotechnic mixtures is " the finer the powder is, the faster it will burn ".
ONLY lead balls can be used in a Ball Mill as they are completely non-sparking. ONLY Black Powder can be mixed in a Ball Mill. Other pyrotechnic mixtures such as Flash Powder, etc. CAN NOT, as they are too sensitive and will explode. Individual chemicals however, can also be Ball Milled into a fine powder, but the mill must be cleaned before this is done.

Flash Powder is a high explosive, a shattering explosive. It converts to a gas so fast, that objects near it, and containers that hold it cannot move out of they way (or vent) fast enough to release this gas, so they are destroyed into fragments.
Black Powder is a low explosive, a heaving explosive. It converts to gas much more slowly than Flash Powder, and generally pushes things as opposed to fragmenting them. If Black Powder is used in a small Salute like an M-80, it will just make a loud "pop", and push out the end plugs.
Flash Powder in an M-80 will make a loud explosion and fragment the tube into small pieces. Flash Powder burns so much faster than Black Powder that in larger Salutes, it doesn't even matter if you've got end plugs on the tube at all, it will still detonate and fragment the Salute, even with 2 open ends.

The following is the standard formula for Black Powder:

Potassium Nitrate
150 grams
Charcoal Powder
30 grams
20 grams

  • This is a reasonably safe, easy to make, high powered flash powder, suitable for use in electrically triggered pyrotechnics effects.
**** WARNINGS:***

Those two things should never be on the same page as each other! This guy must have been on crack the day he created this page.
As an ademdum: Low explosives, such as gunpowder, produce a shockwave less than the speed of sound. High explosives, such as flash, produce a shockwave greater than the speed of sound.

An example of what you are dealing with:
If you substituted flash for the gun powder in, say, a 44 magnum cartrige, fired in it a quality, well made, firearm, the bullet wouldn't exit the barrel, the firearm would explode in your hand.
Although I feel the publishing of this is somewhat irresponsible; it's not like it can't be found elsewhere, and at least this offers a forum for responsible discussion, and WARNINGS. And yes, if properly made, and there are formulas using as many as 7 ingediants, (I have published and copywrited several), 500grams can indeed lift your house from it's foundation, but would probably just blow the windows and walls out.

Flash powders do not truly detonate nor do they produce a supersonic shockwave. They are not high explosives under the common industry definition. They deflagrate at a high but still subsonic speed. Even self confining deflagration is not the same as detonation.

Pyroman8 years ago
wow...u dudes are so freakishly paranoid. look at all the stuff that guy is wearing. i've heard that this formula is actually pretty hard to set off without heat (relative to other flash powders). They said that they tried setting it off by zapping it with several thousand volts, and it didn't go off. so evidently a little static wont kill u. and i myself have tried hitting it with a hammer and it didn't go off. so shock isn't a factor for this either.
flash powder can be set off with friction (heat) or at the "drop of a hat" its very unstable the guy in a welder suit is pretty sencible doing so
I know that Chlorate flash powder isn't that sensitive, so i very much doubt perchlorate flash powder is

KClO3 mixtures are, all other things being equal, more sensitive than KClO4 mixtures. Half of you posting here have no idea what you are talking about in an area where ignorance kills.

potassium chlorate is very unstable compared to perchlorate, and perchlorate isn't all that stable either
phredex Pyroman7 years ago
Also, regardless of what you have heard, I personally know of an incident where it was set off by being spilled on the ground and rubbed with a foot. Months in the hospital that time.
no way its impossible...if you "spilled" sum. I use this mixture kclo4/Al very often as i am in the pyrotechnic industry, first of all it is not sensitive to friction, and if u spent months in the hospital u were either bare foot bcuz if u had shoes on it would have taken 2-3 grams "spilled" then scooped in a pile and not "rubbed" but ground with ur foot into pavement, if you stupid enough to do that you have no respect for pyrotechnics period and shouldnt be anywere near when they are used.

All KClO4/AL flash compositions are friction sensitive to various degrees. If you don't know that, you need to stop working with them asap.

How much spilled? You can stand on a few of the "little dynamite" and not hardly feel a thing when they go off. Although this is done wearing shoes, not barefoot.
phredex Pyroman7 years ago
As a licensed user of fireworks, and knowing most of the folks involved in the Pyrotechnics Industry, I implore you to not make Flash Powder, using Nitrate, Perchlorate or Chlorate. I know of numerous accidents that have killed people, quickly, even thogh the same people have been "doing it for years". This stuff is dangerous, period, 500 grams WILL remove your house from it's foundation, and if you live, allow you to spend some quality time with your new wife "Bubba" in Club Fed.
What are you talking about? 500 grams is not nearly enough to "Remove your house from it's foundation". I have a feeling you don't know much about what you are talking about.
You must not be mixing it properly.

500g of FFFF, FFFG or even courser grades of black powder will "remove a house from it's foundation" if:

1. The charge is properly placed in proximity to where the house joins the foundation.

2. The charge is properly confined.

why dont you demenstrate removing a house from the foundation :)

Dude... ANYBODY can make and blow up C4, Dynamite, HMX, whatever they want without a license. Under federal law (27CFR555Sub.K) And any state laws that say otherwise are overruled, and there has been a case where the supreme court overruled the state's law. Other courts base their decisions off of this case now, it's called a precedent case.

500g is about 1 pound. That can in no way remove a house, Maybe if you set it up right and your house is a small tin hut.

27 CFR 555 Subpart K includes 555.201 - 555.224. What section exactly are you referring to and do you have a citation of the case you are referring to? I would like to read it.


Wait, "licensed user"? Do you mean licensed maker? If you are a licensed user, you must live in a city somewhere, where pyrotechnics are severely limited. Cities are very paranoid about fireworks and the like.
Type 54 BATF&E Federal License.

I had a relatively large container of this stuff w/ same ingredients. Poured it all over my firepit to dispose of it. Tried to set it off by throwing matches on it, it wouldn't work. Threw 4 matches stuck together on there. wouldn't light the pile. Grabbed a huge wad of paper towel, lit it and threw it on there. Took about 7 seconds until the heat built up enough to ignite the aluminium.

Kataze Pyroman7 years ago
I heard that too. But the guys I heard it from also said that it's better safe than having third-degree burns.
im with ya if you get hurt hey not me its YOUR FAULT NOT MINEbesides if u get hurt its more fun:]
I've hit flash with a hammer...and it went off at about the 4th try (I was wearing goggles and gloves, too. ), although I could only do it once.
Its not shock its friction that can set it off and thats with prechlorate. Chlorate is much more reactive. One time a guy got a half foot cater in his yard from 40mgs.
arduinrobo4 years ago
isn't a plastic bag a little bit dangerous considering static sparks ?
he didn't say a regular plastic bag. He said an anti-static plastic bag. I really hope you are still alive to read this post a year and some change later ;)
Thinkman8 years ago
glad I saw this pic! Reasonably safe with a suit like that! Lol I'll have to go and get one!
hes just over protective...................
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