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What is the white powder in firecrackers? Answered

I took apart some basic firecrackers, they have a green fuse, waterproof, etc.

So inside, I found some grey-ish powder (suspect it is Gunpowder) and a lot more white powder. The Firecrackers do not give of a huge flash, so I am asking.

What is the white powder, what does it do, and should I keep it?

(Please no answers like "You shouldn't play around with that" and other negative responses. I am looking from a makers point of view.)

13 Replies

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Gasoline+Ducttape (author)2014-07-09

Modern firecrackers are a not-so-funny joke. They all consist of a big tube, with a tiny tube inside. This tiny tube contains the explosive: flash powder, silvery gray. Surrounding this tiny tube and taking up the rest of the space is inert white clay. It serves just to help the firecracker look bigger than it is. That's the white powder. Clay.

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snype4fun (author)2012-04-16

The brownish powder by the fuse is sawdust the silver powder in the middle is flash powder (aluinum + potassium perchlorate) and the white powder at the bottom of the firecracker is clay.

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oldmanbeefjerky (author)2010-06-17

a greyish powder from a firecracker is most likely going to be firecracker powder which is potasium nitrate/chlorate , aluminium powder (it stains everything it touches silver-grey, and sulfur. the reason it makes no flash is most likey because the recipe is made to vapourize the sulfure and or charcoal inside and combust it using the massive heat given off when alum oxidizes. so instead of having the alum burn like in flash powder (which is meant to give a bright light) it will instead just give off heat and no light (or little light that it hould). i have made this mix a few eeks ago with alum and it combusted simeltanously giving a big poof of smoke, unlike gunpowder which in large quantiies burns slowly (like .2 seconds per gram) hope that answerd your question

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Colonel88 (author)2010-01-18

Well, I'll probably check if it is explosive, but I am about 99.99% sure it is not.

Thank you all for your responses, you're the best (:D.

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lemonie (author)2010-01-16

I suspect it's some kind of perchlorate-based mix.

L

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Colonel88 (author)lemonie2010-01-18

https://www.instructables.com/id/Flash-Powder/

Over here I put some pics of it up (laptop camera D:), on the first question, its like whitish, and crumbly D:

But I got 3 little green fuses and also a little bit of gunpowder.

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severepb (author)lemonie2010-01-16

Way to go. This guy knows his stuff.
i found it-
Chemical Formula : KClO3
Property : colorless crystal or white powder .
Uses : Match, Explosive, Firecrackers, Fireworks .
Storage : avoid fire and moisture, no mixed with organic matter.
here is the location- http://www.ecplaza.net/tradeleads/seller/5285942/sell_potassium_chlorate.html

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lemonie (author)severepb2010-01-17

Aye, but it'll be mixed with something(s)

L

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JimFlo (author)lemonie2010-01-16

Clay or combustable, the match test should tell.

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lemonie (author)JimFlo2010-01-16

Yes, preferably a long match...

L

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JimFlo (author)2010-01-16

Should be the explosive. Take a small amount, put it loosely on a piece of metal or something, outdoors, and touch a match to it. It should go up in a whoosh, no explosion but a cute fireball. Use a LONG match, wear goggles, have a fire extinguisher, etc.
Store is UNCOMPRESSED, do not pack it any amount in any way. Watch out for moisture, which will ruin it, and remember
IF YOU HURT YOURSELF I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY> I am assuming you are an intelligent adult, responsible for your own actions. If you are not, we are back to "Dont play with that..."

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revelae (author)JimFlo2010-01-16
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CameronSS (author)2010-01-16

It's hard to know without seeing the guts of the firecracker you're talking about, BUT:

Most firecrackers have clay packed on both ends of a tube of black powder. Black powder, if ignited in open air, burns vigorously, but won't detonate. It's an incendiary, not an explosive. It's only when it's packed down and compressed that it will explode. A firecracker is a rolled paper tube with a that white powdery clay on both ends, to pack the black powder in.

Worth saving? Not really, unless you feel like using it as kitty litter.

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