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elictrolisis will make aluminum powder? help please Answered

i have read about disolving zink or magnesium in acid and colecting it on a electrode as a salt threw elictrolisis. would this work with aluminum ? in new zealand it is hard to buy aluminium powder for thurmite so would like to make my own. i have already colected a usable amount of iron oxide from rusty steel using elictrolisis.


Haha...What are you trying to make?

Since he complains about not being able to buy aluminium powder for thermite, I'd hazard a guess that he's trying to make thermite...

Obviously, but what does he need the thermite for...? Trying to recreate the Hindenburg?

For some people, thermite is an end in itself.

Haha. Do you know the elemental composition of thermite is? I googled it and I couldn't find anything.

I have done this reaction personally several times.

It is as follows:

(3) Fe O + (1) Al
3 4
note: the number in parenthesis is the ratio - 3 to 1.
(by mass, not volume)
Both in powdered form for the most complete reaction.

It's a mixture of aluminium powder and iron oxide (rust). I can't remember the ratios off-hand, but there are several thermite projects on this site.

Not a problem - some of those exotics look fun. I'll have to check the videos.

Okay, just checking to make sure I'm right... It would be Fe6O9Al

Oh... You can't do html. I didn't know that. Let me re-write that... it's attached.

Use pairs of commas for subscript. Fe6O9 is made like this:

Super script is pairs of up-arows (shift 6): E=mc2

If you're talking about the nature of thermite, the pre-ignition mixture is just that -a mixture of two substances (iron oxide plus aluminium metal). The products are aluminium oxide slag and molten iron metal.

I thought Iron oxide is Fe2O3?

Any way, I'm attempting thermite myself. I have succeeded in creating iron oxide through the system of electrolysis (which is a bit of fun in itself :D ) and for the aluminium powder I just ground an aluminium bar up. It took a long time, and in the end it was a waste, because I ruined my batch in attempting to ignite it.

Just realised how old this thread is. Meh.

There are several different forms of iron oxide (wikipedia is your friend...)


10 years ago

You can't make aluminum powder in any sort of aqueous environment. Without the protective oxide layer, the powder flakes will be instantly oxidized by the oxygen in the water.

this the reisipe i got for aluminium powder i do have but cant get mg ribbon. but his conflicks with what your saying too, i think Application Materials: Gloves Large Glass container 1 or more Smaller glass containers Coffee filter Chemicals: H2O (Ice and liquid) NaCl HCl (Muriatic acid) Al (foil) Reducer (Mg Ribbon) Optional: NaOH K (pure solid) Process: Put on GLOVES! Place your smaller glass containers into the large one. Fill the smaller glass containers with HCl (fill about 2 inchs or so) Pour ice around the containers Add some water and NaCl to the ice to create a ice bath. Add Al foil to the HCl untill absorption stops, then remove excess. (H2 will be produced during this time, along with heat) Add Reducer (Mg Ribbon works superb, and allows one to collect powdered Mg if proper reduces are also present.) Pour solution into a coffee filter, and wash a few times with water (I do once with a NaOH, then water 3 times) I am not sure the mesh on this powder, because I've never screened it, but it is fine. It works well for thermite.

Yeah, I believe that "recipe" to be bogus. There is a huge amount of bogus info on the net WRT pyrotechnics. For "useful" thermite, you actually want relatively coarse Aluminum, since you want a controlled burn yielding molten iron rather than a flashy combustion that throws sparks all over. The batch of commercial thermite I used to own had Al that looked like "saw chips", and you might have reasonable luck finding a machine shop that does work in Aluminum and asking for some of their "waste." (use a magnet to remove iron, screen to get relatively uniform particles.) Getting suitably coarse iron oxide is a more difficult problem. The coarse powder version will be harder to ignite...

The problem with using these metals in a non-powder form is that they will not react completely. It will also greatly slow the reaction, possibly to a point of not melting the Fe at a high enough temperature.

Also, the type of iron oxide necessary for an efficient thermite reaction is not rust. Rust is red and is Fe O .
2 3
You need Fe O , commonly called MAGNETITE. Which is easily bought and is cheap. 3 4
And the less oxidized the powdered aluminum is, the better.

Another note: magnesium is not necessary. All you need is the powdered aluminum and powdered magnetite.

The trick would be using a finer version for ignition which would be easy enough to light with say magnesium ribbon...

thank you. you just made it very easy :) i thought it had to be very fine. my iron oxide is home made and very fine. will do instructabe if it works out good

i thought aluminium does not oxidize? But, on the other hand, it is a very active metal...

Aluminum oxidizes very easily, but the resulting film of aluminum oxide (sapphire!) prevents further interaction of the Aluminum and air, so the corrosion" stops. (there are similar treatments for iron, but ordinary rust isn't one of them.) You can do amazing things to Aluminum by somehow suppressing the formation of the oxide in a nice airtight layer, while still allowing the oxidation to occur...

I can't for the life of me remember the catalyst chemical that causes the oxidation to be unhindered...

One of them is mercury. The mercury forms an amalgam with the Aluminum, but allows the Al to be oxidized, and the oxide sloughs off of the liquid mercury, allowing still more Al to dissolve...

It was mercury, there are others I just plain don't know.

from what i see you can only make aluminium oxide into aluminium by electrolysis. but from what i know you just need a fine aluminium powder and iron oxide..but you will need heat..Magnesium is what you will have difficulty getting

You could buy a magnesium fire starter from walmart for a few bucks, but you will have to develop some type of fuse (I'm going to try a mortar fuse with some matches on the end) to put in the shaved magnesium. You don't want to be near the thermite when it ignites because it can blind you, or burn you (obviously).


7 years ago

The magesium is easy to come by. Just buy a box of old camera flash bulbs or cubes. The steel wool apperance is really fine magnesium and easily ignited by low voltage.

Why not just grind up some aluminium? Spend some time working at an old soda can with a file or rasp?

Or, if you have access to an old blender, why not try chopping the soda can into chunks and then blending it until it's small enough for your needs?

or you could melt the aluminum into ingots and then make it easier to file.

Better yet, use soem thermite to melt the aluminum!
...oh wait

Alternatively you could buy a coffee grinder cheap specifically for this task so you won't go around ruining good blenders. Aluminum foil works LOADS better in any grinding thing, just clump it into balls first.

Because he doesn't understand the recipe he has : ) I've heard that water and aluminum foil work in a blender...

On the topic of thermite. is it OK to obtain the iron oxide with a chemical reaction between bleach and vinegar?

. Since there is no Fe in bleach* or vinegar (CH3COOH), no.

  • bleach is a pretty generic term and includes lots of chemicals, but I've never seen a bleach with Fe in it. Maybe there is.

Go to roguesci.com they have tons of that sorta stuff

What you are thinking of will create aluminum oxide, which is an end product of thermite. Go back to your original source or better yet a chemistry teacher and re-read the instructions. Yes, I am intensionally obfuscating, but for safety reasons : )

who are you the safety police? ill be shore to contack you if there eny danger at all of my finger going threw the paper.

Yet another reason to assume that you can't be trusted with a "thurmite" recipe...

there is an instructible on it somewhere