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what makes the best flash powder?potassium permanganate or nitrate? Answered


currently performing operation "shoe candle" , for yowee.
this operation is basically videoing the destruction of various fruit using flash powder or hmtd in a small 1-2ml glass vial.

now, i have chosen my prefered explosive to be flash powder because after seeing the damage hmtd does when detonated in this way, i became frightful for my own safety, considering it lifted 1kg of dirt 30cm into the air and destabilizing it and making it fell as if it were dug up and loosly fille din again.


i have come across a slight problem
because i cant readily make aluminim powder enough to experiment with flash powder concuctions, and also i have about 4kg of finely powderd potassium nitrate lying around, wheras permanganate costs $10 for 25g at the pharmacy
i would like to ask you instructables members,
would flash powder made with potassium nitrate combust better than flash powder made with potassium permanganate

the current mix i am using is 3 parts permanganate / 2 parts aluminium powder/ 1 part sulfur
apparently this is the recipe for the old M-80's firecrackers

i want to know if a equal or more powerful mix can be used by using potassium nitrate

whoever answers will receive a best answer from me


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6 years ago

There is a excellent flash composition made from the following (by weight):

5 parts potassium nitrate

3 parts sulphur

2 parts german dark aluminum

The finer the powder the better


9 years ago

I realise this is a bit late, but here goes anyway:

I agree with westfw, using glass vials is stupid. As for compositions, I suggest you look at tetranitrate's instructable. I will say now that no, I haven't attempted it, but I have looked into the theory. Based on entirely theoretical calculations, and assuming tetranitrate's ratio of 30% aluminium to 70% potassium perchlorate is correct, you should be able to get a decent result using a mix of 12% aluminium powder to 88% potassium nitrate, measured by weight. Just to stress the point, I will say again that this is theoretical, and I have not attempted to make/combust either of these compositions, so they may not work, or may end up blowing you (and anyone nearby) into a bloody mess.


10 years ago

Potassium permanganate is subject to spontaneous reactions with organics (thus the famous glycerin reaction.) This makes any mixtures containing it dangerously unstable, and it has essentially no valid uses in professional or amateur pyrotechnics.

You won't get "good" flash powder with either one, nor with "homemade" powdered aluminum. Professional flash powder is mostly perchlorate based, as is the official military M80 formula.

Using glass vials is stupid. Glass doesn't show up on the Xrays after they drag you to the hospital...