How to Make Flash Paper - Magic Trick Fireballs (Nitrocellulose)

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Introduction: How to Make Flash Paper - Magic Trick Fireballs (Nitrocellulose)

About: I like turning boring things into awesome things! Usually on video.

This is a demonstration of the salt method I use to make nitrocellulose. A better demonstration of the flash cotton I have made with this method can be seen in my video 'Fireballs Vs. My Hands'. A much higher quality flash paper can be made with this method if 100% cotton paper is used rather than fabric. I chose to use fabric because it is more readily available and less expensive than cotton paper.

A more advanced process for making much higher quality nitrocellulose can be found here:
http://www.grassrootsdiy.com/NC.htm

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    10 Discussions

    were does the left over potassium go and is this the same mixture used in nitroglycerin

    p.s. good video 

    Awesome video. You say that adding potassium nitrate to sulphuric acid produces nitric acid, which in turn nitrates the cellulose.

    Could I just directly add nitric acid to cellulose instead? Or are the left over nitrate salts/ sulphuric acid required to complete the nitration?

    3 replies

    The sulfuric acid stabilizes the reaction. You can use nitric acid directly without the nitrate salt, but you will also need to use some sulfuric to stabilize. I am not sure of the procedure using straight acids, so that will require some research on your behalf.

    Ok, I will look into it, thank you.

    Also, could any other nitrate salt be used instead of potassium? Because I can obtain (impure) Ammonium nitrate quite easily but for me potassium nitrate is quite hard to come by.

    Yes, ammonium nitrate can be used. Just use an amount that will give the same number of nitrate groups as compared to the potassium nitrate.

    I just had a pyrogasm.... heheh well done :) nice I'ble