Author Options:

Which is the most flammable, non-regulated and non-hazardous material you know? Answered

I'm trying to ignite a smoke cartridge from a 6V flashlight bulb tungsten filament. When connected to the battery, the filament vaporizes with a small flash, however not sufficient to ignite the smoke mix. The smoke mix requires some energy to ignite (equivalent, 5 seconds with a lighter).

I am now looking for a ignition aid material to put in between the filament and the smoke mix. It can be natual or synthetical, the only requirements are that it 1. ignites from a small spark 2. Is not classed as hazardous material/dangerous goods.

What I have already tried:
Char cloth - works OK, but the filament has to be put right at the edge of the cloth as it doesn't ignite very well from the top.
Dryer lint - Doesn't work
Cotton pad with vaseline - Doesn't work
Toilet paper - Doesn't work

Any other ideas?


Just a clarification to the substance being "non-hazardous". The problem is not me getting hold of the stuff, but that the final product must be non-hazmat.

So (1) any material that can be fired is Hazmat which you cannot use !

(2) That leads me to believe that you can NOT get any material to ignite your smoke !!

Hazmat materials include the amount of such compound... A match stick is not a hazmat product but 30 Kilos of the of the tip material is Hazmat....

Ultimately you might just embed a lithium battery in your smoke compound and run heavy gauge wires to a strong switch and let the ultimate lithium fire ignite the smoker...

Why not just go to your post office with a list of your ingredients?
These guys can tell you for sure if you can ship it or not.
But I guess it does not matter what you add to ignite it.
Once you pack it in a ready to use form it will be classified and due to the nature of the design and components you will be lucky to stay out of trouble.
Just imagine what would happen with your smoke mix if ignited in a small and airtight container.... ;)

You're right, actually I have been thinking of calling the Swedish authorities on Monday and ask them ;) Not sure I would get a good answer though. I have tried calling the post office before, but they don't have a clue, really.

what about putting a candle on it. no electronics. just light the candle.

Yeah. Either that or a fuse. Just light the fuse.

The attached image of a lit fuse was ripped from the Wikipedia article titled, "Fuse(explosives)"



It seems strange to me that your smoke mixture, is itself not classified as hazardous.

But assuming this is true, would this mixture itself still be not-hazardous if you changed its shape?

The picture you have attached to this question shows a white cylinder, filled with yellow stuff. I am guessing the yellow stuff is the smoke mix.

What I mean by different shape, is a couple of ideas.

The first idea is that powdered yellow smoke mix might be easier to ignite than solid yellow smoke mix.

The second idea is, that if you can figure out how the smoke mix was made solid, you could cast a short, disc-shaped, cylinder of solid smoke mix, with the heating element embedded inside it.

By the way, a lot of pyrotechnic mixtures are friction sensitive, meaning that if you wanted to make powdered smoke mix from one of them, it would wise to only crush smoke cartridge at a time, for fear that the stuff might ignite while crushing it with your mortal and pestle.

Also note, the way the manufacturer put that yellow mix into the white cylinder, it ?might? have been some kind of wet process; i.e. the mix was a mixture with water, like a paste or slurry, when it went into the cylinder. Then there was a drying step, at some controlled, safe temperature, for to dry it out, to drive off the water.

The reasons for a wet process might be twofold. One reason being the mix is easier to cast into a mold when it is wet. The other reason being the mix is much less likely to ignite, safer to work with, when wet.

As you say, a normal smoke mix similar to this one would class as dangerous goods. However, this one is an excemption and is being shipped without restricitons worldwide. And that's the reason I'm struggling with this non-hazardous igniter. I don't want the igniter to "infect" this excellent non-hazardous smoke mix ;)

And yes, I have also tried to scrape off some powder to see if it would ignite easier, but not. It really requires some energy.

Yeah, I guess that would be way too easy, but sometimes easy solutions get overlooked.

I know it is totally old school and might be hard to find, but back in the days I used flash cubes for this.
Noone does normal film cameras these days but you might be lucky after checking a few well sorted photographie shops - the real ones with real film and real flashlights, no those with a USB port and printer ;)
The flash cubes don't even need a power supply, they come with a build in piezo, just trigger it and the flash ignites everything around it.
Filled with fine steel wool and pure oxygen....

isn't anything really a flammable solid. Magnesium isn't until you add an external heat source. Your smoke bomb isn't until it has an external heat source.

I saw some videos recently about mixing brake fluid and crushed up chlorine (for your pool) and they react together

is the use of magnesium possible?, how about making your own gun powder?, are the ingredients regulated for that?.

Google tells me that magnesium gun powder is called "flash powder" and is, unfortunately, regulated. But great idea, thanks!

Flash paper from magic shops is not regulated and freely sent by mail...

That's interesting, however I'm fairly convinced that flash paper count as an explosive which has to be shipped hazmat?

BTW which country do you call home...

I live in the high desert Reno USA..

The last time I used an 8" x 11" flash paper I used an inkjet printer to make a copy of our paid-off mortgage which flash disappeared from my hand at our mortgage burning party that night !!!

That's a great idea, but magnesium in powder form is classed, unfortunately.

You don't want the powdered magnesium oxide or the magnesium vitamin supplement.

You want the magnesium bar like in the link.

Did you watch the video, with the magnesium bar you scrape magnesium shavings off one side of the bar then place the shavings on the smoke cartridge you want to ignite. Any tinny spark should light the magnesium.

It is not a controlled substance and it is nontoxic.

I watched the video and the magnesium flakes seem to be a great igniter. But pure magnesium in pellets, flakes or strips count as flammable solids. Maybe I misunderstand you.

Well it definitely is a flammable solid.

If you can peel the magnesium off in thin wires it can be ignited electrically.

I see you've commented on a steel wool I'ble. Could that help?

You're right, the battery easily ignites steel wool which then ignites, for example char cloth, but it only works with friction (the wires from the battery have to be "rubbed" against the steel wool).

If there is a static connection, the battery capacity only manages to burn abt 2 cm of very fine steel wool. This gives the same tiny spark as when using a tungsten filament.

what is the smoke mix?

Here are the main ingredients. This is excluded from dangerous goods, thus quite hard to ignite.


Chlorates are certainly not excluded as they arew classified as strong oxidisers.
Potassium chlorate is used for primers and in fireworks for example, I see no chance of legally shipping this without a dangerous goods declaration.

OK, thinking outside the box (which is that something must be found that can ignite in the millisconds of heat from the bulb you have).

Get a heavier filament which lasts longer, or reduce the voltage (ironic) so that heat is more gradual.

I have tried different filaments, everything from 3-12V. The small ones create a microflame and the 12V glows for a few seconds before it burns up.

Ignitionwize, there is no difference between them. They ignite equally bad ;-X

But you're right, what I'm really after is a substance really flammable, but excluded from all the classes of dangerous cargo. I know for example that some cosmetics are flammable, but excluded (perfumes, for example).

Simply send the mix with the prepared igniter and tell the person to crush some match heads and to mix them with a drop of alcohol.
Put the paste on the filament and let dry, job done.
If you want to send anything that can ignite like it is by mail or similar it will be considered an offence in most countries.
Keep in mind the stuff usually goes in big bags, containers and trucks...

If I could use matches or match heads it would be easy, but as these are classed as dangerous goods I can't.

I'm sensing an impasse here!

Can't use matches? Say more.

If I'm not mistaken, I think that matches fall under the class "flammable solid" with limitations that it can't be sent with standard mail, amongst others.

You want to send a "live" smoke bomb in the mail???

I'm sensing an impasse here!

Can't use matches?