Powdered iron oxide
Take just 20 minutes to read this article, print it out, and use it to make this firework. You will be amazed at how well it will work as long as you follow the steps we give you here. Try this project today and see if you don't agree.
What is Thermite?Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition usually consisting of metal powder and a metal oxide. It is not usually explosive, but it does create extremely high temperatures in a very small area for a short period of time. For instance, aluminum/iron-oxide thermite temperatures are as high as 4500 degrees F.
Thermite is used for welding, metal cutting or boring, field-expedient metal repairs, science demonstrations, high temperature ignition, disabling military equipment (including artillery, document files, and hard drives), and other applications.
Making Thermite Using Red Iron OxideHaving the correct balance of fuel and oxidizer is key to having a stable burn in a thermite reaction. The thermite recipe for red iron oxide and aluminum is 3 parts iron oxide red to 1 part aluminum fuel. In pyrotechnic compositions the finer the ingredients and more well mixed they are, generally the easier it is to ignite, and the faster the reaction will progress.
So our goals in selecting thermite ingredients are ease of ignition and a stable, non-explosive burn.
For this example, we are using Skylighter's -325 mesh red iron oxide and Skylighter's -325 mesh bright aluminum, which has an average particle size of 45 microns.Thermite#1 Mixture
To make a 4 ounce batch of thermite, first weigh out 3 ounces of red iron oxide. Then weigh out 1 ounce of aluminum powder. Dump them into a plastic tub, and put the top on. Shake them until the color is consistent throughout.
Then pass the mix through a 10-mesh or finer screen. If there are any clumps break them up with your fingers. Screen the mix two more times, or more, until you have a uniformly colored powder.
This can be a dusty process, so be sure and do it an area where the aluminum dust will not cause a problem. Do not try this where air is moving. The better you mix the ingredient, the faster and hotter the reaction will be. Thermite needs a very high temperature to ignite it.
Your thermite kit comes with 6 gold sparklers. The iron in them burns at around 1800 degrees F.
Here's how to use sparklers to ignite your thermite. Place your thermite mix in a plastic tub. Make a hole near the bottom on the side of the tub big enough for a sparkler to go through.
Push 1 to 2 of inches of the sparkler through the hole in the side of the tub into the mix inside. Leave at least 2-3 inches of your sparkler sticking out. Place the plastic tub on a metal surface that want to burn through. Light the sparkler, and get back 40 or 50 feet.
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