Experimental GREEN Flash Powder

Experimental GREEN Flash Powder


Hey guys welcome back I’m Nate. Thank you for joining me today on the king of random here in the studio We love a good science experiment. I’ve learned about a good one recently that I want to try out It’s very simple But should be fun some of you may be familiar with a movie called October sky about a boy named Homer Hickam who loves building Rockets the movie is based off of a book called rocket boys and it explains that one of the fuels that Homer tested out was A mixture of zinc powder and sulfur the mixture of zinc powder and sulfur is supposed to burn very quickly and with a very bright Flash, so we’re going to try and replicate that today in the studio using materials We can easily get our hands on a cheap and easy source of zinc is pennies Pennies look like they’re made of copper, but since 1982 that’s just been a thin coating on the outside. They’re actually made 97.5% Out of zinc obviously for a mixture with only two ingredients there’s not a lot of supplies you need. First is some sulfur powder. This is a dusting sulfur Which is used as a fungicide and insecticide On plants you can pick this up in your local gardening store the ingredients list this as 90% sulfur, so it’s not pure But I’ve read that it will work for this experiment the second ingredient is zinc which as I explained? We’re gonna try filing down some pennies to get a nice zinc powder lastly I have a metal file which I’m going to use to grind down the pennies Hopefully I’ll get a fine enough powder that it will burn our first step is to take some pennies and start filing Now let’s tape a piece of paper to the side of our clamp, so we don’t lose all of our filings There we go that doesn’t look super pretty, but it should be very functional I’ve now grabbed up quite a bit of zinc from our pennies, so let’s put it on our scale and see how much we’ve got Our scale says we have five point four grams of zinc powder which is a little bit more than the weight of two pennies I’ve seen a few different mixed ratios of the zinc and sulfur that are supposed to work as a flash powder I’m gonna try one two one for the first test All right, we’ve got one gram of our zinc powder now, let’s add one gram of our sulfur, okay? I’ve now got two grams of our one-to-one mix of zinc and sulfur powder Zinc fumes are not good to breathe in though so I am gonna try lighting this off outside Now I’m not sure how sensitive this stuff is in theory if you’ve got a fine grain mixture it can even light off with static Electricity so it’s a good idea to be very careful with it however I think that our filings from the pennies are gonna be a larger grain It might be a little bit harder to ignite, so I’m going to start by trying a barbecue lighter And then a few other things if that doesn’t work Oh, it’s doing something oh, I wonder if it’s just burning the sulfur a little bit It’s not very dark out here, so you can’t see but I think the sulfur itself might have caught on fire Okay, that’s smoke rising right now. I think means it just went out All right, the barbecue lighter didn’t work So let’s go on to try using a little bit of fuse to see if the higher heat from the fuse will get it to Ignite Wow look at that that that burned before Kind of comes off as a shell so yeah, I think the zinc powder Melted together, but wouldn’t light that’s interesting I’m gonna use the scissors to hold the fuse down because otherwise it sort of tends to take off like a mini rocket Kind of like that Nothing Again, I think we got some melted zinc and I think the sulfur has caught on fire again Can you see a little bit of that blue flame in there there it is? Yep, so that’s the sulfur caught on fire But the zinc won’t catch on fire the barbecue lighter didn’t work and the fuse didn’t work So I’m gonna try hitting the remaining powder with some matte gas out of the blowtorch and see if we can get a reaction out of that Nothing well that didn’t seem to do anything either I think I’ve successfully melted all of the zinc and probably burned all of the sulfur But we didn’t get any sort of ignition nothing that looked like flash powder nothing that looked like an explosion So I don’t think that this worked very well at all I’m fairly certain that our problem was the size of the filings of the penny So I’m gonna see if I can do something to grind them down even smaller to hopefully get a finer mesh of powder I’ve never ground down zinc powder and a mortar and pestle before but I’m gonna try and see if it works Four point three five grams of zinc and four point three five grams of sulfur I Have my doubts that the zinc is a fine enough powder that it will ignite easily, but let’s give it a try Wow okay that lit yep That’s on fire. That’s more of what we were looking for all right We did get a reaction there it did light on fire now that might have just been because the map gas burns hot enough to Ignite zinc powder. I’m not sure if the sulfur made any difference or not, but it did light It was a cool green flame So that was maybe a step in a better direction But I have an idea for how we can test this at least as a proof-of-concept Depending on the chemical reaction that took place. This is either zinc sulfide or zinc oxide It’s kind of hard to tell which since I don’t know if the sulfur made a difference or not So we barely got an ignition, and I think the problem is the size of the zinc powder I’m not able to grind it to a fine enough point where it will really light easily to test this as a proof of concept I’ve gone ahead and bought some commercially available zinc powder And we’ll use that in the mixture to see if it ignites as quickly as we’re hoping it will two grams of zinc powder two grams of sulfur powder Let’s go straight to math gas Nothing Oh weird that’s like Gummy texture almost it’s all squishy like a squishy sulfur zinc clay That worked even less. Oh, we got some sulfur burning though blue flame blue fire from burning sulfur All right, I have one more thing we can try all right that didn’t seem to work any better in fact I think it worked less well because we were able to get our other one to light off with the map gas But not this mixture I do have one more idea there are different places that say different Ratios that you’re supposed to mix this – I’ve been trying one-to-one with equal weight of zinc and sulfur But I’ve also seen something that says you should use three parts zinc to one part sulfur So I’m gonna try that and see if it makes a difference alright. There’s three grams of zinc And there’s one gram of sulfur alright. This is the three to one ratio of the zinc dust to the sulfur Hopefully this one works out a little better Woah Alright that was a fast reaction that all just went up in a cloud all at once That was really quick look at this you can see it even sprayed The reaction material all over so this is gonna be zinc sulfide all of this burned powder That it just like sprayed everywhere. That’s pretty cool Alright now that was the kind of reaction I was hoping for from the beginning it went really quick it even like it launched itself through the air And you probably couldn’t see very well, but there is like this mushroom shaped smoke cloud coming off it. It was pretty great Let’s do that again. Okay. I’ve mixed up another batch spread that out on the ground I’ve made it into a little bit of a line to see if we get a slightly more delayed or stretched out reaction but same Plan I’m just gonna hit it with the torch and watch and go Wow It didn’t slow it down pretty much at all to have it spread out the flame traveled along the line like him in an instant That stuff has just a crazy amount of flash power to it very little noise I would have thought it would be loud It was just sort of a popping sound and just a very bright light a lot of smoke But that looks pretty great I get why you would think that could be used as a rocket fuel It’s very fast burning one more time Cloud kind of came right at me that time That stuff is really fun that just goes up bright green flash and then big puff of smoke And it’s all gone in an instant and very quiet there you have it We’ve tried mixing zinc powder and sulfur together, and we got some mixed results when filing down pennies We couldn’t get a small enough grain of zinc for it to really ignite the way we want it to After grinding the zinc filings in a mortar and pestle for about 10 minutes We were eventually able to get it to light off by hitting it with a map gas torch for a little while That was a cool burn But it wasn’t really the explosive reaction we were hoping for it in the end we did unfortunately have to go some commercially available Pre-made zinc powder, but when you mix that with sulfur in the right three-to-one ratio it went off immediately those were some really cool Very fast burns bright green flame big puff of smoke that looked really cool, and I think in the near future We’re going to try and use that same fuel to propel a small rocket I would still love to be able to make this zinc powder at home So if you have an idea of how I can make a fine enough zinc powder out of pennies Please let me know in the comments below there you have it now You know that zinc powder and sulfur can be combined to make a very fast burning mixture that might work as a small rocket propellant Thanks for joining us for this video today, and we look forward to the next one talk to you then Here you can see we’ve got a penny from 1974 this one should be almost entirely copper if we file off the edge Here’s our 1974 penny on our 1983 penny And you can see the difference when you file down both edges the penny from 1974 has a copper interior and the penny from 1982 has a zinc interior Hey guys quick reminder that king of random t-shirts are available once again Just go ahead and click the link at the top of the description and it’ll take you to where you can get one today

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