Making sparklers

Discussion in 'Supporting Chemistry' started by Jburns, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Hey guys,

    What is the powder used when making sparklers in the lab?

    No one can find the recipe they used to use and we have run out.

    Does anyone have a recipe for the powder? The normal procedure is to glue some of it to a splint and then light it.
  2. I only know the method which is probably not recommended these days :)
  3. OH do tell!
  4. I vaguely remember something from CLEAPSS on sparklers and legality of use in Schools - worth checking their website
  5. Kat


    We do them with a little powdered aluminium or magnesium, and some metal chlorides for colour. no oxidiser, so basically flame tests by another name!
  6. 300 parts potassium chlorate, 60 parts aluminium fines or iron powder/filings, 2 parts carbon powder, 10% dextrin soln (benefibre), 60 parts barium nitrate and a small amount of mg powder.
    Mix dry ingredients with enough dextrin soln to make a thick sticky slurry. Dip wires or (like I do) splints into the slurry coating all around and allow to completely dry before lighting, probably 24 hours :)
  7. But of course we can't use this recipe any more
  8. CLEAPSS advice is not to bother as since the Explosives reg's changed in 2014 you can only make 0.5g of sparkler mix without an explosives certificate so it'd be so small it'd be a waste of time....

    See CLEAPSS document PS81
    R Pipette likes this.
  9. HAHA, its this sort of thing I was thinking. couldn't remember the metal to use to make the sparkler effect.
  10. Of course not. ;)
  11. We phoned CLEAPSS because we have approx. 500g sparkler mix and didn't know if we needed a certificate. Their answer was we were fine because the mix doesn't include any oxidiser.
  12. We dip damp splints in iron filings
    Hugh likes this.
  13. What is in the mix?

    I am going to give them a mix of Mg and Fe filings as it seems to work quite nicely.
  14. It looks like iron filings, magnesium and possibly zinc but I'm really just guessing. Our senior tech isn't sure but definitely knows she didn't use any oxidising agent.
  15. We mix iron filings with a small amount of magnesium powder and dip a damp spill in it.

    I have attached a little instruction sheet I made

    Attached Files: