Experiments in blowing colored sparkley fire.
I've been blowing fire with pyrotechnic chemicals (for color) and metal powders (for sparkle.)
My friend Foo made a pneumatic flame projector, 'Betsy'. The first few fires were with gasoline, but he really caught my attention when he fired a giant fireball of methyl alcohol and strontium chloride. It lit up the area with saturated road-flare red for hundreds of yards around. He's started some notes, under PyroExMachina.
- Green fire spinning!
- Pictures from the March 10, 2004 Dorkbot at False Profit. Anyone have more shots from this night? Please let Mike know by mailing him at meer dot net!
Some links on health information. In reading each of the following, I figure on absorbing only a small number of milligrams orally; consider that normal doses of lithium carbonate (for bipolar mania) are on the order of 1-2 grams per day. (No swallowing!) I am mostly concerned about problems with chronic doses.
Here's a great government resource for toxicity summaries - 'ATSDR'. Much easier to read than MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) which are usually almost entirely boilerplate.
- Strontium chloride - road-flare red
- * Great overview.
- * Integration of strontium into hydroxypatite (bone)
- * Park Service on Strontium
- * Government fact sheet on Strontium Mostly Strontium-90, the radioactive isotope everyone's heard about. But this is only due to man-made nuclear reactions; it has a half-life of 29 years and doesn't occur naturally.
- * Is it an ingredient in Sensodyne toothpaste? Maybe it's good for you??
- Boric Acid - pale green
- * A comparison of the toxicity of boric acid and table salt
- * MSDS
- * A slightly alarming discussion of acceptable chronic doses
- * Megadosing mice
- Calcium chloride - tangerine
- * Biology of calcium. This is also relevant to strontium, which is biologically almost equivalent.
- Potassium chloride - white/lavender
- * Potassium and calcium chlorides are both natural body electrolytes, but... potassium at least is a cardiac electrolyte; overdoses can stop the heart. The intravenous lethal dose is 10 times less than the oral... but I still would try to avoid swallowing.
- Sodium chloride - banana (really too much like ordinary firebreathing, though...)
- Lithium chloride - fuscia! Nice picture at the LithiumStove page.
- * Lithium toxicity summary
- * Great 'Nordic Expert Group' document on health risks of lithium compounds.
- Copper chloride - green/turquoise
- * Copper toxicity summary
- * Readable copper toxicity summary.
- * I don't put copper compounds in my mouth.
- Copper acetate - deep green
- * This works (with denatured alcohol) on poi/chains!
- Lamp Oil - Overdone! Toxicity info.
- Methonol - NFFB (Not for fire breathing) Methonol Toxicity ThoughtsOnSalts
Everything comes in different mesh sizes - which make a big difference. It's easier to get lots of smaller stuff up in the air - but bigger particles will billow for half a second after the flame has died out - a great effect. Mixes are good.
- * Magnesium likes to react! It'll pull the oxygen out of water to oxidize itself, creating heat - which can be bad - and hydrogen - which likes to explode. It will slowly oxidize in plain water - leaving hydrogen bubbles. In other situations, it'll oxidize very quickly! It's bad news with boric acid solutions - no sparkles with the lime green. Copper chloride will also catalyze it - I found out the hard way that if it's mixed (dry) with copper chloride hydrate, it reacts vigorously when shaken.
- * Fine magnesium reacts faster.
- * Fine magnesium on skin + liquid soap (before water) = thermal burn. Very strange!
- * Magnesium (and many other metals, especially titanium) will 'go bad' over time; they'll develop an oxide coating and refuse to burn if left open for any time at all, and especially if even a drop of water gets in the container.
- * I've heard (and believe) some concern that powdered Mg may create free radicals in the body. Eat your vitamin C.
- Steel - I need a good shot of this! Branching yellow sparks.
- Titanium Crackly white sparks.
- * Lots of titanium is an alloy that contains vanadium, which is cumulative, turns your tongue green/black, and is bad for you!
- Carbon. Floating post-blow spark-mushrooms.
- Aluminum (A bust. But if it's useful, here's a health overview.) I've had some luck with dark aluminum, but no firebreathing data yet.
- Some FireBreathingNotes.
Mail me! (Mike) at mcca.be.