Here are a few basic precautions to take if you're crazy enough to produce your own flash powder:
1. Grind the oxidizer (KNO3, KClO3, KMnO4, KClO4 etc) separately in a clean vessel.
2. NEVER grind or sift the mixed composition.
3. Mix the composition on a large paper sheet, by rolling the composition back and forth.
4. Do not store flash compositions, especially any containing Mg.
5. Make very small quantities at first, so you can appreciate the power of such mixtures.
KNO3 50% (by weight)
It is very important to have the KNO3 very dry, if evolution of ammonia is observed then the KNO3 has
water in it. Very pure and dry KNO3 is needed.
KClO3 with Mg or Al metal powders works very well. Many hands, faces and lives have been lost with
KMnO4 with Mg or Al is also an extremely powerful flash composition.
KClO4 with Al is generally found in comercial fireworks, this does not mean that it is safe, it is a
little safer than KClO3 above.
K2Cr2O7 can also be used as an oxidizer for flash powder.
The finer the oxidizer and the finer the metal powder the more powerful the explosive. This of course
will also increase the sensetivity of the flash powder.
For a quick flash small quantities can be burnt in the open. Larger quantities (50g or more) ignited
in the open can detonate, they do not need a container to do so.
NOTE: Flash powder in any container will detonate.
Balanced equations of some oxidizer/metal reactions. Only major products are considered. Excess metal
powders are generally used. This excess burns with atmospheric oxygen.
4 KNO3 + 10 Mg --> 2 K2O + 2 N2 + 10 MgO + energy
KClO3 + 2 Al --> KCl + Al2O3 + energy
3 KClO4 + 8 Al --> 3 KCl + 4 Al2O3 + energy
6 KMnO4 + 14 Al --> 3 K2O + 7 Al2O3 + 6 Mn + energy
Make Black Powder first if you have never worked with pyrotechnic materials, then think about this
Dr. Van Tiel- Ph.D. Chemistry
Potassium perchlorate is a lot safer than sodium/potassium chlorate.