View Full Version : Any people good with applying chemistry?

06-16-2003, 04:29 PM
I'm looking for a way to make powdered aluminum - the smaller the grains, the better. I know that it's probably possible to buy it, but I would rather make it if it's possible and not too hard, since I have plenty of aluminum and I don't have a lot of money. So, does anyone know a way to reduce the aluminum to a fine powder? I can just rust other metals in salt water, but I don't know what to do for the aluminum. Thanks for any help you can offer, even if you tell me I'll have to do it mechanically.

06-16-2003, 04:43 PM
Reactions that produce powderd aluminum will be damm hard if not impossible to get as far as I know. I don't know the specific chemistry of it but just thinking about the thermodynamics of it. Entropy wants to increase with spontaneous things (IE room gets messy and hot drinks go cold), solid mettalic aluminium would be a mettalic lattice, IE highly orderd and unfavourable to form in a reaction. This may make no sense to you but I'm basically saying I'm pretty sure mechanical is going to be your only option.

Oh my god, all the stuff they tell me about learning principles instead of examples is actually useful, who'd have thought it.

06-16-2003, 04:47 PM
By the way, watch out, powerderd aluminium might be a bit keen when it comes to reacting. Watch where you let sparks fly.

06-16-2003, 06:05 PM
Thanks. This experiment is going to be performed outside with water nearby for any grass fires we accidentally start in my yard.

06-16-2003, 07:07 PM
Why would you need powdered aluminum?

06-16-2003, 07:23 PM
How about a couple of rocks? lol

06-16-2003, 08:53 PM
>>Why would you need powdered aluminum?


06-16-2003, 09:55 PM
what's that?

06-16-2003, 09:58 PM
i forgot everthing about chemistry, that is nothing left in my mind even a piece. :(

06-16-2003, 10:44 PM
http://genchem.chem.wisc.edu/demonstrations/Gen_Chem_Pages/06thermopage/thermite_reaction.htm\\ gives a short summary and a little video, http://www.geeksarecool.com/anarchy/010.txt isn't very reliable, but they get the general idea about right... anyway, I'm just doing it for fun. If you want more details, search Google. The stuff burns at 2000 C... I think that's pretty cool.

06-16-2003, 10:52 PM
Dude, I wouldn't screw around with stuff like that if you want to stay alive.

06-16-2003, 10:56 PM
It's stable, and hard to get to ignite. I'll be lighting it in a manner that allows me to get away with plenty of time... I don't mess around with things unless I know I can do it safely. I might actually work out an electronic ignition for this... don't worry, I'm not a moron, just a curious person.

06-16-2003, 11:24 PM
But chemical reactions that go bang are sooo boring :D

if i had $, spare time and know-how i'd spend it on amateur EM stuff like making tesla coils that can arc across half a metre, or even a simple coil gun.

06-17-2003, 03:37 PM
I have no idea how to make powdered Aluminium, but i would advise against trying the thermite reaction.

Ignition is normally done with a strip of magnesium, but presumeably you don't have one, as far as i know a normal flame won't work.

Also be aware that the thermite rxn will burn through most containers (forget a metal container).

Once again my advice is simply not to do it.

06-17-2003, 04:12 PM
Lol. So THAT is how you can break into payphone cashboxes easily! :)

06-17-2003, 04:18 PM
Yeah these guys are all right, the thermite is normally started with a strip of magnesium as the heat given off when it burns is nearly always hot enough to kick the reaction off. Thermite will melt metal, its used to weld together railways tracks that have broken as one of its applications. I wouldn't mess.

06-17-2003, 04:32 PM
I intend to do it in sand... no need to worry about melting the container.

Magnesium strips are actually not that hard to get. Camping stores and such sell "emergency fire starting kits" that don't work - but the block that you're supposed to shave is made of magnesium. Sparklers also contain magnesium. Anyway, I'll be safe about it.

06-17-2003, 04:35 PM
Thermites are rather harmless, just make sure you don't need whatever is beneath it :).
As for ignition, good luck. As mentioned a magnesium strip will work but it's hard to find. A few sparklers might do the trick though.

To make it easier for yourself with the aluminum powder you could put small pieces of tin-foil in a coffee grinder.