.... Thermite Incendiaries and Formulas ....
DISCLAIMER : The making and possesion of the following devices and mixtures
is probably illegal in most communities. The incendiaries are capable of
burning in excess of 5400 degrees F. and are next to impossible to
extinguish. If you make them you accept all responsibility for their
possesion and use. You also accept all responsibility for your own stupidity
and carelessness. This information is intended solely to educate.
All Formulas are by weight Thermites are a group of pyrotechnics mixtures
in which a reactive metal reduces oxygen from a metallic oxide. This produces
a lot of heat, slag and pure metal. The most common themite is ferroaluminum
thermite, made from aluminum (reactive metal) and iron oxide (metal oxide).
When it burns it produces aluminum oxide (slag) and pure iron. Thermite is
usually used to cut or weld metal. As an experiment, a 3lb. brick of thermite
was placed on an aluminum engine block. After the thermite was done burning,
only a small portion of block was melted. However, the block was very warped
out of shape plus there were cracks all through the block. Ferro-thermite
produces about 930 calories per gram. The usual proportions of ferro-thermite
are 25% aluminum and 75% iron oxide. The iron oxide usually used is not rust
(Fe2O3) but iron scale (Fe3O4). Rust will work but you may want to adjust the
mixture to about 77% rust. The aluminum is usually coarse powder to help slow
down the burning rate. The chemicals are mixed together thoroughly and
compressed into a suitable container. A first fire mix is poured on top and
ignited. NOTE: Thermites are generally very safe to mix and store. They are
not shock or friction sensitive and ignite at about 2000 degrees F. A first
fire mix is a mixture that ignites easier than thermite and burns hot enough
to light the thermite reliably.
A very good one is :
Potassium Nitrate 5 parts
Fine ground Aluminum 3 parts
Sulfur 2 parts
Mix the above thoroughly and combine 2 parts of it with 1 part of finely
powdered ferro-thermite. The resulting mixture can be light by safety fuse
and burns intensely. One problem with thermites is the difference in weight
between the aluminum and the oxide. This causes them to separate out
rendering the thermite useless. One way to fix this is to use a binder to
hold the chemicals to eachother. Sulfur is good for this. Called Diasite,
this formula uses sulfur to bind all the chemicals together. It's drawback is
the thermite must be heated to melt the sulfur. Iron Oxide 70 % Aluminum 23 %
Sulfur 7 %. Mix the oxide and aluminum together and put them in an oven at
325 degrees F. and let the mix heat for a while. When the mixture is hot
sprinkle the sulfur over it and mix well. Put this back in the oven for a few
minutes to melt all the sulfur. Pull it back out and mix it again. While it
is still hot, load into containers for use. When it cools, drill out the
diasite to hold about 10-15 grams of first fire mix. When diasite burns it
forms sulfide compounds that release hydrogen sulfide when in contact with
water. This rotten egg odor can hamper fire fighting efforts. Thermite can be
made not to separate by compressing it under a couple of tons pressure. The
resulting pellet is strong and burns slower than thermite powder.
This formula can be cast into molds or containers and hardens into a solid
mass. It does not produce as much iron as regular ferro-thermite, but it
makes a slag which stays liquid a lot longer. Make a mixtures as follows.
Plaster of Paris 2 parts Fine and Coarse
Mixed Aluminum 2 parts
Iron Oxide 3 parts
Mix together well and and enough water to wet down plaster. Pour it into a
mold and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Pour off any extra water that seperates out
on top. Let this dry in the sun for at least a week. Or dry in the sun for
one day and put in a 250 degree F. oven for a couple of hours. Drill it out
for a first fire mix when dry.
Thermite can be made to explode by taking the cast thermite formula and
substituting fine powdered aluminum for the coarse/fine mix. Take 15 grams of
first fire mix and put in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Insert a
waterproof fuse into the mix and gather up the foil around the fuse.
Waterproof the foil/fuse with a thin coat of wax. Obtain a two-piece
spherical mold with a diameter of about 4-5 inches. Wax or oil the inside of
the mold to help release the thermite. Now, fill one half of themold with the
cast thermite. Put the first fire/fuse package into the center of the filled
mold. Fill the other half of the mold with the thermite and assemble mold.
The mold will have to have a hole in it for the fuse to stick out. In about
an hour, carefully separate the mold. You should have a ball of thermite with
the first fire mix in the center of it, and the fuse sticking out of the
ball. Dry the ball in the sun for about a week. DO NOT DRY IT IN AN OVEN! The
fuse ignites the first fire mix which in turn ignites the thermite. Since the
thermite is ignited from the center out, the heat builds up in the thermite
and it burns faster than normal. The result is a small explosion. The
thermite ball burns in a split second and throws molten iron and slag around.
Use this carefully!
To cut metal with thermite, take a refractory crucible and drill a 1/4 in.
hole in the bottom. Epoxy a thin (20 ga.) sheet of mild steel over the hole.
Allow the epoxy to dry. Fill the crucible with ferro-thermite and insert a
first fire igniter in the thermite. Fashion a standoff to the crucible. This
should hold the crucible about 1 1/2 in. up. Place the well over your target
and ignite the first fire. The well works this way. The thermite burns,
making slag and iron. Since the iron is heavier it goes to the bottom of the
well. The molten iron burns through the metal sheet. This produces a small
delay which gives the iron and slag more time to separate fully. The molten
iron drips out through the hole in the bottom of the crucible. The standoff
allows the thermite to continue flowing out of the crucible. The force of the
dripping iron bores a hole in the target. A 2 lb. thermite well can penetrate
up to 3/4 in. of steel. Experiment with different configurations to get
maximum penetration. For a crucible, try a flower pot coated with a magnesium
oxide layer. Sometimes the pot cracks however. Take the cast thermite
formula and add 50% ferro-thermite to it. This produces a fair amount of iron
plus a very liquid slag.
THERMITE FUEL-AIR EXPLOSION:
This is a very dangerous device. Ask yourself if you really truly want to
make it before you do any work on it. It is next to impossible to give any
dimensions of containers or weights of charges because of the availability of
parts changes from one person to the next. However here is a general
description of this device affectionately known as a HELLHOUND. Make a
thermite charge in a 1/8 in. wall pipe. This charge must be electrically
ignited. At the opposite end of the pipe away from the ignitor side put a
small explosive charge of flash powder weighing about 1 oz. Drill a small
hole in a pipe end cap and run the wires from the ignitor through the hole.
Seal the wires and hole up with fuel proof epoxy or cement. Try ferrule
cement available at sporting goods stores. Dope the threads of the end caps
with a good pipe dope and screw them onto the pipe. This gives you a thermite
charge in an iron pipe arranged so that when the thermite is electrically
ignited, it will burn from one end to the other finally setting of the flash
powder charge. Place this device in a larger pipe or very stout metal
container which is sealed at one end. Use a couple of metal "spiders" to keep
the device away from the walls or ends of the larger container. Run the wires
out through the wall of the container and seal the wires with the fuel proof
epoxy. Fill the container with a volatile liquid fuel. Acetone or gasoline
works great. Now seal up the container with an appropriate end cap and it is
done. The device works like this: Attach a timer-power supply to the wires.
When the thermite is ignited it superheats the liquid fuel. Since the
container is strong enough to hold the pressure the fuel does not boil. When
the thermite burns down to the explosive, it explodes rupturing the container
and releasing the superheated fuel. The fuel expands, cooling off and making
a fine mist and vapor that mixes with the surrounding air. The hot thermite
slag is also thrown into the air which ignites the fuel-air mix. The result
is obvious. Try about 1 1/2 lbs of thermite to a gallon of fuel. For the
pressure vessel, try an old pressure cooker. Because the fuel may dissolve
the epoxy don't keep this device around for very long. But ask yourself, do
you really want to make this?
Thermites can also be made from teflon-magnesium or metal flourides-
magnesium or aluminum. If there is an excess of flouride compound in the mix-
ture, flourine gas can be released. Flourine is extremely corrosive and
reactive. The gas can cause organic material to burst into flames by mere
contact. For teflon-magnesium use 67% teflon and 33% magnesium. A strong
first fire igniter should be used to ignite this mixture. Both the teflon and
the magnesium should be in powdered form. Do not inhale any smoke from the
burning mixture. If you use metal-florides instead of teflon, use flourides
of low energy metals. Lead flouride is a good example. Try using 90% lead
flouride and 10% aluminum.
Flouride compounds can be very poisonous. They are approximately equal to
cyanide compounds. Another exotic mix is tricalcium orthophosphate and
aluminum. When this burns, it forms calcium phosphide which when contacts
water releases hydrogen phosphide which can ignite spontaneously in air.
Tricalcium orthophosphate has the formula Ca3(PO4)2 and is known as white-
lockite. Use about 75% orthophosphate and 25% aluminum. This ratio may have
to be altered for better burning as I have not experimented with it much and
don't know if more aluminum may reduce the calcium better. It does work but
it is a hard to ignite mixture. A first fire mix containing a few percent of
magnesium works well. Fighting thermite fires: Two ways to fight thermite
fires are either smothering the thermite with sand. This doesn't put out the
thermite but it does help contain it and block some of the heat. The other
way is to flood the thermite with a great amount of water. This helps to
break the thermite apart and stop the reaction. If you use a small amount of
water, an explosion may result as the thermite may reduce the water and
release hydrogen gas. Thermite can start fires from the heat radiating from
the reaction. Nearby flammable substances can catch fire even though no
sparks or flame touch them.