How to Make the World's Hottest Burning Man-Made Substance: Thermite
I feel like doing a bit of chemistry today, how about you? To my knowledge, thermite is the hottest burning man-made substance. Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition of a metal powder and a metal oxide that produces an exothermic oxidation-reduction reaction known as a thermitereaction.
Fe2O3 + 2 Al -> 2 Fe + Al2O3
Basically, a high temperature burning metal like iron oxide (rust) mixed with an easier to ignite, oxidizing metal will produce incredibly high amounts of heat in a small area for a short amount of time. Thermite is so hot and powerful, that it can even burn straight through asphalt. This is fun for some homemade fireworks, but beware, it's against the law to make incendiary mixtures like this and ignite them.
- A 9v battery -OR- iron oxide powder bought at a paint supply store
- Some wire
- NaCl (table salt)
- Aluminum foil or powder
- A jar
- A metal file
- Magnesium strips to ignite the thermite. You can also use sparklers, as most of them contain magnesium
To collect some rust, we can either go to the paint supply store to get it ourselves, or make it at home. Buying it is far easier and more convenient. Paint stores often sell iron oxide power as a color additive for paint. But if that isn't an option, here's how to make it:
- Fill a jar with water.
- Add a tablespoon of salt to the water.
- Wrap separate wires around the positive and negative ends of the 9v battery.
- Stick both wires in the water and see which one makes more bubbles.
- Take the wire that makes more bubbles and wrap the exposed part to something metal, preferably iron, like a nail, and sink it in the water while removing the other wire.
- Wait a few days for rust to build up, and scrape it off into a bowl with a metal file. Repeat to your heart's desire.
Using aluminum in thermite is great because it has a low ignition point, but burns at a high temperature. This allows for very hot thermite. To get aluminum, you can also buy this from a paint or hardware store, but you might not want to buy them at the same time, in fear of the employees suspecting what you are up to.
You can actually grind or cut up plain old aluminum foil if you can't get any power. Try to get the chunks as small as you can.
You should have a visual 50-50 mixture of rust and aluminum. Meaning they look like the same amount, but do not weigh the same.
Using a very long strand of magnesium ribbon, put it in a pile of thermite, ignite it, and run away. You can use a sparkler, too.
- Be *very* careful! You could kill yourself if the thermite ignites with you too close.
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