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(Denver Post)   Teen attempts to break down fireworks by putting them in coffee grinder. What could possibly go wrong?   (denverpost.com) divider line 78
    More: Dumbass, fireworks, Durango  
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10159 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Jul 2011 at 9:28 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-07-08 11:04:45 AM
Rich Cream

That's how I know there is no explosion without containment.

You sound like a smart guy. Ever heard of flash powder? Whistle mix?

Put a bunch of powder in a glass jar, seal it and add a fuse and all you get is a "pop" and a bunch of flames.

ಠ_ಠ
 
2011-07-08 11:05:44 AM

Aidan:
I hear ya. I just like folks who are, as you said, intellectually curious. :)


Ok kids, here's today's experiment.

Take an empty soda bottle, liter or more probably, no cap, put maybe half a shot of rubbing alcohol in there and swish it around so the bottle fills with fumes. Lay the bottle on its side and put a flame near the open mouth.

Will it:
A. Explode in your face, shaking houses a quarter mile away?
B. Take off like a rocket?
C. Burn so slowly that you can watch the flames progress through the bottle and the expanding gases make a whistling sound at the aperture?
D. Nothing happens.


The answer is always C.
 
2011-07-08 11:06:54 AM

WyDave: The Durango paper had such extra pertinent information. Keywords: trailer park, shirtless.


Before or after the blast?
 
2011-07-08 11:07:01 AM

studebaker hoch: Rich Cream

That's how I know there is no explosion without containment.

You sound like a smart guy. Ever heard of flash powder? Whistle mix?

Put a bunch of powder in a glass jar, seal it and add a fuse and all you get is a "pop" and a bunch of flames.

ಠ_ಠ


Read three posts above yours. No need to reiterate.
 
2011-07-08 11:07:52 AM

Rich Cream: Aidan:
I hear ya. I just like folks who are, as you said, intellectually curious. :)

Ok kids, here's today's experiment.

Take an empty soda bottle, liter or more probably, no cap, put maybe half a shot of rubbing alcohol in there and swish it around so the bottle fills with fumes. Lay the bottle on its side and put a flame near the open mouth.

Will it:
A. Explode in your face, shaking houses a quarter mile away?
B. Take off like a rocket?
C. Burn so slowly that you can watch the flames progress through the bottle and the expanding gases make a whistling sound at the aperture?
D. Nothing happens.


The answer is always C.


Mo-om! A man on the internet told me to set fire to rubbing alcohol in the kitchen!
 
2011-07-08 11:08:41 AM
That is nearly as bad as my friend who, well I'm unclear on the details, but it involved using a hammer on a shotgun primer. Other than that teensy incident we were fairly safe with projects...

/why yes, Macguyver was his favorite show
//he could use his hand again a few months later
 
2011-07-08 11:14:34 AM

angry_scientist: That is nearly as bad as my friend who, well I'm unclear on the details, but it involved using a hammer on a shotgun primer. Other than that teensy incident we were fairly safe with projects...

/why yes, Macguyver was his favorite show
//he could use his hand again a few months later


My dad has stories about setting off .22 rounds in the backyard with a hammer and a nail when he was a kid in the 50s.

/If you guessed West Virginia redneck, come get your prize
//Lucky for me, Darwin never claimed his ass
 
2011-07-08 11:16:06 AM
Ahh the 4th of July. They don't call it "Christmas for Rednecks" for nothing.
 
2011-07-08 11:16:30 AM

BurnShrike:
Mo-om! A man on the internet told me to set fire to rubbing alcohol in the kitchen!


Who said anything about a kitchen? Get down in the basement.

Remember kids. Flames travel up.
 
2011-07-08 11:18:36 AM

angry_scientist: That is nearly as bad as my friend who, well I'm unclear on the details, but it involved using a hammer on a shotgun primer. Other than that teensy incident we were fairly safe with projects...

/why yes, Macguyver was his favorite show
//he could use his hand again a few months later



Ah yes. Ok kids, one more.

Take a pack of standard matches and smash it with a hammer on the sidewalk. But be careful. :p
 
2011-07-08 11:31:13 AM
Last year, just after we moved into our house, we were invited over to a neighbour's BBQ. We weren't able to attend but he let us know that they were going to be setting off fireworks and about what time they were going to do it so we could enjoy the show. His brother in law was a professional pyrotechnics guy so he brought over some big ones to set off. So a) They were way too close for the size, b) They were really loud, c) Setting off little forest fires on our property since our lots are forested in the back. My in-laws kids absolutely loved it and think our house is the coolest one ever now. The rest of us spent a few minutes running around with water pails

/Somewhat CSS
 
2011-07-08 11:32:35 AM

cracKness: "...the teen had read online about how larger fireworks could be made from smaller ones."

[trollface.jpg]


So much this.

Welcome to 4-chan fireworks board.
Dumbass: I got a lot of little fireworks. How can I make them into something cool?
Troll: First what you need is a 2 gallon stock pot. Fill this 2/3 of the way with the highest test gasoline you can find. To make sure you have a high quality base, add two bottles of octane booster. Now add styrofoam pieces into the mix until it is 1 inch from the top, or it stops disolving. Make you you mix it regularly and it should get really thick. Now place this mixture on a stove and let it simmer. While you are waiting for this mixture to cook down, place your fireworks on your kitchen counter so you can open them. A butcher knife is best for this as you can just chop through them.

Once you have all the powder out, start pounding on it with a hammer to get it really fine. Now take a steel pipe with a threaded end cap on it and glue lots of nails to the outside of it, with all the pointy ends sticking out. (this will alllow you to stick it on various surfaces such as trees where it will be out of harms way). Now fill it so it is over flowing with the powder. By this time the gas mixture should be ready. Lay out wax paper on your counter and pour the mixture out so it can dry. Now back to the steel pipe. take another end cap and screw it down tight on the pipe. Make sure you get as much powder in the threads as possible so it forms a tight seal. Now a 2 inch fuse shold give you about 5 minutes to get to a safe area. Make sure you light it indoors so the wind doesn't put it out.

Dumbass: Wow! thanks, I'll go do this right now!

Troll: LOL!
 
2011-07-08 11:38:25 AM

Rich Cream: Ah yes. Ok kids, one more.

Take a pack of standard matches and smash it with a hammer on the sidewalk. But be careful. :p



I'm sure you mean, take the heads off of the matches and stuff them tightly into a tennis ball. It is a reasonably safe way that looks like you're making the jump to hyperspace!

/if they're coming at you
 
2011-07-08 11:44:56 AM

hailin: After this year I HATE fireworks. A couple weekends ago we were camping and fire danger was "low" so some nimrods brought some fireworks. They through the "little" fountain ones in the fire to see what would happen and they just exploded, setting a couple nylon chairs on fire (I would have stopped them, but I was off finding firewood). Then they lit a whole bunch of big ones that kept exploding in the trees. Thankfully nothing caught fire, but I was pissed to say the least.

Then on 4th of July the family had the 12-year-old nephew light the fireworks (which he is a responsible kid and mom didn't care, so whatever). One box fell over and nearly started the boat on fire. One of the fountains exploded instead of sending showers of sparks up which luckily the nephew was far away from. Then one of the artillery shell blew up in the tube, again nearly starting the boat on fire and injuring the nephew. They were lighting them at the end of the dock and should have moved the boats. Plus with them failing like they were we just packed it up early.

My conclusion is fireworks and being crappily produced these days and people are too stupid to use them properly. I think I've had maybe one firework malfunction before this year where three have. From now on I'm just going to lock myself inside the house or watch fireworks put on by the professionals. My friends and family are too stupid.


I had a fireworks malfunction as well. It supposed to shoot up, but it shot sideways. One of the tubes in the cake tore apart from the set. Not going to buy consumer grade fireworks again as I do not want to get Darwined by crappily made goods.
 
2011-07-08 11:46:51 AM

MadTheologian: I had a fireworks malfunction as well. It supposed to shoot up, but it shot sideways. One of the tubes in the cake tore apart from the set. Not going to buy consumer grade fireworks again as I do not want to get Darwined by crappily made goods.


Oh come on. Those 8 year-old Chinese children are masters of their art.
 
2011-07-08 11:48:34 AM
Should have used a burr grinder.

/coffee geeks only
 
2011-07-08 12:01:20 PM
ummm doesn't sound like that was a very smart idea
 
2011-07-08 12:55:53 PM
What a buffoon. Everyone knows you have to microwave the fireworks first.

www.dailypspmovie.com
 
2011-07-08 02:29:49 PM

namegoeshere: If by "shook" they meant "could be heard at" then it works. Gunshots can be heard quite a distance away.
But "shook" sounds more dramatic, ya know.


Well, given that sound is acoustical energy which "shakes" a house as much as your eardrum, they are technically correct.

...The best kind of correct.
 
2011-07-08 02:51:00 PM

ajgeek: That could've worked if the grinder could have been slowed down to a significant degree.

/I wonder if these people have ever heard of a "mortar and pestle"


It'd still be dangerous as fark in any kind of electric grinder.

I doubt it was the heat, more likely a spark since most electric motors generate lots of 'em. Probably had gunpowder floating in the air. Boom.
 
2011-07-08 04:49:39 PM
ajgeek:
"That could've worked if the grinder could have been slowed down to a significant degree.

/I wonder if these people have ever heard of a "mortar and pestle"



Professional pyrotechnician here (true story, bro). No it couldn't, and a mortar and pestle is NO guarantee of safety for live compounds.

Super stable compositions such as black powder can sometimes survive that kind of compression and friction (though not always), but any sort of flash powder, whistle comp, or pretty much anything chlorate-based is almost guaranteed to go off when you start mashing it with a mortar and pestle. And it doesn't go off pretty, and contrary to Rich Cream's assertion it doesn't need any sort of containment at all. We had an incident at a convention several years ago where a guy kicked at a bit of flash powder that was lying loose on the ground and the resulting explosion took off a piece of his foot.

Not to mention - no matter what you use to grind things up, if you're reusing existing fireworks you're likely going to end up mixing multiple compounds that weren't meant to be mixed. There are certain incompatibilities, such as chlorate and sulfur, that will result in your end product being unstable even if you do manage to get as far as mixing it without triggering a reaction (more info).

Grinders, mortars and pestles, ball mills, etc. are useful when mixing inert ingredients - i.e. just fuels or just oxidizers. Once you've mixed the two, they become extremely sensitive to friction, compression, static, shock and in some cases to water (such as magnesium-based compounds) and heat. There are safe -- rather, safER -- ways to build fireworks of all sizes, but education, respect and awareness of what you're working with are key.


/not trying to show off my knowledge or harsh on you, I just don't want some kid reading this thread and thinking, "OK, coffee grinder is a bad idea - I'll just use a mortar and pestle, that'll be safe."
 
2011-07-08 05:11:35 PM
And here we go again. The 'teen' this and the 'teen' that... and I read the article and this guy is 19. Freaking 19. If he did this at age 19, he should be locked up in an asylum away from people and dangerous items. It is funny how the MSM uses this word to help create certain thoughts in the minds of its readers. They always use 'teen' when they want to create shock and/or sympathy, but when it is a 19 yo soldier dying in one of those c**k waving contests we are calling 'the war on terror, he is a 'man'.

Quick note to the MSM... either a person is an adult at 18 or he isn't... make up your minds...

CynicalCynic
 
2011-07-08 05:26:16 PM

spmkk: [...]and contrary to Rich Cream's assertion, it doesn't need any sort of containment at all.


FTFY

I figure there is a ratio of expansion speed to available space (containment, solid or atmospheric) for the pressure to release as to when an "explosion" occurs. Like why bottle rockets (usually) fly off rather than blow up. Or when you break duds in half and ignite the innards. They just spark up, spin and smoke.

Can you tell me how often flash powder is used in the standard public grade firework? I really have no idea. I didn't think that it would be common enough for people to keep mentioning it as the holy grail of "that's what happens whenever you play around".
 
2011-07-08 06:37:29 PM
Rich Cream "I figure there is a ratio of expansion speed to available space (containment, solid or atmospheric) for the pressure to release as to when an "explosion" occurs. Like why bottle rockets (usually) fly off rather than blow up. Or when you break duds in half and ignite the innards. They just spark up, spin and smoke."


The reason bottle rockets fly instead of blowing up is that their fuel load is compressed into a solid block (usually with a hydraulic press). When something burns, it's the surface of it that's burning, not the inside. With a granular compound (i.e. loose powder), every grain has a proportionally large surface area and the flame can transfer from one grain to another very quickly. With one solid block of material, there is exponentially less surface area and the outside has to burn away before anything on the inside can ignite. This is why a log takes an hour to burn in your fireplace, but the same log ground up into sawdust would burn up in minutes or even seconds.

The reason that containment has an effect on weak compositions (black powder, etc.) is: (a) confinement keeps the charge together long enough for the flame to reach all the granules before they fly apart, and (b) while that's happening, pressure builds up in the containing chamber until it reaches its structural limits and bursts, like inflating a balloon until it pops. In stronger compositions the combustion happens much faster, and to a certain extent it acts as its own container. When you get up into actual explosives, the physical nature of the reaction is different and no containment is needed at all (as in the case of TNT).

Your bottle analogy above doesn't apply to this discussion because everything we've talked about so far is self-oxidizing - in other words, the oxygen needed for burning is built into the material. Alcohol relies on atmospheric oxygen, and will only burn as quickly as it can get it. When it's in the bottle, barely any oxygen can get to it at all so it will burn very slowly (if it even burns). However - if you took that same alcohol and sprayed it out of a mister at a burning candle, it would burn much faster because oxygen is freely available. But the flame won't back up into your spray bottle because there is no oxygen available to burn the alcohol in the tube that leads up to the nozzle.


"Can you tell me how often flash powder is used in the standard public grade firework? I really have no idea. I didn't think that it would be common enough for people to keep mentioning it as the holy grail of "that's what happens whenever you play around"."

Very often - it's universal. Every firecracker you've ever seen has flash powder in it. Almost everything that goes snap, crackle or pop is made with flash powder. There's generally less of it (though it's still there) in "safe & sane" fireworks, but what you'll find there is whistle mix - the stuff that causes your fountains to erupt and (as the name implies) the whistling effect you hear out of those fountains and other effects. Whistle mix is only incrementally less powerful/sensitive than flash powder, but it has the advantage that you can compress it as discussed above. If it were in that same tube as loose powder instead of a solid block, that tube would explode violently.


For the record, I don't discourage playing around. I only advocate for playing around in a safe, educated and informed manner. That's what keeps us alive so we can keep playing around.
 
2011-07-08 07:11:58 PM
Nice going Michael Bay Jr.
 
2011-07-08 07:50:29 PM
i54.tinypic.com

Approves.
 
2011-07-09 01:33:00 AM
Can't have an explosive thread without posting what happens when you don't know what you are doing. These are extremely graphic images. If you are considering playing with explosives, look at these images.
 
2011-07-09 04:52:08 AM

blanchae: Can't have an explosive thread without posting what happens when you don't know what you are doing. These are extremely graphic images. If you are considering playing with explosives, look at these images.


You know what else can happen? AWESOME can happen.
 
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