Posting Comment for "Black Powder Moistening"

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22nd December 2009 16:47

Alan Yates wrote...


Try pressing it hydraulically to increase its density and corning it. Pulverone is fine for many things but I find true corned BP far better for lift, especially in smaller devices like Roman Candles. It is far less likely to crush as well.



22nd December 2009 08:00

Dave M wrote...


Thanks for your hard work. I have made several batches and have milled the green mix for up to 24 hours. I then got the mix wet and screened it to 4 mesh and dried it very well. I have gotten it to be "almost" identical to Goex.

My homemade lift is still underpowered and I am still baffled by this.

Thanks, Dave

27th February 2009 11:36

50AE wrote...

I agree that water improves the black powder speed. In your case, it is slightly, but once, when I was making black powder for the first time with a mortar and pestle, I remember I obtained a green mix. It was gray in color and it burned slowly.

Adding 5% of water, grinding a little and letting it dry changed its color - it became black. But the speed increased almost 2 times. And like you said, water "cements" it, it makes the charcoal, sulfur and KNO3 particles stick to each other. However, in the green mix, they are loose. That's the difference.

Another revelation I had, when I grinded again this good dry black powder, I was braking the binded particles and I obtained again a slow, gray green mix.

Now I have a ball mill, and I simply add the water when I must granulate the powder, it's enough.

Thank you for writing this article. I didn't thought that someone will think to write about the goal of the water in black powder

4th January 2009 14:34

Alan Yates wrote...


That's not even remotely funny. I'm not even sure I should have moderated your comment through.

Chlorate has nothing to do with Black Powder, H3 perhaps, but not BP. Adding Chlorate to BP is dangerous and the source of many recorded accidents - Chlorate and Sulfur never belong together in basic propellants. Glycols + Chlorate form unstable and cap-sensitive cheddite-esk high explosives. Water perhaps with a little surfactant would be safer and cheaper.

As for high explosives, that's not the point of this website. Please take your "kool kiddie" crap elsewhere.



4th January 2009 03:29

Myles wrote...

I wonder why you don't use a process where the chlorate is in solution, such as glycol and then evaporate the liquid so that the milled charcoal will have chlorate deposited on all the internal structures (surfaces). The resulting charcoal having oxidiser on all it's internal surfaces would promote a faster reaction.

This method was used to make more efficient BP, enhancing the effects of explosive devices.

I see no C4 methods are here, perhaps it would be too explosive for pyrotechnics. :-)

15th December 2008 10:39

Alan Yates wrote...


Thanks mate.

Yep, not quite sure why water helps, but it sure seems to.



15th December 2008 03:27

jeff wrote...

Ive been making bp for about 6 months working with aerial shell fireworks,I have found without a doubt I can wet the bp press through a screen and get fast stuff.I also notice for shells I dont really always need fast bp especially if Im using rice hulls.Your site is a wonderment ty so much your info is great for the novice lke myself.

11th July 2008 12:47

Alan Yates wrote...


The biggest variable in BP is surely the charcoal. It can't hurt to experiment with whatever feedstock charcoals you have available, it can make an enormous difference.

The question of moistening is controversial, but my experience suggests at the very least it doesn't hurt and makes working with the BP while pressing it much easier. It does mean you have to dry it out again, but that isn't a big deal.

I've only scratched the surface of all the possible variations, as you suggest milling while dampened is something you can try. It probably would make the process slightly safer, but too much moisture makes the milling process much less efficient and can make the mill just clog with sticky powder.

It would be helpful to repeat the experiments with larger quantities so more robust data could be collected.



11th July 2008 01:43

Russ wrote...

As I've read over a dozen 'ways' to make black powder, it was helpful to find a source with qualitative findings. Thanks so much.

Can't help but wonder if milling the pre-moisioned greenmix would improve it (binding fuel and oxidizer) further still.......

thanks again........

21st January 2008 08:26

six-five-two wrote...

Interesting experiment. This has saved me quite some time. Thank you!