Balcony Shoot #47 - Glitter Gerb

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Date: 2004-08-22


Some "William's Antimony-Free Glitter" composition pressed damp into a 12.5 mm ID, 38 mm long spiral wound tube:

53 Potassium Nitrate

17 Charcoal (airfloat)

10 Aluminium (-325 mesh, spherical)

7 Sulfur

4 Iron Oxide (red)

4 Dextrin

One end was sealed with hot melt, the other with a 12.5 mm end plug. A 2.5 mm skewer was forced through the end plug and completely through the composition, leaving a central core. (The tube was too flimsy to withstand ramming without a sleve, so the moist pressed technique was selected).

A stick of blackmatch was placed into the core and held in place with a dob of slurry prime.


No glitter, kinda cool though.

I've never had much luck with glitter gerbs, they usually choke and explode. This William's glitter composition is relatively low in sulfur and contains no bicarbonate so it is much less drossy. That combined with using a cardboard end plug as a nozzle I hoped would work in my favour.

It kinda did, there was a nice plume of sparks, which went to a very good height for such a small device. However there were no flashes to speak of, basically nothing but a charcoal/glowing-dross orange effect.

I made a batch of stars using this same composition, and I had a similar problem. The dry meal burned much like D1 glitter meal, with thousands of brillant flashes, but once moistened, formed and dried again the stars just burnt (statically) into puddles of bubbling dross. Even moving through the air they didn't glitter. I guess this is one of those glitters that just doesn't like water.

The effect was brief and well behaved, it would make a good proximate effect if it proved reliable enough. It just wasn't a glitter. I'll try a dry rammed version at some point to prove it is the moistening causing the loss of glitter effect.


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