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DIY Solid Rocket Fuel

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Montauk

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I happened across a video today that details how to make rocket fuel for hobby rockets. I figure this fuel could be used to create makeshift bazooka-like weapons, signal flares, distractions, traps, etc. Because it could potentially be used for so many things I'll only detail what you'll need for the fuel itself. Here is what you'll need:

Materials:
  • Powdered Sugar - Commonly found in grocery stores, supermarkets, some restaurants and homes.
  • Potassium Nitrate - Commonly found in hardware stores, garden supply stores, home improvement stores, landscaping businesses, etc.
  • Baking Soda - Commonly found in grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants & homes.

Tools:
  • Grinder - Anything to grind the potassium nitrate into a fine powder, like a coffee grinder or blender (if you have electricity), hand crank grinder of some kind, or a mortar & pestle.
  • Hammer or Rubber Mallet - Commonly found in hardware stores, mechanic shops, & garages.
  • Tamper - Anything to compress the mixture with the hammer. This depends on what you're putting the mixture into. Scrap pieces of wood work fine.
  • Mixing container - Any kind of small enclosed container to carefully mix the ingredients together via shaking. Tupperware containers work well.
  • Metal sheet - Any kind of metal sheet to put the ground potassium nitrate on to apply heat to. Cookie sheets, sheet metal scrap, pie tin, etc.
  • Heat source - Some kind of heat source where you have general control over the temperature. An oven is ideal but without electricity or gas a carefully tended bbq grill or fire could be used.
  • Scale - Some kind of scale to weigh out the ingredients.

Material Preparation:
  1. Grind the potassium nitrate into a fine powder.
  2. Apply heat to the potassium nitrate to draw out any moisture. You'll want to heat it to 300* for 30 minutes.

Fast burning "rocket" fuel:
For a fast burning rocket-like fuel you want to mix powdered sugar and potassium nitrate together in a 13 grams potassium nitrate to 7 grams powdered sugar ratio by weight (85%/35% or roughly 2:1).

Slow burning "delay" fuel: If you want the mixture to have a slow burning fuse effect, take the fast burning mixture and add baking soda to the mixture at a 20 grams fast burn mixture to 3 grams baking soda ratio by weight (87%/13% or roughly 5.5:1 by weight).

Further Preparation:
  1. Pour your mixture into whatever your loading it in.
  2. With your tamper and hammer, carefully pack the mixture to compress it.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 until you've reached the desired amount.
Additional preparation may be required depending on the application, but that's for another thread.

Here's a link to the video that sparked this post where you can see the difference between the fast & slow burn mixtures and it's use in a model rocket.

 
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