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Blaf

Dragon eggs

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Hello everybody

Here I go again....anybody of you ever tried to make dragon eggs? Or in other words - crackling micro stars? They're made of mixture (today ecologically unacceptable) of Copper oxide, certain lead compound and MagnAlium. I have no any MgAl so far so I tried to replace it with Al...and there was no crackling. As a matter of fact, I wasn't expecting anything at all. MgAl is the one producing that distinctive crackling sound, isn't it?

Your comments from real experience are welcome...

Blaf

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I believe tha Pb3O4 gives the crackling sound,
Please look out with this sas, it is DANGEROUS and has a very, very poisonous component in it, lead oxides come, but they don't go!!
The eggs are quiet sensitive to shock and friction and can not be made by people who just start!!

Magnalium can be made at home by melting Al and Mg 50/50.

The metal is quiet breakable so it's easy powdered by putting it into the ballmill for some hours

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About the lead vapours, you breath it in and it is going to settle in youre lungs and it slowly clogs up youre lungs so that you can't breath.

So ALWAYS wear a mask when you melt lead or do stuff with molten lead involved.

With regards
Grasmaaier.

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Ah, so, there you are all again...in afact I'm glad to throw a rabbit among hungry snakes sometimes.
First, I know that lead compounds are all poisonous...I know it for long time and if you look at my details, you should see I'm reloader of handgun ammunition as well, which implies dealing with pure lead and its fumes. So lets presume I'm aware of implications, OK? I would just like to know if someone actually ever tried to make those little crackling beauties and what was the final outcome. The mixture of lead tetraoxide+cuprum dioxide+nitrocelulose lacquer has been well described all over the Net but what I need here is something from real life...
Second, Exhile my friend - this is for you. I don't know much of this and I could just rely on what I read elsewhere...there was a guy making MagnAlium, he powdered it and tossed a small quantity over an open flame - he says that crackling sound that turned him back in time of his childhood, was so loud and beautiful. There I learned that crackling must be the feature of MgAl, not of the rest of mixture.
I have to add this too - you probably wonder where on this Earth I found Pb3O4? This compound is not easily available nowadays. But I'm blessed living on Adriatic sea where traditions die very hard. Fisherman here used to paint their boats with lead minium which is once sold in powdered form. They would mix it with with bull blood and thus making a thick paint which kept away sea shells and algae from their boats. Today you just get the final product, ready made for usage. There we come to a small paint shop and a forgotten bag, half-full of pure Pb3O4 powder...so if any of you ever come here, there must be some 30 kg of it waiting to be distributed. Wait - I just have an idea for a new topic...

Tnx for comments U2!

Blaf

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I can not believe the crackling sound comes from the Mg/Al, if you make an Mg/Al flash, then you won't hear the crackling sound either,
Pb3O4 can be made at home with i method that i won't describe here( to dangerous, you need some good protection and glassware.
Members who want to know the procedure, you know were to pm me

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Making Pb3O4 at home, no thank you my friend. I told you, I have a life supply of it it. As for MgAl in flash, I never tried it. You know what - it would be best to record a crackle on tape and play it back when I need it...

Blaf

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The Mg/AL there was in flash, not in dragon eggs, if it was for the MgAl to crackle, then they would never but NEVER put such a dangerous component in a pyrotechnical sas unnecessary

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Here's something I pulled out from "Backyard Magnalium" by A.J.Smith which tells more about properties of this nice alloy...with special attention to specific sound of it when burning. Here it is:

"The composition of the sample was probably slightly slanted to the magnesium end of the continuum, perhaps about 55/45 magnesium / aluminum because of the oxide content of the aluminum sample. Qualitative analysis of the sample was not available. However, pounding portions of the sample in a steel mortar and pestle revealed that it crumbled into a granular powder with minimal effort and minimal expenditure of time. The resulting powder was screened into powders of different particle size and tested for its charachteristics in several pyrotechnic mixtures. Admixture with water produced the aroma of ammonia (i.e. NH4OH), which suggests that care should be used with this material, avoiding mixtures with chlorates especially in water-based systems (e.g. stars bound with dextrin and water). Magnalium glitter made with the material had bright flashes and the characteristic sizzling sound associated with other magnalium based pyrotechnic mixtures. Dropping small quantities of the coarser powder through the flame of a propane torch also elicited the characteristic sizzling sound, and produced bright flashes of white light."

That much of "Who makes crackle" dispute...

Blaf

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Hello guys

Let us get back to this neglected topic: Dragon Eggs or elsewhere known as Crackling Microstars are small lttle chunks making nice loud cracks. Precautions are must as Lead compounds are toxic...

The composition is well known and I'm not going to elaborate it here. In fact there are a few very similar mixtures, two of them utilizing Lead Tetraoxide (Red Minium) while third one uses Bizmuth Trioxide. Those of you keeping track of my earlier posts could see that Minium is almost impossible to get hold of nowadays, but me being lucky, purchased two kilos while it was still available. And now, since I'm in posession of other essential ingredients, I dared to enter the Land of Dragons, unknown to me by now.

The formula I used included Minium, Potassium Nitrate, Sulphur, little Al and NC lacquer in following ratios by weight:

Author: Lancaster
MgAl - 17
Lead Tetraoxide (Pb3O4) - 44
KNO3 - 4
Sulfur - 4
Copper (II) Oxide – 31
NC lacquer – 5%

Chemicals (except Minium!!!) are mixed dry first and then NC lacquer is added. Thorough mixing with wooden stick is necessary here until it all becomes a thick soup. Then, Minium is added and nicely mixed in, little Acetone helps here to maintain consistency of the mixture and keeping Minium dust down. By further mixing it dries gradually and finally reaches dough thickness. Then, it could be granulated (as I did partially) through rough screen or poured and flattened on waxed paper (I did it too) and left to dry. Later, when it hardens, it could be crushed (corned) into smaller pieces and sieved. I did just a little crushing and some bits are pretty big but I don't care for now. See the image...



I tried smaller ones by positioning a few of them on flat surface of my test desk and lighting it with my torch lighter. Eggs do not burn at first but they heat up instead, changing colour from dim to bright orange. It happens quickly, though and after a second they burst with flash and sharp crackling sound. I must admit, I like it eventhough I expected much louder cracks. Maybe other recipes work better, don't kow yet until I try them. Anyhow, take a look at short video...

Crackle.wmv

Blaf

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The finer your ingredients, the louder the snap should be. I think you can use titanium powder in the original formula instead of MgAl, but I expect it to be some more sensitive to friction and shock. I've never tried it though.

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I once made dragon eggs stars. I used the original (81.8/9.1/9.1) formula, and that worked great! It was REALLY hard to ignite, but gave incredibly loud cracks. There is a short video with some of my smallest 'stars', and they crack nicely. I once ignited a coated 1mm*2mm*2mm piece, (with fuse paper :P) and it realy loudly BANGed! Thatone realy shocked me.

Never used dragon eggs anymore later on. They really needed a high temp bp/Al mixture to ignite well, which is hard to use when not rolling your stars.

I might try some other compositions soon, there must be a mid-way between loud cracks and easy ignitable.


Edit:
My MgAl mesh was variating between 80 and 600+. Non-sieved stuff..

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I always have wanted to make dragon eggs. Unfortunately I haven´t got any sources to the right stuff.
But it looks really nice, and Blaf could you try to make a litlle fountain with those crackling stars you made.

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I should certainly try that very soon. Meanwhile, I made something like crackling balls, simple star composition with smallest eggs I had at hand and little more Dextrine, poured into small paper cups, piece of fuse added on top and left to dry. When ignited, it produced lots of orange sparks (as it ment to be) nicely spiced with white flashes and cracks. I must admit, eventhough the efect was too short, I liked it.

Blaf

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Has anyone tried the dragon egg comp:

9......Bi2O3
1......Mg/Al (-100 mesh)
1......CuO

Or the prime:

7.....KClO4
2.....Mg/Al (-200 mesh)
1.....Red Gum

??

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Has anyone tried the dragon egg comp:

9......Bi2O3
1......Mg/Al (-100 mesh)
1......CuO

Or the prime:

7.....KClO4
2.....Mg/Al (-200 mesh)
1.....Red Gum

??

beware the prime is very close to 70/30 magnalium/KClO4 the most powerful flash i have made/used .The only difference is for flash the magnalium is much finer . perhaps a thermit type compound bp with added iron oxide would safely ignite the stars

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Did you realize you just bumped a very old topic?

I have tried both compositions, and for the first one it is very important to make in really small stars. I used a 40 mesh screen, and this worked fine. The prime burns very violent when unbound, so be careful. You only need a very little bit for priming dragon eggs, for a 100 gram batch approximately 10 grams is enough. Applying a second prime such as meal powder over the first prime is recommended, or at least if the dragon eggs are not to be used as star cores.

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It is best to use 325-400 mesh MgAl, for the loudest crackel. the crackel or pop is caused by the interaction of the oxide and aluminum in the MgAl, producing aluminum Azide,which explodes. shimizu had a complete article on them in an isuue of Pyrotechnica.


Gary Moore

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