Black Powder

Discussion in 'United Kingdom Rocketry' started by Space Oddity, Jul 15, 2015.

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  1. Jul 15, 2015 #1

    Space Oddity

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    Please can anyone advise a reliable and legal UK supplier of black powder?
    My purpose is to use it in ejection charges for a dual deployment rocket.

    I'm assuming there are suppliers as I've seen trials and actual charges going off at EARS. Can't find a supplier on the web however.

    Also, would you advise the best grade of powder to use. I don't know much about the grading and the differences between coarse and fine. The advice I've read so far ranges from FFFFG down to breaking open a fire work! I can guess the difference but would like to know a bit more of the science behind powder types before using some.

    Thanks,

    SO.
     
  2. Jul 15, 2015 #2

    Onebadhawk

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    I sent an email to Pyro Pete....
    He aught to know...

    Teddy
     
  3. Jul 16, 2015 #3

    amell

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    Hi SO,

    Malcolm will sell you small quantities of Black Powder if you take a suitable container.

    You do however, technically need an explosives license to keep BP at home in the UK. This is free from local police firearms and explosives team but needs interview at home etc

    Easiest way is to just ask someone at a launch for some BP to use there and then. I'd happily let you have some to use there and then for small recompense.

    The other alternative is pyrodex powder which doesn't need a license but doesn't have quite the same explosive force.

    Do you need BP? It is only really needed for two stage or apogee triggered deployments. For apogee deployments many people just take some BP out of the top of the motor under the cardboard cap.

    Hope that helps!

    Andy
     
  4. Jul 16, 2015 #4

    Space Oddity

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    Thanks,

    That certainly helps.

    I'll have a look at a licence as I want to test the effectiveness of the charge at home. Trial not only the charge quantity but also the electronics. I'd rather have a failure at home than after travelling to EARS and having it there.
    At the moment I have my design and all the components I need to build the rocket. It is duel deployment and will have two charges for both the drogue deployment at apogee and the main at a lower altitude. Level 1 is my priority however so I probably won't fly it this year.

    SO.
     
  5. Jul 16, 2015 #5

    Simon

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    You can buy black powder at must gun shops in the UK. Personally I don't bother as there is more than enough in a typical motor ejection charge to fire both main and apogee in a smaller rocket. The legalities of it though are a bit strange to say the least. You can keep bp at home as part of a rocket motor without an explosives certificate, as soon as you take it out of the motor and keep it at home you'll need an explosives certificate. It may even be illegal to use the motor after doing this as technically it is a modified motor. The crazy thing is that Aerotech motors come with the bp loose in a small container, but it is legal to keep this at home. Interestingly an Estes D motor has about 0.7 grams of BP in it's ejection charge, but you don't even need an RCA for these. The law over rocketry and bp is a little strange to say the least. If I were you I'd get an explosives certificate if they are free in your area (they are in most areas of the country) just so you are covered whatever the eventuality.
    The added benefit of having an explosives certificate is the response time of the police if you are burgled, I had a break in about 2 years ago and the police were at my house within 2 minutes.

    As for the grain of the powder, the finer the better, so the more F's the better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  6. Jul 16, 2015 #6

    amell

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    Simon, never knew about the faster response time! That's very handy but I suspect that it wouldn't make much difference in my case as the chief constable lives over the road :)
     
  7. Jul 19, 2015 #7

    thomas

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    You could also consider using flash cotton = Nitrocellulose instead, not the smokeless powder, but the wool.
    In germany it is quite common to use it for ejection charges, since black powder is also regulated here.
    You can find it at most pyro or magic shops.
    It has some advantages over BP. It creates much less solid particles and less heat, so it is safer to handle.
    The wool is harder to measure than BP and more expensive. But you can also get it as flakes which are much cheaper.
     
  8. Jul 19, 2015 #8

    Simon

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    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for this info, I'm definitely going to give it a try as reading up on it on wikipedia it says it produces 6 times the gas of black powder, and the gas is what we want at the end of the day. In addition there is less heat which is something we don't want.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrocellulose

    I'll order some today and let you all know how I get on with my tests.
     
  9. Jul 19, 2015 #9

    Simon

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  10. Jul 19, 2015 #10

    JohnRE

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    Nitrocellulose?
     
  11. Jul 19, 2015 #11

    ksaves2

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    Yeah,

    I think it's the same stuff Jules Verne used in the "projectile" ship in "From the Earth to the Moon".:grin: Kurt
     
  12. Jul 19, 2015 #12

    Astronot

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    Looks like some pretty cool stuff.

    David
     
  13. Jul 19, 2015 #13

    Swirly

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    Really interested in this.
     
  14. Jul 20, 2015 #14

    amell

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    Lets hope Simon does not go 'from the Earth to the Moon" :) interested to hear how the experiment goes and how quickly it produces the gas.
     
  15. Jul 20, 2015 #15

    Simon

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    If by 'magic' my rocket disappears never to be found (as so many have) you'll know why.
     
  16. Jul 20, 2015 #16

    Space Oddity

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    This seems the ideal answer. I look forward to reading more.

    Thomas, are you able to advise from your experience what quantities you use and the results you achieve for different sized rockets?

    SO.
     
  17. Jul 23, 2015 #17

    Simon

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    Here is my first test of the wool

    [video=youtube_share;zckn3z0pf7M]http://youtu.be/zckn3z0pf7M[/video]
     
  18. Jul 23, 2015 #18

    Swirly

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    Ha excellent.
     
  19. Jul 23, 2015 #19

    ksaves2

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    My goodness! Please don't test charge material like that. Looks like it stung. I've done some testing with ignition materials and occasionally appreciate the distance between me and the test material. Kurt
     
  20. Jul 23, 2015 #20

    Space Oddity

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    Great test.

    Real science in the raw.

    Guess I'll pop down the police station at the weekend and ask about an explosive licence.

    Thanks for the demonstration.

    SO.
     
  21. Jul 23, 2015 #21

    rharshberger

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    There are lots of reasons most members of TRF recommend Black Powder, one is that experience has proven it so far to be the best product for what we do, with the least amount of special effort. Nitrocellulose is the basis of modern smokeless gun powder and will not produce the pressures fast enough or "explosively" enough for an ejection charge unless extremely tightly confined. There are a number of threads here on TRF about using smokeless powders and BP substitutes, and all of them require a lot more effort to use than simple BP.
     
  22. Jul 24, 2015 #22

    tmacklin

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    A readily available source of black powder are Estes booster motors, although the grain size is a bit large and would require modification. Of course, such use would void all warranties whether written or implied.
     
  23. Aug 2, 2015 #23

    thomas

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    I agree that smokeless powder should not be used. But I am talking about nitrocellulose in form of flakes or wool. The surface area is much larger than that of smokeless powder pellets, therefore it burns much faster. You do not need any containment. One has only to pay attention that the Nitrocellulose is dry. If one uses flakes it is almost impossible to overdose them.
    The wool is exactly what is used in the indoor fireworks which throw confetti around.
     
  24. Aug 2, 2015 #24

    Shade

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    A reputable black powder source.
    https://www.powderinc.com/

    Modern Smokeless Propellant (aka gun powder) comes in a number of forms, flake commonly
    used in pistols and shotguns, ball used in smaller rifle cartridges and extruded used in larger
    rifle cartridges. Flake being the fastest burning as the surface area to mass ratio is high, then
    ball as they are tiny balls. (I like my Accurate 2230 for my 5.56 NATO loads) and extruded
    rods are the slowest as they have the lowest surface area to mass ratio. H1000 is a great
    'powder' for my belted magnums.
     
  25. Aug 2, 2015 #25

    amell

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    This is the UK forum... USA suppliers are irrelevant.
     
  26. Aug 3, 2015 #26

    ksaves2

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    I chuckled when I saw that as I realized the location from the original post.
    Good supplier in the States though. Kurt
     
  27. Aug 3, 2015 #27

    Shade

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    Sorry my mistake, I didn't think the Queen let dangerous
    things like rockets and such in her country??? :eyeroll:
     
  28. Aug 3, 2015 #28

    Space Oddity

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    Actually Ron, she is a very benign and tolerant monarch. The only things she draws a line under are her subjects experimenting with large quantities of gun powder in the vaults of Parliament (or anywhere else for that matter), guns, nuclear tipped rockets, and her other subjects trying to make a cup of tea in the sea! Doesn't taste the same with salt water. :wink:

    SO.
     
  29. Aug 3, 2015 #29

    Shade

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    Lol good show!
     

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