BP Motor Prices Outside USA--Wow!!!

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

SharkWhisperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
265
Reaction score
155
Shockie hey there. I think we're straying far from the original thread's focus on exhorbitant rocket motor costs outside the US, but will answer this question and then suggest a new or different thread be opened if this topic deserves additional discussion. Some might, inappropriately in my mind because specific formulations are not discussed except in the vaguest of terms, opine that we require HPR L2 certification and be US citizens to discuss anything remotely "experimental". Alright, not my forum, not my rules. A bit overcautious perhaps but so be it.

I'd be super surprised if whistle wasn't listed as an LEx like BP in Germany, as it is here with BAFTE. Now getting over that 20g limit might take work--doubt it'll ever happen because restrictions on the hobby tend to tighten instead of loosen, particularly in the EU. They looooove their rules. Then again, they do have quite a large fraction of their population who might be worrisome to authorities if handling energetic compounds at all. For good, previously demonstrated, reason.

Wax and mineral oil (baby oil without the stink) and sometimes vaseline are used as phlegmatizers, which means they desensitize the comp. US military whistle uses mineral oil. How much? Dunno the data specifics. Does compression desensitize it? Sure it'll slow/standardize burn rate but for magic pressures used by the pros you'll need to find that info on a different forum that you frequent, to see if it's been tested and reported. Wax/oil phlegmatizers also helps to get decent compaction into propellant grains under usual pressing forces because of the lubricant properties. Might also reduce cardboard tube compression/expansion in both longitudinal (yes, thick cardboard tubes compress along their long axes) and cross-sectional axes during pressing, and subsequent propellent grain distortion when the tube relaxes from those high loading pressures. If that tube and propellant develop a gap between them, even the slightest, you're looking at a CATO. Besides also acting as a binder of some sorts (like the dextrin that Estes puts in their BP motors, whereas no fireworker would typically use that approach because: 1) dextrin modestly slows the burn rate, and 2) motors are typically used pretty quickly so not many worry about 20-year shelf lives. Higher pressures form denser grains that burn more slowly than lower density, but there's problems like grain fracture that are more likely with low-pressure loading.

In terms of hygroscopicity (not hydroscopicity--it's not a word--sorry, but terminology is important), BP components are differently water-loving. The oxidizer in my experience only absorbs perhaps 2-3% of it's weight in water. The carbon based fuel is the issue, and can easily absorb 20% of it's weight in water (that I've seen) while others report values as high as 50% of fuel mass. Which is why I bake my carbon fuel to dryness before making BP. And store with desiccant before use--otherwise it'll grab up a bunch of water again within days/weeks. The yellow burn temp lowering agent is effectively inert to water in my mind. That said, many (including it is strongly suggested), add 2-3% water to their mill dust before loading tubes, and if you wet granulate first and then dry it out before powdering and loading, some still add that extra water. It makes dusty powder handling a less-messy process, and some swear it increases burn rate (water, not high pressure). Yes, a pressed grain will provide some measure of barrier to atmospheric water entry over time, but cardboard tubes are good, but not perfect barriers and water can eventually migrate through a tube (or be absorbed into the tube from damp BP and arrive at some type of equilibrium. Some BP motor makers swear by prewaxing the inside of their rocket tubes, which supposedly reduces CATO likelihood by, again, preventing tube expansion/recoil effects after pressing to prevent gaps forming between the tube wall and fuel grain, and also possibly by acting as a barrier to moisture exit/entry. I've never had an issue with unwaxed tubes and doubt Estes uses that step--though simple and cheap for "research" purposes, it would certainly raise already high (my opinion) BP motor costs. But all of my "experimental" (they're really not experimental, but very well characterized) BP motors are stored in bags with silica packets if they won't be fired immediately.
 
Last edited:

SaintJohn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2018
Messages
85
Reaction score
23
Location
Keansburg, NJ
I spoke with Klima a few months back:

Here's a German to English translation of a response I got from Klima Motors in Germany about their motors ever becoming available here in the USA.

Hi,

Thank you for the message.
Unfortunately, all this is not so easy.

Our motors are of course tested and approved by BAM for CE conformity.
However, these cannot simply be transferred 1:1 to American law.
Our approval is only valid within the EU.
Therefore, we would have to go through the complete approval procedure in the USA.
In addition, as a foreigner in the USA you have very high insurance costs because of product liability.

These topics have been examined for some time, since we are very comfortable with our products in the long term
also American customers want to offer.

We know that there is a lot of interest in our engines in the American scene and we don't want to ignore that either.
As soon as we have CE approval for our 29mm E and F engines (already in progress at BAM in Berlin),
we intend to apply for approval for the complete engine range in the USA.

Regarding FAI, we have been asked several times by European participants,
also for competitions to produce special engines.
In modern times, such engines must also have an approval.
At the moment it would not be economically justifiable for us to produce such engines – not with such small quantities.
However, we are also planning Mini engines to replace Jetex / Rapier engines.
Then variants for the Spacemodeling could be realized again.

I hope to provide a sufficiently satisfactory answer with these explanations.
I am happy to answer any further questions.

BAM is the German equivalent more or less of our BATFE/CPSC


In Germany Model Rocket motors are limited to 20g of propellant. Anything bigger requires a explosives license. They do export to the UK, Netherlands and various Eastern European companies at present. And you thought our laws are strict. these laws were put in place in the 70's because the Bader-Meinhof gang (Red Army Faction) was going around blowing stuff up.

attached is a MSDS for Kilma motors. In the USA this mixture is known in the pyrotechnic trade as "whistle mix" , but then since Klima is also probably the largest fireworks manufacturer in Germany, it makes sense. Klima motors are available throughout Eastern Europe in a lot of online hobby shops.

Since these are EU/BAM/CE certified I would expect that the DOT/CPSC/BATFE etc would all look upon these motors favorably. Klima due to USA regulations would have to create whats called an Agent company here in the USA for them to be sold. I assume something similar would have to happen in Canada and Australia.



It would be really cool to see Klima motors come to the US (& Canada)! It's nice to have some variety in the range box. I still have some of the old white label Quest BP motors left and enjoy the Q-Jet composites. Ultimately though, the best part would be some competition in the low and mid power motor market. Generally speaking, competition leads to innovation and better prices for consumers. It would be fun to see some new engines from Estes and even more products in the Q-Jet lineup.
 

shockie

High Plains Drifter
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
534
Reaction score
196
Location
My Old Kentucky Home
The Estes MSDS makes NO mention of Dextrin in it's composition. I have Estes MSDS that go back almost 30 years and none say they have dextrin in it. Maybe at some point they did but I think it's an old wives tail or best just something somebody made up or got wrong guessing about the composition long ago and now it's become a historical fact. I've read over the past 25 years where pyrotechnics people have used dextrin along with 20 other substances (slight exaggeration) in making BP. I talked with Ed Brown for almost 10 years and he never once made mention of Estes using dextrin. I have over a dozen BP technical reports made by people who know more about BP than I think I know about it and NOT ONE mentions using dextrin ever. When you press BP to 1.7 to 1.9 g/cm2 you don't need any binder. At those pressures everything is pretty well already binded together.

You know, sometimes I act dumb and ask questions I already know the answer to. I also can spell but I've never been able to type very well. Thank god for spell checkers.
 

SharkWhisperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
265
Reaction score
155
The Estes MSDS makes NO mention of Dextrin in it's composition. I have Estes MSDS that go back almost 30 years and none say they have dextrin in it. Maybe at some point they did but I think it's an old wives tail or best just something somebody made up or got wrong guessing about the composition long ago and now it's become a historical fact. I've read over the past 25 years where pyrotechnics people have used dextrin along with 20 other substances (slight exaggeration) in making BP. I talked with Ed Brown for almost 10 years and he never once made mention of Estes using dextrin. I have over a dozen BP technical reports made by people who know more about BP than I think I know about it and NOT ONE mentions using dextrin ever. When you press BP to 1.7 to 1.9 g/cm2 you don't need any binder. At those pressures everything is pretty well already binded together.

You know, sometimes I act dumb and ask questions I already know the answer to. I also can spell but I've never been able to type very well. Thank god for spell checkers.
Look harder. There's no reason for it to be on an MSDS because it is simply heat-hydrolyzed corn starch. Inert. Non-toxic. No need for listing on MSDS. I'll poke around later when I have time and send you a reference.

Here: Unofficial, but the legitimate backing materials are easily located: https://cannonfuse.com/estes-c-class-rocket-engine-propellant.html . Seems they add just under 1% dextrin to assist consolidation during pressing. Pull the cited 1994 MSDS and related documents and you'll find it. When you have a commercial product that you want long term storage of, it makes sense (ask the military), just as added insurance. 1% dex isn't going to slow their already slow BP down much. And they press it with moisture, too, probably after allowing a little time for dextrin activation...

Dextrin is clearly in the 1994 MSDS, but I'm not going searching right now. Prove me wrong. In the 2014 MSDS, they didn't even list charcoal(!) on their MSDS (not toxic, low reactivity, low flammability...), believe that? No? Well look for yourself, no charcoal listed in their BP MSDS, hah ha ha!: https://www.apogeerockets.com/downloads/MSDS/ESTES/MSDS-Estes_Engines.pdf . Charcoal is added back into their 2018 MSDS for the exact same item (BP motors <30g BP). Just pointing out that they don't need to disclose every single ingredient in an MSDS, made the mistake of providing specific %s instead of more usual ranges back in 1994, overcompensated for their naivity by omitting charcoal (hah ha) from their 2014 MSDS (since added back because it's obvious), but are unlikely to have changed that recipe since long ago....
 
Last edited:

shockie

High Plains Drifter
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
534
Reaction score
196
Location
My Old Kentucky Home
Look harder. There's no reason for it to be on an MSDS because it is simply heat-hydrolyzed corn starch. Inert. Non-toxic. No need for listing on MSDS. I'll poke around later when I have time and send you a reference.

Here: Unofficial, but the legitimate backing materials are easily located: https://cannonfuse.com/estes-c-class-rocket-engine-propellant.html . Seems they add just under 1% dextrin to assist consolidation during pressing. Pull the cited 1994 MSDS and related documents and you'll find it. When you have a commercial product that you want long term storage of, it makes sense (ask the military), just as added insurance. 1% dex isn't going to slow their already slow BP down much. And they press it with moisture, too, probably after allowing a little time for dextrin activation...

Dextrin is clearly in the 1994 MSDS, but I'm not going searching right now. Prove me wrong. In the 2014 MSDS, they didn't even list charcoal(!) on their MSDS (not toxic, low reactivity, low flammability...), believe that? No? Well look for yourself, no charcoal listed in their BP MSDS, hah ha ha!: https://www.apogeerockets.com/downloads/MSDS/ESTES/MSDS-Estes_Engines.pdf . Charcoal is added back into their 2018 MSDS for the exact same item (BP motors <30g BP). Just pointing out that they don't need to disclose every single ingredient in an MSDS, made the mistake of providing specific %s instead of more usual ranges back in 1994, overcompensated for their naivity by omitting charcoal (hah ha) from their 2014 MSDS (since added back because it's obvious), but are unlikely to have changed that recipe since long ago....
Estes engines are made from GOEX meal-d powder for the propellant grain, no binder is used.

The delay/smoke tracking portion of the engine is GOEX meal-d powder with a good percentage of Sulfur added to slow the burn and make more smoke.

The ejection charge is grained( 3fg) powder.

I suggest you go buy an Estes engine and carefully separate the fuel grain from the delay grain and weigh the fuel. Dissolve the nitrate out. Weigh the dry residue. Use a suitable solvent such as Carbon disulfide to dissolve out the Sulfur. Weigh the remaining charcoal. Check the first water extraction for the presence of dextrin- Report your findings.

If Estes ever did use Dextrin in their BP they would have had to mix their Meal-D Goex BP with dextrin and as far as I know, Estes has never done any pre or post mixing of their BP they purchase.

I don't believe that. Post the original 1994 MSDS. I have a 1998 MSDS that doesn't say squat about Dextrin. And NO MSDS since 1998 has shown Dextrin as an ingredient. And as I said, it's possible that somewhere in the past Estes may have used Dextrin but they've NOT used it in their BP more than they haven't used it. Estes down thru the years have used different brands of BP in their rocket motos: CIL, KIK, GOEX, Dupont....All different strengths of the same thing: BP.....but as you well know ALL BP isn't created equal, because of the charcoal used in it;s manufacture. It's highly possible and probable that for a short period of time Estes may have used dextrin as a binder 0.009 % REALLY?

just because Cannonfuse says it so, doesn't mean it's so. Wikipedia implies that Estes BP may have dextrin in it, and then when you look at the references there's no there there.

Ok bottomline:

1. Estes may have used a minuscule amount of Dextrin at one time in making their BP engines.... I' not convinced that Dextrin at a .009% level is going to do much binding. That's why they quit using it, no doubt.

2. There's NO evidence They use Dextrin now .

so are you happy and satisfied?
 
Last edited:

SharkWhisperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
265
Reaction score
155
Estes engines are made from GOEX meal-d powder for the propellant grain, no binder is used.

The delay/smoke tracking portion of the engine is GOEX meal-d powder with a good percentage of Sulfur added to slow the burn and make more smoke.

The ejection charge is grained powder.

I suggest you go buy an Estes engine and carefully separate the fuel grain from the delay grain and weigh the fuel. Dissolve the nitrate out. Weigh the dry residue. Use a suitable solvent such as Carbon disulfide to dissolve out the Sulfur. Weigh the remaining charcoal. Check the first water extraction for the presence of dextrin- Report your findings.

If Estes ever did use Dextrin in their BP they would have had to mix their Meal-D Goex BP with dextrin and as far as I know, Estes has never done any pre or post mixing of their BP they purchase.

I don't believe that. Post the original 1994 MSDS. I have a 1998 MSDS that doesn't say squat about Dextrin. And NO MSDS since 1998 has shown Dextrin as an ingredient. And as I said, it's possible that somewhere in the past Estes may have used Dextrin but they've NOT used it in their BP more than they haven't used it. Estes down thru the years have used different brands of BP in their rocket motos: CIL, KIK, GOEX, Dupont....All different strengths of the same thing: BP.....but as you well know ALL BP isn't created equal, because of the charcoal used in it;s manufacture. It's highly possible and probable that for a short period of time Estes may have used dextrin as a binder 0.009 % REALLY?

just because Cannonfuse says it so, doesn't mean it's so. Wikipedia implies that Estes BP may have dextrin in it, and then when you look at the references there's no there there.

Ok bottomline:

1. Estes may have used a minuscule amount of Dextrin at one time in making their BP engines.... I' not convinced that Dextrin at a .009% level is going to do much binding. That's why they quit using it, no doubt.

2. There's NO evidence They use Dextrin now .

so are you happy and satisfied?
My friend, this is neither an important nor emotional topic for me. I will allow you to do the additional legwork if you want to read the 1994 MSDS--you can find it as fast as me, but I have no pony in this race.

Btw it was not 0.009% in the data I linked you to--you interpreted that incorrectly. That was the fraction: 0.009, meaning 0.9% when you multiply by 100 to get a percentage, which to me is pretty much the same as 1%. Otherwise the nitrate would be only 0.7%, tsk tsk. Anyways, I think Goex makes sucky powder--great for controlled burn-rate BP firearms, decent for ejection charges, underpowered but usable for (expensive) fireworking lift/burst charges, but rather mediocre for endburner fuel. But I am endlessly amused that Estes opted to omit charcoal from their 2014 BP MSDS and then put it back again in 2018.

Here, if you want something else to ponder re binders in BP formulations for pressed rocket motors, then take a look at the 2009 Quest BP MSDS that shows their exact % of oxidizer/fuel/yellow stuff, and then adds "plus binder", hah ha. I wonder what that inexpensive binder could be??? Hmmm.... https://www.apogeerockets.com/downloads/MSDS/Quest/MSDS_Quest_Model_Rocket_Motor.pdf .

Anyways, if the motors work the way you like, then who cares what the formulation is--just use them. If they don't perform exactly or as powerfully as you'd like, well, make your own as I often do. Simples.
 
Last edited:

SharkWhisperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
265
Reaction score
155
This forum is a hoot! Now just who could that have been who just emailed Estes asking for any/all MSDSs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, bwahh, hah ha?!?!?!?!
 
Last edited:

shockie

High Plains Drifter
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
534
Reaction score
196
Location
My Old Kentucky Home
My friend, this is neither an important nor emotional topic for me. I will allow you to do the additional legwork if you want to read the 1994 MSDS--you can find it as fast as me, but I have no pony in this race.

Btw it was not 0.009% in the data I linked you to--you interpreted that incorrectly. That was the fraction: 0.009, meaning 0.9% when you multiply by 100 to get a percentage, which to me is pretty much the same as 1%. Otherwise the nitrate would be only 0.7%, tsk tsk. Anyways, I think Goex makes sucky powder--great for controlled burn-rate BP firearms, decent for ejection charges, underpowered but usable for (expensive) fireworking lift/burst charges, but rather mediocre for endburner fuel. But I am endlessly amused that Estes opted to omit charcoal from their 2014 BP MSDS and then put it back again in 2018.

Here, if you want something else to ponder re binders in BP formulations for pressed rocket motors, then take a look at the 2009 Quest BP MSDS that shows their exact % of oxidizer/fuel/yellow stuff, and then adds "plus binder", hah ha. I wonder what that inexpensive binder could be??? Hmmm.... https://www.apogeerockets.com/downloads/MSDS/Quest/MSDS_Quest_Model_Rocket_Motor.pdf .

Anyways, if the motors work the way you like, then who cares what the formulation is--just use them. If they don't perform exactly or as powerfully as you'd like, well, make your own as I often do. Simples.
as always your responses are a moving target. The fact that Apogee has a MSDS from 1994 that doesn't show Charcoal has nothing to do with the fact that Estes MSDS dating back to 1998 have no mention of Dextrin. The fact the Quest MSDS says plus binder has no meaning as we are talking about Estes and plus binder could mean anything.
The fact you think Goex BP sucks has nothing to do with whether or not Estes BP has dextrin in it .
And how the **** do you know that I emailed Estes? My emails are supposed to be private conversations. If you are somehow privy to my private communications , somebody is going to be in a lot of trouble. Do you work for Estes? Otherwise how would you know that I emailed Estes asking for past MSDS? And who are you? You have a name?
 
Last edited:

SharkWhisperer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
265
Reaction score
155
as always your responses are a moving target. The fact that Apogee has a MSDS from 1994 that doesn't show Charcoal has nothing to do with the fact that Estes MSDS dating back to 1998 have no mention of Dextrin. The fact the Quest MSDS says plus binder has no meaning as we are talking about Estes and plus binder could mean anything.
The fact you think Goex BP sucks has nothing to do with whether or not Estes BP has dextrin in it .
And how the **** do you know that I emailed Estes? My emails are supposed to be private conversations. If you are somehow privy to my private communications , somebody is going to be in a lot of trouble. Do you work for Estes? Otherwise how would you know that I emailed Estes asking for past MSDS? And who are you? You have a name?
Amigo, maybe enough already. I really don't give a rat's little pink ass if Estes motors' BP does, or ever did, contain dextrin. I care not one single iota.

But yes, Goex sucks for anything unrelated to BP firearms or ejection charges. Stuff's purposefully formulated to burn about as fast as my granny running her last marathon, for firearm safety. Since you opted to run with the dextrin story, I'll feel just fine sharing my opinion about Goex. Your dextrin obsession is really not meaningful, or useful to rocketry, and is becoming tiresome. Just like my Goex diatribe.

So now this topic has strayed waaaaaayyyyy off the initial intent--the high cost of rocket motors in other nations. So maybe let's try to get the train back on the rails.
 
Top