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tmazanec1

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I read that it is a good idea to talcum powder a parachute to help it exit the body tube.
I tried getting talcum powder, but the store employee said they discontinued it because of cancer concerns and the new baby powder has something else.
Would baby powder as it now is be good for parachutes?
 

shonc182

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I couldn't believe this is true, but a quick web search of my local stores would seem to confirm. It was fairly available online, though.
 

Zeus-cat

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SOME talcum powder has been found to have very small quantities of asbestos in it. I have used baby powder and it works fine. Actually, I have heard that the baby powder keeps the plastic parachutes from sticking together AFTER they exit the rocket.
 

rharshberger

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Unless they have changed the formula in the last 6 months, WalMarts Equate brand is talc, iirc the ingredient list was talc and fragrance. Look at the ingredient list many are corn starch which gets sticky when damp.
 

KBlack

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I use Silver Cup Talc, used for billiard hand powder. 100% talc. Found on Amazon. Currently 16.97 for a 13 oz bottle. I've bought it before as low as $9.89.

Some Talc and baby powders contain other fillers, such as corn starch. Starch, when heated (such as with an ejection charge) pyrolyzes into dextrin. Dextrin is used as a binder (glue.) Not something that you want present where free motion is desired.
 
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manixFan

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I use billiard chalk I got from Amazon. It is pure chalk and does not have any fragrance:

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Cup-Premium-Bottle-Powder/dp/B074MKV4SN/ref=sr_1_5?crid=JAB5YJTI8CCH&dchild=1&keywords=silver+cup+talc+powder&psc=1&qid=1572879188&sprefix=silver+cup+tan,aps,154&sr=8-5

But when I bought it back in 2016 it was less than $6 for 13oz. It looks like the price has gone way up. Walmart also has what I bought:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Silver-C...lc-Powder-13-Ounce-Shaker-Bottle-NEW/19396508

at a much better price but is shows out of stock. I did find it on other sites for way less than Amazon so a little sleuthing may save you some money if you decide to try it out.

I have found that if you do have a tight fit using talc powder on the inside of the tube definitely allows the chute protector bundle to slide out more easily. I learned about it back when I built a few rockets from PML using Quantum tubing. With talc the bundle would slide right when before it would not. I don't use it if there is a loose fit in the tube but do in a lot of my MD rockets where things are nice and snug.

As I like to say, what are the chances I'll regret using vs. not.


Tony
 
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neil_w

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I thought main reason *not* to use corn starch (most common replacement for talc-based baby powder nowadays) is that it burns.

I also thought the main reason to use the powder at all was to lubricate plastic parachutes so they'll open more easily, nothing to do with sliding out of the tube (oops, just now see that Zeus-cat already mentioned that).
 

kuririn

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I also think that the main purpose of rubbing talc onto your plastic parachute is to prevent the plastic from sticking to itself and preventing the chute from unfurling completely. Ever notice what happens when you pack a parachute and leave it in for a few days? You have to pull the plastic apart. That's why I always fully unfurl the chute and repack it just before launch, with talcum powder rubbed on as an option.
 

Tom

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At times the plastic can 'bond' to itself due to static electricity.

I bought a bottle of baby powder years ago so thankfully I should have a lifetime supply :D
 

SammyD

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When I was flying with plastic parachutes going all the way back to the 70s, a little container of Baby Powder was always in my field box. Rub a little onto both sides of a plastic parachute and it would NOT stick together. I keep in the box these days to make body tubes and couplers slide a little more easily...
 

caveduck

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Another benefit of using almost any fine powder on an LPR chute is that the powder instantly kills the stickiness of anything sticky, like slightly overhanging or peeled-up shroud attachment tape and the like.
 

Rex R

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some pharmacies either have or can get unscented talc.
Rex
 

heada

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You can also use graphite powder but its MESSY. A very small amount is all that is needed. Lay your parachute out and with a gloved hand, rub the surface of the parachute and pack like normal. Since the graphite sticks to the plastic parachute very well, you need much less than talc and it seems to last longer but...and I can't stress this enough...its MESSY and doesn't clean up nearly as well.

When I was launching smaller rockets (near MD 18mm), I'd add a bit of colored chalk to the inside of the parachute. I'd use the stuff from Lowes/Home Depot/etc that is used for a snap line. It'd work like the talc and also give a cloud of red/blue at apogee.
 

BABAR

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I also think that the main purpose of rubbing talc onto your plastic parachute is to prevent the plastic from sticking to itself and preventing the chute from unfurling completely. Ever notice what happens when you pack a parachute and leave it in for a few days? You have to pull the plastic apart. That's why I always fully unfurl the chute and repack it just before launch, with talcum powder rubbed on as an option.
+1. Can't speak for nylon chutes, but for typical kit supplied or how made plastic sheet chutes, the longer they are left in the tube the more they "unfurl" and therefore grab the sides of the tube, and the more they "memorize" their shape and are less likely to unfurl.
 

astronwolf

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The talc is disappearing. It looks like the easy-to-find baby powder that has been used by rocketeers for sixty years is going away. I think this situation is not very favorable for our hobby - much worse than when "good Krylon" went away. Savvy adult rocketeers can find alternative sources out there, and can comfort themselves that all is well. But what about that kid out there who reads what is written in the Handbook and all they got is a box of stupid cornstarch? It's a real pity. It's already gone from my local Walmart, CVS, and Rite Aid stores. I saw this coming and stocked up earlier this year.
 

John Taylor

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No its not, just a little bit harder to find. I got some at Walmart today. Original Johnson's baby powder is talc. Just read the ingredients. Several other body powder also were talc. You can also order on line. I bought this because it was only about two bucks.
 

dpower

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Reviving this thread - Johnson's Talc-based Baby Powder is no longer sold in the US as of earlier this year, and Silver Cup Billiard Powder is no longer made from Talc.


 

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thequick

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Odd. I bought J&J talcum powder at Target last week. Used it to treat the seam sealer I used to water proof my backpacking tent.

And in California even...
 

dpower

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There may be quite a bit still in the pipeline, time to stock up!
 

rklapp

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I assume that cornstarch is bad because it’s combustible or is that not an issue in rockets?
 

dpower

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I was able to find some travel sized bottles of J&J baby powder at Target, and large bottles at one Walgreens. Many of the Walgreens had only cornstartch stuff.
 

Scott_650

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Looking at the MSDS sheets for marking chalk it looks like it’s made from...chalk (calcium carbonate), some kind of coloring agent and small amounts of silica. Not quite as cheap as talc based powders but not overly expensive - a 5 lb jug costs $5-9 - but lots of nifty colors, nothing in it that should react much with heat, and it’s readily available. Guess I’ll buy a small container at Home Depot and try it out...
 

rharshberger

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Looking at the MSDS sheets for marking chalk it looks like it’s made from...chalk (calcium carbonate), some kind of coloring agent and small amounts of silica. Not quite as cheap as talc based powders but not overly expensive - a 5 lb jug costs $5-9 - but lots of nifty colors, nothing in it that should react much with heat, and it’s readily available. Guess I’ll buy a small container at Home Depot and try it out...
And it makes one heckuva mess in and on your rockets and you too, but it does work.
 
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