I wanted to burn a stump with some thermite – so I had to make some.
What is Thermite?
Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition consisting of metal powder and a metal oxide Normally this is aluminum and iron oxide. Correctly used, it is not explosive, but the extremely high temperatures is dangerous.
Thermite is used for most often used for welding, metal cutting, science demonstrations, and disabling military equipment,
How to Make Thermite Using Red Iron Oxide
The thermite recipe is use is 3 parts iron oxide red to 1 part aluminum fuel. In my video I think I said 8 to 3, but that is because I got excited….
The finer the ingredient grind and the more well mixed it is will make a faster reaction that is easier to light.
Dump three ouces of the iron oxide (fine rust powder) and 1 ounce of powdered aluminum into a plastic tub, and put the top on. (I used a ziplock bag in the field.)
Shake them until the color is consistent throughout.
Lighting the mix:
Most people use sparklers or magnesium ribbon, I have seen blow torches used. I don’t like these as when you hold a sparkler or torch to the mix, it can splatter as it ignites – which can cause serious injury.
I prefer using potassium permanginate and glycerin. It reliably ignites the mix, and gives time to get a safe distance.
WARNING: You cannot extinguish a thermite fire with water. Do not attempt to put the fire out with water, or you may have a violent, steam explosion, which can throw molten slag as well. Likewise, do not use any wet materials to attempt to extinguish the fire.