How to Build an Incendiary Bomb More Powerful Than Napalm

It's not illegal to own or use!

By on June 4th, 2007 15:17 GMT
An incendiary bomb is used to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus. Napalm is the most known incendiary material, although the name is improperly used to describe the incendiary substance itself, when in fact it's only the thickener in jellied gasoline.

Napalm has a devastating effect on buildings and living creatures. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius, while napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius. But there's something more powerful than napalm, and today we'll learn how to build an incendiary device using this chemical.

It's called thermite and it's used in modern incendiary bombs. Obtaining this chemical is not only simple, but it's also legal. Yes, it's not illegal to own or use thermite, unless you use it in intentional attacks against property and people. A thermite reaction is a type of aluminothermic reaction in which aluminium metal is oxidized by the oxide of another metal, most commonly iron oxide. The name thermite is also used to refer to a mixture of two such chemicals.

Let's see how we can actually build such a device. For this experiment you need fine powdered iron oxide, fine powder aluminium, a magnesium strip and kitchen scales. The most effective formula is 25% aluminium and 75% iron oxide. For every gram of aluminium (400 mesh) you need 3 grams of iron oxide (rust), and the final quantity of the mix is entirely at your discretion.

Measure out the right amounts and mix well, until it becomes an almost homogeneous mixture. Then fill a metal container with the mix. The container can be made out of a reasonably thin metal. A can of beer or soda will do just fine. Next, you must put a strip of magnesium in the top of your mix, to ignite it. It takes very high temperatures to ignite thermite, but when alight, it can burn through solid steel. Well, this is about it. You can set alight the magnesium strip, but make sure it's long enough to allow you to reach to safety before it explodes.

The explosion itself is not as spectacular as those of cars in the movies, but the effects are devastating. The explosion of a container filled with thermite and placed on a ½ inch thick steel plate will burn its way to the ground, and in the right amounts, it can even melt a safe deposit box.

Contrary to popular belief, thermite is not illegal to own or use. Many construction companies throughout the world still use it to weld iron. But it is very hot (4000 F or 2204 C) so be extremely careful, and most of all, don't use it in any aggressive actions, just use it for the fun, or when you really need a fast way to drill a hole in a solid piece of metal.

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