Another step closer?

One of my fantasies is to be able to make Boomershoot targets completely out of very simple and easy to obtain materials. For a while I was essentially there. I could get ammonium nitrate by going over to the local fertilizer plant with the truck and telling them to “fill ‘er up” and they would dump in as many tons as the truck would hold and I could pay for. The potassium chlorate was a little harder but with just my drivers license I could get that mail order without hassles. The rest could be obtained at the grocery store or Wal-Mart. Then ammonium nitrate started getting difficult to get. I had to use the leverage of my ATF type 20 license to manufacture high explosives to get my last batch of AN. And in the quantities of potassium chlorate we consume the suppliers require the ATF license as well.

But there might be something else as possible replacements.

They are making rocket fuel out of aluminum and ice:

Researchers are using aluminum and frozen water to make a propellant that could allow rockets to refuel on the moon or even Mars.

Last week researchers from Purdue and Penn State University launched a rocket that uses an unconventional propellant: aluminum-ice. The fuel mix, dubbed ALICE, is made of nano-aluminum powder and frozen water, and gets its thrust from the chemical reaction between the ingredients. The propellant is environmentally friendly, and it could perhaps allow spacecraft to refuel at locations like the moon, where water has been discovered.

That is majorerly cool from the standpoint of rocketry and space travel. But it also has implications for Boomershoot. Any high energy compound or mixture has the potential to be an explosive. Rocket fuel in particular is interesting because, like explosives, it contains both a fuel and an oxidizer.

Nano-aluminum powder might be tough to make but the precursor components of that particular mixture sure are going to be easy.


3 thoughts on “Another step closer?

  1. How nano does it have to be? I’d swear I read about some state of aluminum used in this way before. Machine shops sometimes have troubles with metal fires, maybe tuned lathe or milling work would produce “chips” that would work? (In other words, it might be quite easy to make…)

  2. Aluminum is used in some explosives and rocket fuels now. And it has been for decades. The size of the almunium for explosives is in the 3 to 8 micron size. That is very small and somewhat tough to make. Apparently the nano alumimum is much smaller.

  3. As a kid I was growing up near soviet AFB. Magnesium aluminum alloy filed into dust + permanganic acid = boom.

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