Aluminum Indian Blackhead Dark Pyro is a very fine powder and dark grey in color. The nominal size can range from 200 mesh down to 2µ. There is a wide variety of uses for dark aluminum, for example, flash powders, star compositions, fountains, waterfalls, torches, flares, etc. For all these purposes it is generally used as a fuel.
Many powders sold as “dark” aren´t really dark aluminum but the atomized type (often 63µ) and although the color of the former may vary it has to be dark grey and not light grey or even whitish grey (some of the best dark aluminum comes from Eckart Germany and this powder is nearly black in color = German Dark Pyro Aluminum ). Under the microscope, it´s possible to identify atomized and dark powders quite well: the former are spherical in shape while the latter are irregular and angular. German Dark Pyro Aluminum Powder 5413H Super is manufactured by Eckart.
The finest powders can be ‘airfloat’ and are commonly used in flash compositions. Aluminum Indian Blackhead Dark Pyro is also used in small percentages in some hobby-rocket fuels. Courser powders are generally used for sparkling effects. With these larger particle types, many effects–such as flitter, glitter, firefly and snowball–can be achieved. 5413 is one of the finest dark flake aluminum available at 3 microns (4000 mesh).
Aluminum is a neurotoxin that alters the function of the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, small particles that are airborne act as tiny razors when they come in contact with lung or eye tissue, and a dust mask and goggles should be worn at all times when working with aluminum powder. Mixtures containing nitrates and aluminum powder are prone to heating up spontaneously and may ignite, especially when wet. This is caused by the reduction of the nitrate by aluminum, forming amides. These very basic compounds react further with aluminum powder in a very exothermic reaction that can cause spontaneous ignition. An ammonia smell is often produced in this reaction. Adding 1 to 2% Boric Acid to compositions containing nitrates and aluminum is common practice and will often prevent spontaneous ignition.
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