The Ultimate Firework According to Messibeast.rec.misc
Sarah Hotdesking asked the rest of the group for suggestions for something to give her the big bang that she didn't get in her marriage:
I'm looking for suitably impressive fireworks for my "Divorce Party". My ex promised me that lights would flash and the earth would move. They didn't and it didn't so on the occasion of my divorce I am looking for something that does. Any suggestions?
Alan Baxter's solution was non-incendiary:
How about a JCB...They have flashing lights and they CAN move the Earth for you..
A N Other took up the thrown gauntlet:
And with a JCB you can dig a big hole and plant him! You should have done "it" on a pinball table - lights flash and bells rignt and when the earth moves you get a big flashing "TILT" sign!
James responded to this potentially dangerous line of enquiry with:
My two young teenage sons are pestering me to make fireworks that do more than just explode. Big bro' has given me a recipe for gunpowder and Napalm, however I seem to remember someone posting something about letting off a rocket at school that luckily didn't injure anyone, I think this contained Potassium permanganate. A local mate of mine is the pharmacist, so raw materials are not a problem. I would be grateful for any concoctions and how to assemble the devices.
Peter Rieden proposed the following solution which will certainly cause flashing lights and seismic activity, having a terminal effect on the ex-husband - and on most of the rest of humanity for that matter:
Well, the ultimate is a device which has a bright flash, a very loud bang and some interesting dynamic cloud formations. After a delay of approximately six minutes there are then repeat performances. They are relatively easy to make.
You will need about 4kg of weapons-grade plutonium (the pukka stuff, not the cheap "own brand" version from Lidl or Morrisons). You will also need about 500kg of rigid explosive (either machinable or castable), 30g of tritium in a spring-loaded
syringe (capped with a wax plug), some thick custard, about 50 kryton switches (Maplin offer them at a resonable price) and a detonator for each, three 10mm PTFE spacers and some lead-acid batteries. Ideally you would already have a suitable long-range ballistic delivery vehicle, but if not an alternative can be fashioned from a "Deluxe Sooper-Soaker" and a couple of condoms. Finally you will need some PTFE insulated 19/.2 cable, a soldering iron, some solder, a home gold plating kit, an old alarm clock, a Pritt glue stick and some Scotch Tape.
1. Cast the plutonium into a spherical shape (this is most easily done in a zero-G environment, but failing that use a mold) and then machine it in an inert atmosphere to a true spherical shape (within two or three microns). Remove the sphere and IMMEDIATELY gold plate it to prevent oxidation. Set it aside on a wooden shelf.
2. Cast or machine your chosen rigid explosive into close-fitting segments of a hollow sphere with an internal diameter approximately 10mm larger than your plutonium sphere. The segments should be geodesically allocated hexagon and pentagon shapes of roughly equal size. Assemble these with the Pritt glue stick until the remaining hole is just large enough to allow the insertion of the plutonium sphere. Place the PTFE spacers equidistantly to support the plutonium sphere, and then pour custard into the gap. Assemble the remaining explosive pieces, trapping the Tritium syringe between the last two pieces. Drill a small hole in the top and top-off the custard filling and wait for a skin to form, sealing the hole. Attach a detonator and kryton switch to each segment with Scotch tape.
3. Use some wire to convert the alarm clock into an electrical trigger. Make 50 wires of equal length to connect this trigger to each of the kryton switches and install. Place the nearly complete device in your chosen delivery vehicle and strap down with more Scotch Tape, using Pritt if required in high-stress areas. Install the lead acid battery and charge.
4. IT WOULD BE ADVISABLE TO HAVE A GROWN UP SUPERVISE THE NEXT STAGE. Ensure the trigger is in the "OFF" position and connect the wires from the trigger to the battery. Set the required delay time (times vary - consult your delivery
vehicle documentation. Typically a fan-assisted vehicle will require 10% less time) and initiate vehicle launch.
5. Find a suitable vantage point (e.g. an orbiting space station) and watch the display. On detonation the rigid explosives will produce a spherical implosion pulse which, via the custard transmission medium, will cause the plutonium mass to criticalise and start a fission reaction. The initial shockwave will also displace the wax bung, releasing the tritium syringe and inject tritium into the custard matrix ready for the next phase. Finally the fusion reaction will become sufficiently energetic to initiate fusion in the tritium/custard mixture. The estimated energy budget would be around 60 kilotonnes for the fission reaction and
500 kilotonnes for the fusion. There will then be a pause of several minutes after which several hundred delivery vehicles will spontaneously appear, each releasing up to 12 similar fireworks over the entire visible hemisphere. It's quite pretty.
Mark Butterfield suggested some alternative materials:
While Peter's instructions are in their own right sound, you might have one or two problems getting hold of some of the materials. If you find this is the case remember, you can always substitute double cream for the custard...or, at a pinch, cottage cheese. While the resulting demonstration may be slightly downgraded in visuals, the overall effect will be exactly the same...
However, Peter Rieden pointed a few problems with substitution of ingredients:
It depends what you're after. Fromage Frais can be used but it's a poor neutron source, whereas enriched Ambrosia Creamed Rice is OK for neutrons but tends to attack the wax bung causing to premature tritium injection leading to what is technically known as a "fizzle". Similarly if you can't get (or can't afford) tritium you can always use either tabasco or freshly ground hen's teeth with only minor affects on the result.
Mike Paterson, ignoring the explosive results, defended his local supermarket:
Wot's wrong with Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC own brand of weapon grade Plutonium? You can bet it will come in a more environmentally friendlier wrapper i.e. thinner and with less ink on it.
Peter Rieden was not impressed though:
The way they carelessly stack it on shelves leads to excess neutron flux in storage so the stuff has much less goodness left in it. It's also stored in the North of the country and is therefore contaminated with black pudding residue and whippet-excrement...
Robin Hill suggested a hydrogen bomb as a suitable alternative to Peter's nuke:
Peter Rieden described the construction of a nuclear weapon similar to the "Fat Man" device which was dropped on Nagasaki. If your workshop hasn't got the 3D milling capability to precisely fabricate the geodetic explosive lenses, a gun-type thermonuclear weapon like the "Little Boy" device is much easier to fabricate:
Theoretically, a fission weapon is relatively easy to construct, requiring a fissionable mass of uranium or plutonium and a source of neutrons to trigger it. A near-critical mass of U235 would form a sphere about five inches (just under 130mm) in diameter and weigh about 44 pounds (20 kilogrammes). A thin sheet of polonium brought rapidly into contact with a piece of lithium generates a burst of fast neutrons, which would trigger the critical mass of uranium into a chain reaction. If the weapon is surrounded by a fusion source, such as Lithium Deuterium (LiD) and then an outer shell of U238, the fission weapon is converted into a thermonuclear fission-fusion weapon (that is, a hydrogen bomb), capable of generating much greater power.
Sophisticated modern designs now permit devices containing less than a critical mass of fissionable material. Current technology has progressively reduced the size of a nuclear weapon such that a device with an effective blast radius of over one
thousand metres can fit into a small suitcase and can function as the warhead for a stand-off missile or retard bomb. All of the components of simple gun-type nuclear weapon may be constructed with modest workshop tools, including a lathe, welding equipment and a pillar drill.
The gun-type nuclear weapon consists of a 5-inch diameter sphere of plutonium with a 1.5-inch diameter hole drilled half way through it. A 1.5 inch diameter, 2.5 inch long plug of plutonium is machined to exactly fit the hole in the sphere. Wear a
mask and gloves when handling the plutonium, and make sure you sweep down the workbench and floor, as plutonium is very toxic if inhaled or ingested. Save the plutonium tailings so they can be recycled.
Mount the sphere in a 3/4-inch thick flanged steel hemispherical shell. Another hemispherical shell onto which an 18-inch length of steel tubing has been welded is bolted to the first shell. A hole in the shell aligned with the pipe is also carefully aligned with the hole in the plutonium sphere. At the base of the hole in the sphere is a thin sheet of lithium. A sheet of polonium is placed on the end of the plutonium plug. The plug is then placed into the tube, ensuring that it is at least a foot away from the sphere. A protective steel piston, one inch thick, is placed in the tube behind the plutonium plug, and a driving charge of around a half a pound of C5, fitted with a suitable detonator, is placed into the end of the tube. The tube is closed with a 3/4-inch steel plate. Connect to a suitable timing circuit and power supply.
Retire to a safe distance. Plug ears with cotton wool. Put on a good thick pair of sunglasses.
When the device is triggered, the explosive charge detonates, driving the plutonium plug into the sphere at about mach 2. The lithium and polonium wafers generate a burst of fast neutrons which suffuse the critical mass of plutonium. A cascade chain reaction liberates more neutrons, lots of radiation and an uncomfortably large quantity of energy.
Go "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Ooooooooooooohhhhhh!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"
Does it not bother you that at least two people that contribute to this newsgroup know how to construct a small nuclear weapon??
Tell 'em about the washing-powder napalm, Peter!
By now veering well off-topic and away from fireworks (but possibly fuelled by his own tales of divorce), Paul D Holt beat Peter to this:
The washing powder Napalm is the simplest of all to construct. A ratio of 1:1 of 4 star petrol and simple washing powder (Like Lux, or something with none of the additives). Stir, ensuring that cigarette ash doesn't drop in the mix. After several minutes it should resemble a light gel consistency. Pour into a milk bottle and fashion a wick out of old underpants. Cram the wick in tight so there is no leakage. At an appropriate time, light the wick and project the cocktail. Upon impact the bottle breaks, releasing the volatile agent - which is ignited by the burning wick. Then run away. The gel consistency helps the substance stick on the subject and prevents quick extinguishing. An-D also reckoned it could be made by warming the petrol on a stove and allowing polystyrene to melt into it.
Paul Adam unlurked long enough to add a footnote to the whole discussion.
I have it from an allegedly experienced source that a 1:1 mix of petroleum jelly and petrol works very well, too.
Having had enough "Mutually Assured Destruction" in her divorce proceedings, Sarah Hotdesking opted to buy some simple, safe sparklers instead.