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Thermite!

And by “fix” we mean “reduce to a smoking hole and a puddle of molten metal.” Thermite is a mixture of powdered aluminum and a metallic oxide like iron oxide (rust) or copper oxide. Igniting the powder at about 1,400 degrees F triggers an aluminothermic reaction in which the oxygen that’s bound to the iron oxidizes the aluminum dust. The result: pure iron, aluminum oxide, and a ridiculous amount of heat, topping out around 4,500 degrees F.

There’s very little thermite won’t melt or burn through. And while there are productive industrial uses of the reaction like welding train rails, let’s face it: this is Break S#!$ Week! We’re more interested in applications like melting through an engine block or burning under water. It’s a pyromaniac’s dream substance.

Not that we recommend you doing so — we don’t — but you can buy Thermate from places like Amazingrust.com or UnitedNuclear.com for about $40/kilo. Why not buy it? Besides the fact you’ll probably burn your house down or accidentally kill yourself, you’ll likely end up on every government watch list there is.

Amazing Rust [Corporate Site]
United Nuclear [Corporate Site]

 

6 Responses to Thermite Fixes Everything

  1. Evan N. says:

    Note how much energy is released from this chemical reaction in the form of heat. The reaction is

    2Al + Fe2O3 –> Al2O3 + 2Fe

    To do the opposite, i.e. convert bauxite to aluminum, you have to put that much energy in. Which is why recycling aluminum is actually important–it takes SO much energy to make pure aluminum. Anybody know if it takes this much energy to make glass? If it doesn’t I think we should go back to using glass soda bottles, seeing as we have plenty of the raw materials for glass on earth, and they’re cheap.

  2. Waylan says:

    “It’s a pyromaniac’s dream substance.”

    Yeah, my father (who does this for the railroad) says the excess slag makes for quite a show when thrown in water. As the rails were often built through swamps he’s had many opportunities to experiment. That is, until he was working with a vet who went nuts when the slag hit the water. He’s since decided that triggering Nam flashbacks is not cool and follows the rules.

  3. TL says:

    Much cheaper to just buy the powdered aluminum. Mix that with grinder dust from your last welding project and then set it off by lighting some magnesium ribbons on top of the pile.

    Probably against your homeowner’s association rules, but occasionally convenient for welding without a welder.

  4. Young Jeezy says:

    thermite is awesome…Jeezy for life.

  5. Tupac Lives, west coast for life says:

    dude i know, i killed my dog, and the neighbors cat, it burns through anything

  6. The "Rear" Admiral :) says:

    I once burnt through my boyfriends car with that stuff

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