Colored smoke

Here is how to make colored smoke mix. In this video I show you how to make purple ones using rhodamine B.

To produce color, the dye must be vaporized by the combustion heat and exit the reaction zone attached to the gasseous by-products where it will condense in air to re-form into solid dye particles generating the color effect. Moisture plays a big role here, a higer humidity will generate higer smoke density.

All usable dyes must meet the following criteria:

 

a) Must volatilize rapidly at temperatures well below 500°C with a minimun of decomposition. (typically/ideally less than 20%)

b) Smoke formed should condense into distinct, specific color as per the dye sample and should remain stable until dispersed by the air.

c) The dye candidate must be of a concentration to produce rich color with a minimun of 30% present in the formulation. The larger its percentage, the slower the combustion rate is.

 

Recomanded chemical dyes groups

  • Anthraquinone
  • Azo derivatives
  • Diphenylmethane (auramine 00)
  • Ketone Imine (auramine 0)
  • Perinone
  • Rosindone
  • Thiazine (methylene blue)
  • Triphenylmetane (basic green)
  • Xantene (rhodamine B)

 

All formulations provided are based in a percentage by weight ratios.

Violet / Raspberry :

Rhodamine B (Xanthene)Dye48
Potassium chlorateOxidizer26
LactoseFuel15
Cellulose (ash quality)Fuel6
Magnesium carbonateStabilizer5

Comments: very rich, bright color. Word of caution, Rhodamine B stains everything it comes in contact with and is extremely difficult to remove. Cover all surfaces and wear rubber gloves.

Green :

Blue (Anthraquinone dye)Dye12
Yellow (Diphenilmethane)Dye28
Potassium chlorateOxidizer26
SulfurFuel10
Sodium bicarbonateStabilizer/Coolant24

Comments: Rich green color, the dye ratio can be adjusted to go from lime green to forest green. This formula is not so dependant on humidity to generate the smoke cloud. Note: contains KClO3 and sulfur.

Green (Anthraquinone)Dye42
Potassium chlorateOxidizer26
SulfurFuel9
Sodium bicarbonateStabilizer/coolant23

Comments: Good, rich emerald green color. Not dependant on humidity, military style composition. Note: contains KClO3 and sulfur.

Red :

Red (Mono Azo or anthraquinone)Dye45
Potassium chlorateOxidizer25
LactoseFuel15
Cellulose (ash quality)Fuel10
Magnesium carbonateStabilizer/coolant5

Comments: Good color, easily ignited and smoth burn.

Paranitraline red (Aniline dye)Dye48
Potassium chlorateOxidizer27
LactoseFuel19
Magnesium carbonateStabilizer/coolant6

Comment: Deep, rich blood red color. Easily ignited with smooth burn.

Yellow :

Auramine 0 (Diphenilmethane)Dye40
Potassium chlorateOxidizer25
SulfurFuel10
Sodium bicarbonateStabilizer/coolant25

Comment: Good color and volume, not dependant on humidity. Military style composition. Note: contains KClO3 and sulfur.

Blue :

Indigo dyeDye40
Potassium chlorateOxidizer28
Methylene blueDye17
Wheat flourFuel15

Custom colors :

To generate custom colors, dyes should have approximatly the same melting and decoposition point of each other. Usually, if the dye works by itself, they will work in combination to produce custom colors.

Do not mix with Potassium Nitrate in attempt to dilute the color. Potassium Nitrate burns too hot and will destroy the dye before being able to generate the desired effect.

 

Warning:

Whenever chorates are used, be extremelly careful to avoid friction during the mixing process and never mix them with sulfur, sulfides, sulfates or antimonies. The resulting mix is extremely sensitive to heat, friction, impact and pressure.

As with any pyro device and/or mix, smoke generation produces heat and flame during combustion. Caution must be used to evaluate the surrounding area they will be used in to avoid spot fires.

All of the compositions here listed contain Chlorates. They will generate chlorine derivatives, do not use in confined spaces or inhale for prolonged periods.

Always read the material data sheets for all the chemicals you will use. Be aware of all ignition sources and be ready to do fire control/suppresion.

The best mixing method, and most recommended one is the diaper method.

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