Thermite: I invented it

In the advanced chem high school class, I wanted to create some rocket fuel.  I tried number of things, like a good scientist, until I came up with a combination of ingredients that did what I wanted… long hot burn.

I had to use a magnesium ribbon to light it.  It was a yellow powder.

My h.s. friend helped.  We put it in a toilet paper tube, stapled one end shut, and lighted the ribbon.  We ran away and hid behind a tree and watched the ribbon burn into the inside of the tube.

It seemed to have failed and gone out.  So he held his mother’s glass coal oil lamp under the tube, on a concrete block, while I pushed the cardboard tube over the flame with my hand.

That is when it exploded.

Molten magnesium burned dots in my eye glasses and we both had our hair singed and eyebrows.  His white shirt looked like buckshot hit it and a drop burned thru his leather shoe.  My hand was burned.  Worse, we both could only see bright orange in our eyes.  I was sure that was to be my permanent vision for my future.  Our eyes recovered.  We brushed the burned ends out of our hair.

We knew this was a great memory.  But we were too close to see the actual explosion and burning.  If only I had known then what I had invented.  Oh, well.


About Charles Henry Harpole

Retired college teacher of cinema studies and film-making. Film Dept/Program founder and administrator. Buddhist. Amateur "ham" radio operator, HS0ZCW. Prepper evaluator
This entry was posted in Education, How to do things for yourself and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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