Aluminum Powder Fireballs Look Like Tiny Slo-Mo Supernovas

You probably think of aluminum as a solid metal, the kind of thing that could protect you from explosions. That's not always the case—as the magnificent mad scientists at Periodic Videos are here to show us with supernova-style flame balls made from powdered aluminum.

If you've got a laboratory fume hood, a gas burner, and a compressed air source, this trick is simple: load up a tube with powdered aluminum and blow it across the flame. You probably don't have that kind of kit in your garage, but we should point out that these are lab coat-wearing professionals and you should not be doing this at home. Leave the eye-popping pyrotechnics to the pros. [YouTube]

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GIF by Robert Sorokanich via YouTube

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DISCUSSION

I think it's the case that just about anything is flammable when crushed into a fine enough medium. I remember when my chem professor made a fireball when he put a candle in a paint can, then put a small cup of flour with a tube under it next to the candle. When he blew into the tube, the flour was ignited and created a rather large fireball.