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This puts glowsticks to shame

Post about things you have launched or thought about launching. Also post about various materials used for building cannons. No posts about explosive projectiles!
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:39 am

Goose_man is right, be careful.

3% hydrogen peroxide (what you can get at a grocery or pharmacy in the US) isn't too bad. Heck, people gargle with it. But it will bleach hair and clothing.

Concentrated hydrogen peroxide (something like 30 or 40%) is available on the web for pretty cheap. It is much more hazardous then the 3% drug store variety.

Distilling (to remove most of the water) is not something you should be doing in the garage. At low water concentrations the peroxide becomes unstable. Every day things (like many metals) will catalyze the peroxide's decomposition. In some cases, for example when mixed with acetone (IIRC), you can form contact explosives. This would be illegal in the US.

Non-safety matches are pretty uncommon in the US, heck they might even be illegal. The phosphorous on the tip is basically an explosive. Not a big deal when you are talking about a single match. But take 50 of them and remove the phosphorous from the tip and you are talking about an explosive. This would be illegal in the US.

Overall, I would say that a "glowing tomato" is reasonably safe as long as you are careful and take the time to learn about what you are doing, how and why it works, and what the possible hazards are. The hardest part, in a practical sense, is finding a place that sells "strike anywhere" matches.

Scaling it up to make a glowing pumpkin might not be a good idea.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:41 am

Fair point about the unavailability of matches but I think you'd find them in adventure and camping stores.
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Unread postAuthor: Dornep » Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:45 am

goose_man wrote:As a chemistry student I can say that this is dangerous and could go very wrong...


Then again so is just about every other enjoyable thing humans do...

Does the solution have to be injected into a tomato? Will any citrus work? Lemons, limes, oranges, or grape fruits?

And Jimmy the strike any where matches are available in the US as I used to have some.. I'm sure you could find them.
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Unread postAuthor: williamfeldmann » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:02 pm

Strike anywhere matches can be had in any well stocked camping/outdoor store.

Most fruits that would require peeling like oranges would be too thick-skinned to really see what is going on, a tomato is relatively thin-skinned. I would assume that this doesn't need to be done in a fuit or life form (correct me if I am wrong, oh chemistry gurus). Couldn't this be done in a ping pong ball or other semi-transparent hollow object. Paintballs, water ballons, etc.

With an airsoft using 6mm paintballs, you could have tracer rounds :shock:

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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:31 pm

williamfeldmann wrote:With an airsoft using 6mm paintballs, you could have tracer rounds


Why bother with peroxide? ;)
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:21 pm

I suspect william is right, you need a thin skinned, mostly transparent "fruit" that light can pass through.

Wild ass guess says the reaction is using catalases, peroxidases or ferredoxins. The first two are enzymes present in most fruits, veggies, people, small dogs etc. A spud should work, but since it is opaque you won't see much light. Same problem with small dogs.

Ferredoxins are involved in photosynthesis so a spud or a dog won't work. You need a plant part involved in photosynthesis.

You could probably take a 'mato, mash it up very well then filter off the solids. The liquid will probably contain whatever factor is needed for the chemiluminescent reaction. This would be an interesting science fair experiment, "Which mashed fruits give an extract that give the most light?".

I'll have to check the local camping supply stores to see if they have strike anywhere matches.
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Unread postAuthor: williamfeldmann » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:45 pm

So my boxes of paintballs and my Rat Terrorist won't work.... hmmm... dang, that dog was gonna fly :shock: (kidding people, my dog loves my tennis ball cannons more than I do I think)

I know you can get clear liquids from filtering juiced anything. If it works you could mix it up and inject the whole mixture into non-foods like pingpong balls or paintballs. I was hoping to get around the juicing process, not as much fun as the shooting people with tracer paintballs in the dark process :D

Could this work with, say apple juice (or any juice) from the market?

@Jack
Aren't those BBs? They would be solid then. Granted they glow good, but I was looking for paintball so they splatter while glowing.
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Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:46 pm

jimmy101 wrote:I suspect william is right, you need a thin skinned, mostly transparent "fruit" that light can pass through.

Wild ass guess says the reaction is using catalases, peroxidases or ferredoxins. The first two are enzymes present in most fruits, veggies, people, small dogs etc. A spud should work, but since it is opaque you won't see much light. Same problem with small dogs.

Ferredoxins are involved in photosynthesis so a spud or a dog won't work. You need a plant part involved in photosynthesis.

You could probably take a 'mato, mash it up very well then filter off the solids. The liquid will probably contain whatever factor is needed for the chemiluminescent reaction. This would be an interesting science fair experiment, "Which mashed fruits give an extract that give the most light?".

I'll have to check the local camping supply stores to see if they have strike anywhere matches.


Instead of milking a 'mato, couldn't you just use V8 or tomato soup? :D
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Unread postAuthor: thespeedycicada » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:43 pm

im gonna do this with luminol! which is even brighter and not very dangerous.
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Unread postAuthor: Redcoat » Thu Sep 27, 2007 3:53 pm

Could you use safety matches for this?
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:23 pm

I doubt it, as safety matches lack white phosphorus.
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Unread postAuthor: Redcoat » Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:50 pm

well, too Aussie spudders, do you know where i can get non-safety matches?
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Unread postAuthor: Blackett » Thu Sep 27, 2007 6:11 pm

for those of you who can't seem to find your safety matches storm matches are a reasonable substitute.

and yes, this could be hazardous, just dont inhale it or bathe in it.

and yes you can make touch explosive form this and *** but this is for elsewhere.

and as for luminol, I i think that would be cool, but dont you need a uv light?

besides I am anxious to make this stuff in bulk.

I think that tomatoes are perhaps the best host for this reaction if your going for visibility and splat, and other than that the only real limitations would most likely be clarity and size of your container.

I'm waiting for someone to get real creative and add a burst disk into this equation.

and as for increasing the molar concentration of the peroxide i wouldn't bother with it considering that if your just gonna make it splatter the endeavor would be fairly pointless unless you make it in bulk.


the basic glowstick principle of glowsticks is at play here, being hot=bright and short and cold=dim and long.
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Unread postAuthor: thespeedycicada » Thu Sep 27, 2007 6:33 pm

luminol does not need uv light and you can get it by the gallon for like 30 bucks you also need hydrogen peroxide.
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Unread postAuthor: rna_duelers » Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:32 pm

Good luck finding non safety matches in Australia..They are Illegal to sell or produce.I don't think safety matches contain much phosphorus,although there is red phosphorus in the strike pads...Not sure if that is useful for this or not.
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