Thermite is a mixture that when ignited, can provide a temperature of up to 2500C (4500F). When thermite burns, it produces molten iron which is still glowing red hot minutes after the reaction is complete.

Warning! Thermite is extremely dangerous even after proper safety measures are taken. Never use water on thermite while its burning or on the molten iron afterwards as a steam explosion can occur.

Thermite Burning
Thermite after complete ignition
Molten iron produced after reaction


Procedure for Manufacture:


Iron (III) Oxide or Iron (II,III) Oxide

Aluminum powder; Coarse or Fine Mixing equipment and spoons

Magnesium Ribbon (To start it, if magnesium ribbon is not accessible, a first fire mix can be made. Instructions for this provided at end of tutorial)


Iron (III) Oxide (Rust, Fe2O3) or Iron(II,III) Oxide (Magnetite, Fe3O4) can be used for this. The ratios are the same for each oxide.


First obtain the required materals

From left to right, Back to front: Aluminum powder, -325mesh, spherical. Iron (II,III) Oxide. Magnesium Ribbon

The ratio is 75:25 (75 Iron oxide:25 Aluminum). I only made a 48gram batch this time. Weigh out the iron oxide first, into an appropriate mixing container. As you can see in the picture (maybe), I have 36grams of Iron (II,III) Oxide weighed out.

Now, we must add enough aluminum to the container so that it reaches the correct mass. In this case I would need to add enough aluminum to make the scale read ~48grams (exactness is not needed on something like this)

Now that all the materals are added to the mixing contianer, mix it. There will probably be lumps of the iron oxide so just use your spoon to crush them. Mix until a homogenous mixture forms

If you use magnesium ribbon, bend a portion of it into a triangle so that it forms a stable(ish) base(Pic 1). Place this on the surface you are going to burn and then pour the thermite on top of it (Pic 2)

Pic 1
Pic 2


First Fire Mix:

A first fire mix is one that can be lit with a fuse (or lighter if you have the patience) and will burn hot enough to ignite the thermite. The one I have tested and use when I don't have my Mg ribbon is this:

Potassium nitrate: 50grams

Fine aluminum powder: 30grams

Sulfur: 20grams

The aluminum powder should be at least -325mesh and all ingredients (except the aluminum) should be groun in a mortar and pestle or ball mill before mixing. All you have to do is pour the pre-ground materials into a ziplock bag and shake it to mix it. You can even store it in this bag.

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