Your Questions About: Substitutes For Potassium Nitrate

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Steven asks…

calcium nitrate as substitute for potassium nitrate in smoke producing mix?

I would like to make a smoke producing mix. (I refrain from saying smoke bomb because in this day and age, people see the word bomb and flip out). I know that mixing potassium nitrate and sugar (3:2 mix) and heating the mix to a pasty consistency then igniting it will produce the results that I want. My problem is that potassium nitrate is also used in things that go boom, instead of just smoke, like what I want. Therefore it is very hard to get. I know that it is also used as a fertilizer but I don’t want to be going around home depot trying to find what I want.

So my question is, can calcium nitrate substitute potassium nitrate in my reaction?

If you are asking why calcium nitrate instead of potassium nitrate it is because I found a site where I can buy calcium nitrate (as well as SMALL amount of uranium-238) but it does not offer the potassium nitrate I want. (I still can’t figure out why uranium-238 but not potassium nitrate)

link: http://www.unitednuclear.com/chem.htm

Potter answers:

Your right, the word ‘bomb’ makes people go crazy these days… We need to find some other way to differentiate between smoke grenades (that go boom) from ‘bombs’ that don’t…

Anyways, your also right that the saltpeter is used as an oxidizing agent. I’m not sure if the calcium carbonate would work as an oxidizer or not, but you might try just asking one of the workers for help. Doing this demonstrates that you are either a really stupid terrorist, or that you have a legit purpose.

Also, try asking for it by its alternate name of saltpeter. Do some research so you know exactly why saltpeter is used. That way you can say “my plants are doing (something) and I need some (specific type/brand of fertilizer) for it”, demonstrating that you have a real need of the product.

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