Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 128, Issue 1, pp 387–398 | Cite as

Thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry for investigating the stability of yellow smoke powders

  • Adam Tabacof
  • Verônica Maria de Araújo Calado


Yellow smoke powders are produced by mixing an oxidant (potassium chlorate), a fuel (lactose), and a dye (auramine). Mixtures also contain high-energy material, nitrocellulose, and occasionally include stabilizers, such as sodium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate and grease. These formulations can become unstable leading to self-ignition. In order to investigate the reason for that, thermogravimetric analysis (TG) and differential scanning calorimetry of the raw materials and mixtures, under different conditions and various mixing processes in air, were carried out. It has been found that that some conditions, such as the ambient temperature used to dry the powder, the high relative humidity and the granulation process and particle size, do not provoke the powder self-ignition. Yellow smoke powders three-phased decomposition initiates around 202 °C and leaves about 40 % of mass residue. Thermal analysis reveals that auramine reacts with potassium chloride in the mixture. Oxidation lactose and auramine occurs at 190 and 208 °C, respectively. The exposure to strong acids leads to a strong reaction that, in some cases, reaches the powder ignition.


Thermogravimetric analysis Pyrotechnics Oxidation DSC Smoke powders 



This project was initiated and financed by CONDOR Indústrias Químicas S/A.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Tabacof
    • 1
  • Verônica Maria de Araújo Calado
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ChemistryFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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