The Many Uses of Titanium Dihydride in Fireworks

The Many Uses of Titanium Dihydride in Fireworks

Written by Harry Gilliam

Topics: How to Make Fireworks

Why do I keep pushing Titanium Dihydride?

Simple: it’s cheap to use in making fireworks, and burns with either a bright yellowish-white flame, like ferro-titanium, or when washed, with a bright white flame. It is also versatile, and can be subsituted for all sorts of metal powders in fireworks compositions.

With demand from China and the rest of the world continuing to drive up the prices of our traditional fireworks spark-producing metals, like magnesium-aluminum, titanium, and ferro-titanium, it is getting more and more expensive to make all kinds of fireworks compositions.

When you have to pay $15-$25 a pound for various metal powders, that puts a severe crimp on how much of anything you can make.

So, when I was able to get my hands on a batch of Titanium-Dihydride (“TiDi” for short) several months ago, I immediately saw the potential for it as a cheap substitute for some of the high-dollar metal powders we all know and love, but which are getting priced out of our collective reach.

Now, after 3 months of putting it out into the hands of as many of our customers by basically giving a lot of it away, we’re now getting some good feedback. We put this page together to share some of that information with you, and to give you a place to ask questions about TiDi

Barely a day goes by now, that someone doesn’t tell us about their latest developments using Titanium Dihydride.

In the past week, we heard from Steve Williams in the UK, explaining how to granulate fine-powdered Titanium Dihydride in order to make larger sparks:

“I’ve been reading with interest the use of Titanium Dihydride in your various firework compositions. Now that is something I used many years ago but the supply was very limited, as were a number of chemicals our company could obtain from the government for military research, but very limited commercially. Our company was part firework, and part military. The drawback you mention about particle size with Titanium Dihydride can be overcome by granulating with a damp binder [try 3% Soluble Glutinous Rice Starch or Gum Arabic] then sieving the dried compound, before using in your firework compositions. The granules make great silver sparks. We might not be able to get it in the UK but there’s no reason for you guys over the pond not get it for your firework compositions!”

Like many modern titanium powders, our Titanium Dihydride burns with distinct a yellowish tint, the result of the sodium process used to manufacture the titanium. Tom Dewille called and told me that wanted a whiter color from his TiDi, one with less of the sodium-yellow in it. No problem, he says. Just rinse the TiDi in water several times, and presto-change-O, you have snow-white burning TiDi. To wash it, he dumps TiDi powder into a tub of water, stirs the TiDi around, and then carefully pours off the water. Do this three times. Then dump the TiDi sludge out to dry on kraft paper. Once dry, run it thru a 100 mesh screen, and you’ll wonder where the yellow went!

Next, he told me that he is making a 50:50 mix of TiDi and potassium perchlorate using a water soluble binder of +5% Soluble Glutionous Rice Starch (order it from us, or try Dextrin or Starpol). Tom makes bright snow-white stars and comets out of this comp.

The possibilities for using cheap Titanium Dihydride are endless:

  • Add it to rocket fuels for a “sparkly” trail.
  • Use in stars for a rich, white/silver snowball effect.
  • Use it in sparklers for an extra bright sparkler.
  • Add to fountains and wheels for a very impressive white/silver plume!
  • Toss a pinch in your next salute to brighten the flash.

Basically, try substituting it for aluminum, mag-alum, or fine titanium in existing formulas. Scroll down to see some videos showing what Titanium Dihydride can do, as well as some short projects to get you started. We would love to hear your ideas (and better yet see them in action)! Send us your TiDi videos, and post your questions and comments about this important new pyro metal down below.

Torch test of Titanium Dihydride

This is a great way to get a quick idea of how any metal powder might perform in a firework. Be sure to drop just small pinches into the blowtorch flame. Don’t pour it from a larger container, or the flame may travel back up into that container. (Voice of nearly toasted experience talking to you…)

Lance Tube test of Titanium Dihydride

This was a simple mix of TiDi and fine black powder. Even the relatively fine (120 mesh) TiDi generates a pretty spark fountain.

Titanium Dihydride Lightning Bolt

As you can see, Lightning Bolts look just terrific. And take almost no effort or skill or cost to make. Anyone can make one of these on their picnic table in 5 minutes. And the Lightning “strike” effect is excellent. Lightning Bolts are different, and you can use them in an infinite number of ways.

All it takes is some black powder and a spark metal (like our Titanium Dihydride) to make one of these. And even hand-mixed black powder will work just fine.

They literally explode in a shower of white sparks, and yet they contain no flash powder and are very safe to make and use, both for you and your audience.

Click here to learn to make a Titanium Dihydride Lightning Bolt

Titanium Dihydride Rocket – Daytime Launch

This rocket submission from Glenn S. utilizes a Skylighter 8 oz. parallel tube. The nozzle is formed on a two-inch long brass spindle, 3/16″, formed of bentonite and 3% paraffin (baked and screened), pressed in an A-frame hydraulic press at about 2 tons.

The fuel consists of 71.5% potassium nitrate, 19% Titanium Dihydride, and 9.5% sulfur; The potassium nitate and sulfur are ball-milled togehter for 30 minutes and then screen-mixed with TiDi.

Here’s another video using the same formula.

Two 7-gram increments are loaded with a brass 5/8″ hollow ram, the final 5-gram increment pressed in with a hardwood dowel. Total grain and nozzle length is 2.5″; the remainder of the tube contains a header consisting of one gram of black powder and 3 quick-matched Saturn battery missiles.

Fuse is Visco shimmed with two 1//2″ pieces of blackmatch.  Stick is round dowel, 1/4 X 30″ and attached by hot glue and electrical tape.

Aluminum tape covers the head.

This is launched from a 36″ PVC tube with a bass fitting on top and a ten-pound ring at the base. Only the stick rests inside the tube.

Have you used Titanium Dihydride yet? If so, what have you done with it so far? Please post your answer below in the Comments. Thanks.


4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Jack Hydrazine says:

    Might titanium dihydride work well in igniters?

  2. Michael Lee says:

    Great Creativity Titanium Dihydride Rocket and wedding fireworks….

  3. Chris Jensen says:

    I made a couple of fountains.

  4. Al Eisen says:

    1/4″ id sugar rocket with 10% TiDi mixed in a plastic tub. Flies small rockets like Estes used to sell. My favorite is the Exocet.

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