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Q:

Will silicon dioxide work as the oxidizer in thermite?

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The answer to your original question is actually "yes"; silicon dioxide, finely divided, *will* work as the oxidizer...IF one uses a metal that is more active (i.e., magnesium). I was informed of an incident some years ago, in which magnesium and silica in a ball mill caught fire. But aluminum and silicon dioxide are unlikely to work unless the two are extremely finely powdered. As V-Man737 says, be careful. Some "thermite" (Goldschmidt) combinations do little more than ignite and burn with a glow; others react explosively. I have a good friend who lost a fair bit of flesh to a reaction that was significantly more violent than was expected... more
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