Boric acid Edit

Description: Boric acid is a white powder which is used as an additive to compositions containing aluminium  and a nitrate. The metal powder can reduce the nitrate to an amide, which will react with the metal powder in a very exothermic reaction  that can lead to spontaneous ignition of the composition. This process is often accompanied by a smell of ammonia and is most likely to occur with wet compositions. Addition of a few percent boric acid can often prevent this reaction from taking place since it neutralizes the very basic amides forming ammonia and a borate. It is also advisable to avoid using a water-soluble binder for these compositions. Using red gum  or shellac  with alcohol or nitrocellulose lacquer  is safer. Boric acid is hygroscopic . The use of boric acid with magnesium  or magnalium  is not advised, as it actively attacks and corrodes these metals.

Hazards: Boric acid is really poisonous, and should be cleaned up very well after using.

Sources: Boric acid is cheaply and in kilogram quantities available from ceramic supply shops. It is also sold in many drug stores at a somewhat higher price, but since only small quantities are needed the price is not really important. It is also sold in Homecenters as an effective insecticide for roachs (it may list the contents as orthoboric acid). 99% pure boric acid is available as "Roach away" in walmart

Hazard Symbols: C