Making Rocket Fuel With Kitchen Chemistry!




About: Random Weekend Projects

Today we're doing some kitchen chemistry using common household items.  This is the type of cooking that gets me excited, because I'm experimenting with recipes for solid-state rocket fuel.

Step 1: Watch the Video!

WARNING: This project should not be attempted without adult supervision and adequate training. Misuse, or careless use, of tools or projects may result in serious injury, death, and/or permanent damage to equipment and property.  Ignition of an incendiary or explosive material may not be legal in your area.  Use of this content is at your own risk.

Step 2: KNO3 and Sugar

For this project, I wanted to use some kitchen chemistry and a few common household items to test out a few different methods for making rocket fuel.  This type of rocket fuel is commonly referred to as "R-Candy"

The main components of this composition are a brand of stump remover, which is 100% potassium nitrate (KNO3), and plain white table sugar.

In addition, I tried using different amounts of corn syrup and homemade rust powder.  The rust was made by mixing steel wool (like these scrubbing pads) and vinegar, then letting it rust out over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Step 3: Mix Intimately and Caramelize

When mixed together in ratios of 60% KNO3/40% Sugar by weight, and placed on medium heat, they melt into a creamy brown liquid. This is because the sugar caramelizes and absorbs the KNO3. The smell is similar to that of making candy, and that's why this is sometimes referred to as "Rocket Candy" or "R-Candy".

The mixture is volatile, and will violently ignite if brought in contact with a flame, so extreme caution needs to be used at this point.

When it's runny enough, it can be poured into a casing to cool down and solidify. I'm using these Mega-Block LEGOs. Watch out, it's hot!

Step 4: Variations

I tried some more batches with other ingredients added, like water, corn syrup and even tested a little home made rust powder (Iron Oxide - about 1%).

All the fuels burned a little differently, but overall I was most impressed with the batches using the homemade rust.

To see the burn tests, you can watch the video here.

Step 5: The Best Batch

I made another batch and packed it into a homemade rocket motor casing that had a nozzle made from kitty litter. I was impressed to see it actually worked! I think this rocket shot up a couple thousand feet.

If you haven't see the video yet, it's not too late.  Watch it here!

If you like this project perhaps you'll like some of my others. Check them out at

2 People Made This Project!


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210 Discussions


Question 1 year ago

Hello ı was wondering and need answer is this good and solid to making fuel:


Reply 1 year ago

Grind up charcoal (coffee
grinder works well) and mix it with a powdered oxidizer. Note: doesnt work as well


Reply 2 years ago

i do not think thats possible. potassium nitrate is what helps burn


Reply 2 years ago

You could use potassium perchlorate, potassium chlorate, sodium, sodium chlorate, or ammonium perchlorate. All of the chlorates-perchlorates are more powerful than potassium nitrate, and consequently more dangerous. You would also have to calculate the fuel-oxidizer ratio yourself.


Reply 2 years ago

eBay, Amazon, Lab chemical shops, I don't really know!


Reply 2 years ago

Why? You may purchase Kno3 At Canadian tire as Spectracides Tree Stump remover.


Reply 3 years ago

Another easy to get oxidizer (at least in Poland) is potassium permanganate- KMno4. In my country you can buy small amounts at chemist's, but i'm pretty sure it's harder to get in most countries. It's much stronger oxidizer, however it leaves a lot of purple smoke that stains everything, and you have to calculate oxidizer:reducer ratio by yourself.


Reply 3 years ago

Well, you could use rubber as the fuel and nitrous oxide as the oxidizer, but you can't cook that up in your kitchen - you'd need a pretty serious shop


Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

You need some kind of oxidiser to make your rocket go. Potassium nitrate is probably the easiest to get. It isn't available at stores where I live (in Australia), but I don't think it's illegal, and friends have been able to get some online. Other than KNO3, NASA, ESA, and Roskosmos mostly used liquid oxygen, which us probably not possible to get without arousing suspicion as to why you want it.