How to Make a
Model Volcano
Pyroclastic Flow
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How to Make a Model Volcano Pyroclastic Flow

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Many model volcanoes use baking soda and vinegar to produce a lava flow. This is for those interested in producing true stratovolcanic pyroclastic flow complete with ash and smoke.


  1. This should only be done or supervised by an adult. It should only be done outside in an open area. All fire safety precautions should be taken.
  2. Build a model volcano using a metal soup can as the vent.
  3. Mix together powdered sugar and salt petre aka potassium nitrate (available at garden store) in a 60% potassium nitrate to 40% sugar weight ratio to make about 50 grams.
  4. Fill vent with mix and place a model rocket engine igniter (available at hobbie store) into the mix.
  5. Attach 25 ft. of speaker wire with alligator clips to the ignitor and run the wire away from volcano. Make sure the ignitor tip is burried in the mixture.
  6. Fill vent all the way to the top (and overflowing if you like) with ash from a fireplace (optional, but really cool).
  7. Stand back and touch the tips of the wires to a 9 volt battery (it doesn't matter which wires touch which electodes).


  • Grind up the salt petre so it reacts quicker
  • Rig the wires up through the vent to hide them
  • Use basic electronics (Radio Shack) to rig a control switch or better yet a cool detonation box.


  • Fire Hazard only to be done outside in an open space
  • Stand at least 25 ft. away to avoid flying particles
  • Volcano will be hot after eruption. Handle with care.
    Experiments of this nature should be carried out under adult supervision and all necessary and adequate safety precations should be taken, including having at hand a First Aid Kit and a portable Fire Extinguisher.

Things You'll Need

  • Sugar
  • Salt Petre (potassium Nitrate)
  • Speaker wire
  • alligator clips
  • 9V battery
  • Model rocket engine ignitor
  • Soup can
  • Switch (optional)

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make a Model Volcano Pyroclastic Flow. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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