Somewhere in the world is a factory turning out ingots of mischmetal. They all look like this, one will cost you $US30 to $US50 (I paid $US31 plus delivery for mine from here, but they don't seem to have any at the moment; those international terrorists at United Nuclear have them, of course), and they're a lot of fun.

Mischmetal is a mixture of rare earth elements which, when iron and magnesium are added to the mix, is used to make lighter "flints". It's highly pyrophoric; small slivers of it burn spontaneously in air.

The added iron makes the mixture strong enough that a little peg of it won't squish or come to bits when the hard steel striker wheel in a cigarette lighter scrapes over it; that same mixture is used in a larger scale in the Ultimate Survival BlastMatch. But a chunky one pound ingot of straight mischmetal is also a fine spark source.

It doesn't spark incredibly well when you scrape it the first few times (with, in this case, a little knife blade), but once you shave off the oxide layer, away it goes.

The spectator is the same one who features in the second picture here.

4 Responses to “Sparkium”

  1. Itsacon Says:

    If your cats would ever try to tell other cats about their daily life, they would never believe them...

  2. rsynnott Says:

    I like that the cat decides it's nothing to be worried about after a few seconds, and gets on with things.

  3. Andy Says:

    lol ... I was looking for a cat in the *second* picture on this page ... I thought 'Crikey, Dan must have good eyesight' !

    Wrong second picture :roll:


  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Yeah, I guess that technically you just might if you were a huge nitpicker observe that it actually is the third picture... :-)

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