Hell_en, saran: here's a great article on the production of ammonium perchlorate:
It is also known Perchloric acid ammonium salt
Ammonium perchlorate is an oxidiser used in a large number of compositions. Very impressive colour compositions can be made with it, but their burn rate is often too low for use in star burst compositions for fireworks. For lance work and torches slow burning is an advantage and it is therefore commonly used in these items. Ammonium perchlorate is also used in composite rocket propellants, including the propellants used in the solid rocket boosters once used for the space shuttle and in similar boosters today. The decomposition combustion products of ammonium perchlorate are all rapidly expanding gasses that are very beneficial for rocket propellants.
Ammonium perchlorate, NH4ClO4, helped launch the NASA space shuttles by providing the massive thrust needed for lift-off at a point in time when the shuttle is at its heaviest.
Ammonium perchlorate can detonate by itself, although it is not very sensitive. Larger amounts and mixtures of ammonium perchlorate with metal powders, such as powdered aluminum, or organic substances are more likely to detonate. It is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Most of the force needed to push the shuttle skyward in the first two minutes of blast-off comes from the two huge, white solid rocket boosters, which are attached to the main fuel tank. These rockets are packed with propellant--a chemical mixture that, when burned, produces tremendous thrust. Propellants consist of two main ingredients: a fuel and an oxygen source.
Discovery's upward thrust at lift-off came from a solid mixture of ammonium perchlorate and a powered aluminum metal, along with an iron oxide catalyst to speed the burning reaction along, and a "binder" material to hold all the components together. The entire solid mixture has the consistency of a pencil eraser. Ammonium perchlorate is also used by the U.S. military in rockets, explosives, flares and ammunition.
The chemistry of the solid rocket booster propellant can be summed up in this reaction:
Once ignited, the fuel-burning reaction cannot be stopped. Oxygen from ammonium perchlorate combines with aluminum metal to produce aluminum oxide--the white solid Al2O3-- and aluminum chloride, AlCl3, water vapor and nitrogen gas. This reaction heats the inside of the solid rocket boosters to 5,800 F, causing the two gases to expand rapidly. The expanding water vapor and nitrogen lift the rocket boosters with a tremendous force. All of the solid fuel is burned in about two minutes.
The two solid rocket boosters provide about 71 percent of the total upward thrust at lift-off. Meanwhile, the main orbiter engines are also humming, making use of liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel from the orange external tank:
This reaction also generates extremely high temperatures (approximately 6,000 F), expanding the water vapor and generating an additional upward thrust.
(On a side note, because the only by-product of Hydrogen burning is water, it is used in processes where purity is critical like cutting glass stock for the manufacture of fiber optic cable. Again, because the only by-product of hydrogen combustion is water, it is the cachet for selling Hydrogen powered vehicles.)
Ammonium perchlorate is usually bought from chemical suppliers or from dedicated pyro suppliers. Fine ammonium perchlorate powder is a regulated substance in most countries and cannot easily be bought or transported. Since it is such a useful chemical in pyrotechnics it can be worth the time and effort to try to prepare it at home. This can be done by first making sodium perchlorate followed by double decomposition with ammonium chloride (other ammonium compounds can be used). The preparation of sodium perchlorate is most easily accomplished by electrolysis. Chemical Destruction of any chlorates present in the sodium perchlorate must be performed BEFORE Ammonium Chloride is added as Ammonium Chlorate is very unstable. Amateur production of Ammonium Perchlorate via electrolysis is extremely dangerous and not recommended.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified ammonium perchlorate as toxic and harmful when exposed to humans. Ammonium perchlorate cause irritation on skin, eye and some thyroid problems. It is also a class one explosive, manufacturers have to go through stringent rules and regulation for using ammonium perchlorate as a raw material or as an additive.
Usage of ammonium perchlorate leads to contamination if the waste is unregulated which contains high level of ammonium perchlorate and can contaminate water owning to its high solubility in water if usage of ammonium perchlorate is not regularized.
The Thiokol Chemical Company performed a study titled 'Atmospheric Environmental Implications of Propulsion Systems' (N95 31747):
'Three independent studies have been conducted for assessing the impact of rocket launches on the earth's environment. These studies addressed issues of acid rain in the troposphere, ozone depletion in the stratosphere, toxicity of chemical rocket exhaust products, and the potential impact on global warming from carbon dioxide emissions from rocket launches. Local, regional, and global impact assessments were examined and compared with both natural sources and anthropogenic sources of atmospheric pollutants with the following conclusions:
- Neither solid nor liquid rocket launches have a significant impact on the earth's global environment, and there is no real significant difference between the two.
- Regional and local atmospheric impacts are more significant than global impacts, but quickly return to normal background conditions within a few hours after launch.
- Vastly increased space launch activities equivalent to 50 U.S. Space Shuttles or 50 Russian Energia launches per year would not significantly impact these conclusions.
"Clean" solid propellant work should be renamed "alternative propellants" and continued on a laboratory scale until more atmospheric experimental data are available to verify the minimal environmental impact conclusions that have been drawn to date.'
Smokeless and ash-less signal flare in the color blue is gaining traction amongst the prominent military and defense services globally for its properties of distinctive color and minimum residue. Ammonium perchlorate is used in these flares to project a blue color flame.
North America and Europe are understood to hold a prominent share in the Ammonium Perchlorate market. China is one of the leading countries in Ammonium Perchlorate production owning to the rapid chemical industry growth in the recent years. The increasing advancements in the aerospace industries in regions such as North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific is estimated to propel the ammonium perchlorate market in the coming future.
China and India are prominent players in the Asia-Pacific region. Countries in Middle-East & Africa such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Israel and Iraq invest heavily in the military and defense budget. U.S., China, India, France and Russia are among the leading countries who invest a high percentage of GDP as their military budget which is expected to drive the ammonium perchlorate market in these countries.
Some of the key manufacturers in the Ammonium Perchlorate market are:
hongqing Changshou Chemical Co., Ltd., Dalian North Potassium Chlorate Co., Ltd., Shuangpai County Insein Chemical Co., Ltd., Dalian Gaojia Chemical Co., Ltd., Yingkou Tianyuan Chemical Research Institute Co., Ltd, Calibre Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., The Pandian Chemicals Limited, American Pacific and Kerr-McGee Corporation among others
Ammonium perchlorate is an explosive and can be found in rocket fuel and ammunition. And its availability is a key driver in the world's arms industry. It was also major component in the solid propellant used in the giant Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) used on the Space Shuttles and continues to do so today. When you see the solid rocket boosters fall away on a launch, remember the importance that ammonium perchlorate plays in their launch because of the massive thrust it can generate when added to the proper mixture of propellants. And then recognize that studies have shown that the environmental impacts of the booster propellants are transitory in nature.