Colored smoke

Colored smoke

Colored smoke is a kind of smoke created by an aerosol of small particles of a suitable pigment or dye.

Red Arrows air display team

Colored smoke can be used for smoke signals, often in a military context. It can be produced by smoke grenades, or by various other pyrotechnical devices. The mixture used for producing colored smoke is usually a cooler-burning formula based on potassium chlorate oxidizer, lactose or dextrin as a fuel, and one or more dyes, with about 40-50% content of the dye. About 2% sodium bicarbonate may be added as a coolant, to lower the burning temperature.

Smoke released from aircraft was originally based on a mixture of 10-15% dye, 60-65% trichloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene, and 25% diesel oil, injected into the exhaust gases of the aircraft engines. Most commonly, teams now use specifically prepared liquid dyes and only gas oil, light mineral oil or a food grade white oil without harmful chlorinated solvents.

Some mixtures used for production of colored smokes contain these dyes:

  • Red:
  • Orange:
    • Solvent Yellow 14 (C.I. 12055)
  • Yellow:
    • Vat Yellow 4 with benzanthrone (older)
    • Solvent Yellow 33
    • Solvent Yellow 16 (C.I. 12700)
    • Solvent Yellow 56
    • Oil Yellow R
  • Green:
  • Blue:
    • Solvent Blue 35 (C.I. 26125)
    • Solvent Blue 36
    • Solvent Blue 5
  • Violet:

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