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How To Make Napalm: DIY Napalm


How to Make Napalm

Napalm is a mixture of flammable petroleum thickened with unique soaps. It is simply a mixture of Styrofoam insulation or packing peanuts and gasoline. The result of this mixture is a sticky substance called Napalm.

It is a durable, cheap, and sticky burning gel that gets stuck on the skin, roof, and furniture. Napalm can kill more people than atomic bombs. Its ability to cling on to objects makes it very lethal.

It was a secret research collaboration between the U.S. government and Harvard University to devastate people in WW II.

How To Make Homemade Napalm

There are many different types of napalm mixtures. The two main types are;

Napalm-A Oil

It is also known as Oil-based Napalm with aluminum soap thickener. It consists of co-precipitated palmitic acids and aluminum salts.


It is also known as super-napalm or Oil-based Napalm with polymeric thickener. It is made up of petroleum oil mixed with a thickening polymeric agent.21% of it is made of benzene,33%gasoline,46%polystyrene.

The modern-day version of Napalm is Napalm-B. Hard to find agents such as naphthenic acid and palmitic acid and use them to formulate commercial versions. 

Homemade versions are pretty easy to mix up. Homemade Napalm can be made using the following procedures;

  1. Using an enormous container, fill it about halfway with gasoline. Diesel works best.
  2. Break the special soap, Styrofoam(polystyrene), plate into small pieces.
  3. Styrofoam pieces are added to the gasoline, and then you stir. Gasoline will dissolve the Styrofoam into a jelly-like mixture.
  4. Pour out excess gasoline leaving behind the white, jelly-like solution. The white sticky substance is Napalm, and when ignited, it will burn for some minutes. To reduce the burn time of the substance or make it slow, you add engine oil.

Origin Of Napalm

On 14th February 1942, in a top-secret weapon research laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University, Napalm was invented. 

Professor Louis Fieser and his colleague E. B. Hershberg: created this lethal weapon. The two inventors were in partnership with the U.S. government.

Its creators expected it to be used for an incendiary purpose and used against enemy structures. Americans used Napalm to win WW II as it incinerated 64 of Japan’s 67 largest cities.

On 15th December 1943, it was first used by American troops in Sicily, on a wheat field to incinerate Germans who allegedly were sheltering there.

The U.S. military used the napalm bomb on 15th December 1944 to attack Japanese forces. The use of this sticky gel is what made Americans win World War II.in 1950, Napalm held the line against communism.

Napalm was perceived as a highly efficient inflammable weapon because of the following reasons;

  1. It can increase the likelihood of setting up fire to materials that are not flammable in the enemy target area.
  2. It is dependent on other things to ignite it and can therefore easily be controlled compared to other incendiary agents.

After observing its effectiveness, air commanders around the world embraced this devastating weapon.

It is legal to use it on the battlefield under international law but illegal to use in other places.

Properties Of Napalm

  1. It appears as a thick jelly or flammable liquid, depending on its composition. Gasoline is more explosive than Napalm. However, when it catches fire, it is tough to extinguish.
  2. It is highly flammable and has a strong petroleum odor. Thus, it isn’t easy to extinguish.
  3. It is insoluble in most soluble polar solvents and in water but forms a fine suspension with most hydrocarbon liquids.
  4. Napalm gives many combustion gases during combustion and carbon monoxide and soot, and a lot of heat. Carbon monoxide is highly toxic.
  5. It generates temperatures of about 1500oF to 2200oF, which is by far that of water at 212oF.

 History Of Napalm In World War II And Korea

Napalm was first deployed on the battleground of Papua in New Guinea with flame workers. More attacks were through airstrikes.

1400 tons were used in the war to take down Japan. Only 5% of incendiary weapons, Napalm, other explosive weapons were also deployed by the allies during the war. 

From 1950 to 1953, the U.S. Air forces carried out an extensive bombing in North Korea during the Korean war. It is estimated that Napalm destroyed almost 85%of the buildings in North Korea. 

This was the first significant bombing since its inception in 1947 from the United States Army troops. Napalm was delivered in massive amounts. 

On the first day of the war, 32357 tons of Napalm fell on Korea, which was more than twice what fell in Japan in 1945.

From then on, Napalm became an efficient incendiary weapon to achieve target bombing on a specific area.

Napalm In Vietnam

In 1965, Dow Company began making Napalm. This was in readiness for the coming war in Vietnam. The U.S. used it in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970.

The U.S. ground troops used it in flamethrowers burning part of the forest and bushes, hoping to eliminate the guerilla fighters. Air raids were much more devastating as one bomb was able to destroy a large area.

Eight million tons of Napalm was used in the Vietnam War, which was way more than what was used in World War II. 

Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide, was used in operation called Operation Ranch Hand. The process aimed to poison the food and water of the Vietnam farmers and guerilla fighters. 

This was then to make them flee from that place to a place where the American troops had more dominance. 

Agent Orange is more toxic than common herbicides and led to an estimated 5 million deaths, and over 400,000 children were born with birth-related defects.

The U.S. troops later stopped using Agent Orange as it was decided that it was in breach of the Geneva contract.

Napalm Effects On The Environment

  1. Napalm can cause death by asphyxiation or burns, which is a deficiency in the supply of oxygen. The effect occurs when it combusts with oxygen in the air, producing carbon dioxide then again continuously burning it to carbon monoxide.
  2. Its raw ingredients are relatively harmful. Polystyrene burns in high temperatures to become highly toxic styrene.
  3. Air raids using it releases a single bomb capable of destroying a large land area by burning at temperatures of 1500 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Although its early uses were for agriculture, it has proved to be destructive to the environment. In 1970 the U.S. troops in Vietnam used Napalm to destroy forests and other natural resources.
  5. Burning it at high temperatures releases toxic chemicals to the environment, making it hard for people in the surrounding region to breathe. The long-term effect of this is long-term lung-related illnesses.

Storage And Disposal

Napalm should be stored away from any sources of ignition. It is preferably kept in metal containers in a bucket with sand. The bottle should be sealed so as not to smell the petroleum odor.

Napalm and its wastes should only be burnt in incinerators with afterburners in a remote location. It should be disposed of like this because of the toxic fumes it releases.


1. Is Napalm illegal?

It is not illegal but is prohibited from using in human civilizations. However, it can be used in war fields. Some farmers also use it for weed control.

2. Can Napalm be put out?

Dry chemical extinguishing agents can put out the napalm. Putting carbon dioxide over the flame can also extinguish the fire.

3. How much time does Napalm burn for?

Napalm-A burns for about 15 to 30 seconds, while Napalm-B burns for about 10minutes or so. The U.S. used napalm B as it can be controlled, stable, and with an incendiary substance.

4. Is Agent Orange still used?

Production of Agent Orange ended in 1970, and since then, it has not been used. The contaminants and pollutants continue to have harmful effects today since the Vietnam war.

5. What does Napalm do to humans?

Direct contact with burning napalm results in severe burns and, more often, death. It also causes long-term lung-related illnesses.

6.Does Napalm burn in water?

Versions containing phosphorous will burn underwater, so it is still as effective in water as in the air.


Napalm is a highly toxic jelly-like substance. It is legal only on battlefields but illegal in regular civilizations. It is related to massive killings in World War II and other mass killings in target areas after 1948.

It does not only kill you, but it tortures you, as one is deprived of oxygen. The effect of Napalm on the human body is unbearably painful, and, in most cases, it leads to death.

Vietnam is still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. There are traces of these pollutants there though toxic chemical herbicide has never been produced since 1970. 

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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