Smoke grenade

Smoke grenade

Smoke grenades are canister-type grenades used as ground-to-ground or ground-to-air signaling devices, target or landing zone marking devices, or a screening devices for unit movements. Smoke grenades are normally considered non lethal, although incorrect use may cause injury or fatality. The body consists of a sheet steel cylinder with a few emission holes on top and at the bottom to allow smoke release when the grenade is ignited. The filler consists of 250 to 350 grams of colored (red, green, orange, gray, yellow, blue, white, black, or violet) smoke mixture (mostly potassium chlorate, lactose and a dye). The reaction is exothermic and grenade casings will remain scalding hot for some time even after the grenade is no longer emitting smoke.

Another type of smoke grenades are the bursting kind. These are filled with white phosphorus (WP), which is spread by explosive action. White phosphorus catches fire in the presence of air, and burns with a brilliant yellow flame, while producing copious amounts of white smoke (phosphorus pentoxide). These double as incendiary grenades (q.v.), and a variant of these are also launched from infantry-portable or armored fighting vehicle-mounted grenade launchers. Users must also be wary of wind direction when using smoke grenades.

Smoke grenades should not be confused with smoke bombs, which are typically started with an external fuse rather than a pin. Smoke grenades often cost much more at around $40 USD compared to smoke bombs, which can often cost just a few cents. Smoke grenades generally emit a far larger amount of smoke than smoke bombs that are sold as fireworks.

Other uses

Smoke grenades are sometimes used in paintball or airsoft events, though these are not necessarily of military grade. Some devices utilised for the purpose of generating concealing smoke are high-volume smoke candles.

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