I’ll happily admit to not having given much thought to the chemistry behind a molotov cocktail, always assuming that it was simply a case of some kind of combustible fuel in a bottle. The recent news of the Ukrainian government encouraging its citizens to make home-made molotovs
to repel Russia’s forces highlighted some unexpected additional ingredients.
The first of these: styrofoam (polystyrene). If anyone’s ever tried dissolving polystyrene in acetone you’ll know that it creates a sticky mess, which gives the molotov mixture napalm-like qualities.
The second additional ingredient is silver dust. Apparently, this helps to increase the combustion temperature, but that’s about as much as I’ve been able to determine about its purpose (through running a number of Google searches which have almost certainly landed me on a list somewhere).
It feels like it would be a bit irresponsible to turn this into a ‘How to make a molotov cocktail’ graphic, so this’ll probably be the extent of my looking into it.