The Chemistry of Fireworks

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Royal Society of Chemistry, 2009 - Science - 169 pages
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"For centuries fireworks have been a source of delight and amazement in cultures around the world. But what produces their dazzling array of effects? This book takes you behind the scenes to explore the chemistry and physics behind the art of pyrotechnics. Topics covered include history and characteristics of gunpowder; principles behind each of the most popular firework types: rockets, shells, fountains, sparklers, bangers, roman candles and wheels; special effects, including sound effects, coloured smokes and electrical firing; firework safety for private use and displays; and firework legislation. The Chemistry of Fireworks is aimed at students with A level qualifications or equivalent. The style is concise and easy to understand, and the theory of fireworks is discussed in terms of well-known scientific concepts wherever possible. It will also be a useful source of reference for anyone studying pyrotechnics as applied to fireworks. Review Extracts ""a worthwhile addition to the pyrotechnist's library"" Fireworks ""a useful source of information which makes absorbing reading."" Angewandte Chemie, International Edition"
  

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Contents

Historical Introduction
1
Development of Black Powder
2
Application of Black Powder to Fireworks
7
Further Uses of Black Powder
15
The Characteristics of Black Powder
18
Oxidation and Reduction
20
Electronegativity
21
Physical Chemistry
23
The Brightness of Sparks
88
Particle Combustion
89
Sparklers
94
Tubed Sparklers
96
Bangers
98
Volume of Evolved Gases
99
Theoretical Maximum Gas Pressure
100
Roman Candles
104

Influence of Pellet Density on Burning Time
24
Influence of Moisture on Burning Time
25
Thermal Ignition of Black Powder
27
Thermal Analysis of Black Powder
30
Analysis by DTA
31
Analysis by DSC
33
Stoichiometry
35
Heat of Reaction
36
Temperature of Reaction
37
Sulfurless Gunpowder
41
Moisture Resistant Gunpowder
42
Rockets
44
Thrust and Specific Impulse
48
External Ballistics
50
Distance Travelled with Uniform Acceleration
51
The Trajectory in the Atmosphere
52
Further Developments
56
Mines and Shells
61
Functioning of Shells
66
Internal Ballistics
67
External Ballistics
70
Mortar Tubes
73
Energy Transfer Efficiency
74
Mines
78
Fountains
79
Atomic Theory
81
Quantum Theory
82
Titanium Fountains
84
The Colour of Sparks
86
Emission of Radiation by Stars
107
Chemistry of the Green Star
110
Ionisation in Flames
111
Chemistry of the Red Star
112
Chemistry of the Blue Star
114
Summary
116
Gerbs and Wheels
118
Wheels
120
The Maltese Wheel
122
Special Effects
125
Piped Match
126
Plastic Fuse
127
Pyroclock
129
SetPieces
133
Devices
135
The Whistle Effect
136
Smoke Puffs
139
Firing Electrically
143
Fireworks Safety
145
Organised Displays
147
Fireworks Legislation
152
The Health and Safety Executive
153
British Standard for Fireworks
154
UK List of Classified and Authorised Explosives
156
Recent Legislative
159
The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005
160
Bibliography
161
Subject Index
164
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Michael S Russell is a Chartered Chemist and a member of the RSC. His experience lies in the design of pyrotechnic devices mainly for fire or explosion suppression or military applications. He acts as a Consultant for explosives safety and safety training courses. He has also developed pyrotechnics, smokes, flares, rockets and gas generators.

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