Pyrotechnics

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Pyrotechnics

Pyrotechnics is defined as the art of making and using fireworks. Some consider
fireworks dangerous, obnoxious bursts of noise; others consider them beautiful,
artful displays of light. Either way you look at it, pyrotechnics is an
interesting and dangerous hobby. Many colors and designs may be created by the
placement of different compounds in distinct areas of the fireworks, either
projectile or stationary ones. Some of the many different colors of the visible
spectrum that can be easily recreated are; yellow, orange, red, green, and blue.

The shades of yellow and orange can be easily recreated by the use of sodium or
calcium chlorate. Red is easily attainable by the burning of SrCl. The burning
of BaCl creates a very bright green. The burning of copper chlorate creates the
blues. It would be extremely easy if we could just place these in the fireworks
and have them work, however, the emitting molecules, especially SrCl and BaCl,
are so reactive that they cannot be packed directly into a firework. To generate
them, we need pyrotechnic compositions designed to generate the above molecules,
to evaporate them into the flame and to keep them at as high temperature as
possible to achieve maximum light output. To get good colors, there must be
substantial amounts of emitters present in the flame. The emitters are not
alone: in order to achieve the high temperature, a fuel - oxidizer system is
also needed, as well as some additional ingredients. The colors of aerial
fireworks come invariably from stars, small pellets of firework composition that
contain all the necessary ingredients for generating colored light or other
special effects. They may be as tiny as peas or as large as strawberries. A
typical red star might contain Potassium perchlorate, 67% by weight Strontium
carbonate 13.5% Pine root pitch (fuel) 13.5% Rice starch (binder) 6% In order to
launch these beautiful displays into the sky, one must shoot them by means of a
mortar or a rocket attached to the firework. To use a mortar, you must pack a
propellant into the mortar and then place your firework inside. The subsequent
explosion luanchs the mortar ball (your firework) into the sky, where it is free
to explode in a 360 degree display of chemistry. Some fireworks are stationary,
where all that is desired is a loud bang. Some of the best stationary fireworks
are just straight, packed black powder in a small, sealed container (i.e. Tennis
ball bomb, m-80, blackcats, etc). Pyrotechnics, whether used as a hobby, or a
career, can be very dangerous if the right equipment is not used. Extreme care
must be taken with the use of bigger and hotter burning compounds. Many of the
compounds are extremely unstable. This is the main reason for the use of large
cement rooms called bunkers. You can create fireworks and explosives in these
without fear of destroying your area on this earth. All in all though,
pyrotechnics is a fun and interesting hobby not meant for the tame of heart.

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