Topics: Fireworks, Color, Shell Pages: 1 (437 words) Published: November 1, 2014

SC1130-Survey of the Sciences
Unit 4 Assignment 1
The Science of Fireworks
We have been watching fireworks for hundreds of years, so we’ve had time to get it right. And yet every year, something new and bigger is always on display. It is still the one thing in life that can fill both children and adults with a sense of awe and wonderment. But how does it work? Let’s start at the beginning, before the big show. There are four basic components that give the firework that bright burst of multi colored light, followed immediately by its loud boom. Container: This is usually pasted paper with string, formed into tight cylinders. Stars: Cubes, cylinders and cubes containing a sparkler type of composition. The bursting charge: This is a fuse buried inside the shell of the container. The fuse: This provides the time-delay, so that the shell explodes at the exact moment it’s meant to. (Brain, 2014) The mortar, a short metal pipe containing a lifting charge that explodes inside the pipe, which in turn launches the shell into the sky. When this occurs, the fuse in the shell is ignited. The fuse of the shell ignites, causing the shell to rise to its correct altitude, at which point it bursts the charge, and goes off with a brilliant explosion of light and power. The multicolor lights are caused by multi -break shells. These often contain stars of different colors and varying compositions that combine to create a soft or brighter light, or more or less sparks, etc. Some shells also contain explosives designed to crackle in the sky, or whistle as it explodes outward with the stars. These type shells are also ignited by different fuses. (Brain, 2014) For larger shows, the shells will be assembled so that that each section explodes in precise sequence designed to produce a distinct and separate effect of what went off before. The explosives that break these larger sections apart are called break charges. The order of colors is based on the layer they are resting in...

Cited: Brain, M. (2014). HowStuffWorks "How Fireworks Work". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 12 October 2014, from
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