Books – Kosanke Articles

An Instrument for the Evaluation of Black Powder as a Propellant for Aerial Shells

K. L. & B. J. Kosanke

ABSTRACT: None of the standard laboratory tests for Black Powder provide a direct indication of its performance characteristics for propelling aerial fireworks shells. Typically such testing must be performed by firing dummy projectiles on a test range—with all the problems that can entail, including the use of fairly large amounts of Black Powder for each test sample. Accordingly, a small, inexpensive laboratory test apparatus was developed, which uses only a minimal amount of powder per firing. The performance of the instrument was quantified regarding the effect of operating temperature, sensitivity of output to variations in ignition point, the effects of combustion product accumulation in the bore of the apparatus, the effect of grain size distribution, and the statistical precision of the results. Following these characterizations, the instrument was used to evaluate the performance of a series of Black Powder samples


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 63-77
(K4_63)
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Theory of Colored Flame Production

B. E. Douda

Abstract: The theories and attributes associated with the production of colored flames are presented. Particular attention is given to flames containing strontium (red), barium (green), sodium (yellow) and copper (green or blue). Thermal excitation of vaporized neutral atoms, molecules and ions is correlated with the emission of atomic, band and ionic spectra. These spectra are tabulated. The color contribution of C-type chemiluminescence, a non-thermal excitation, is described briefly. The variability of emitters, emissions and color with the operating flame temperature is discussed in relation to the thermodynamic properties of the reactants and the products of combustion. These thermal properties are tabulated. Ionization is shown as a contributor to color degeneration. The use of an ionization buffer to reduce ionization is explained. Depending on flame conditions and the metal being used, the influence of halogens on the production of color is discussed. The influence is not always beneficial. The flame equilibrium shift caused by the halogens is described for each of the metals. Metals and anions other than the halides are discussed in relation to their ability to intensify or suppress emission. The preferred emitters for each of the metals are listed, and idealistic postulates are presented which apply to the production of color in a flame.

This paper was originally published as RDTN No. 71, 20 March 1964 by the U. S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Crane, Indiana, USA

This paper is free to download


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Aerial Shell Drift Effects: A) The Effect of Long Mortars B) The Effect of Capsule-Shaped Shells

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke, A. L. Bauer and . E. R. Mutascioke

Abstract: Aerial shell drift is defined as the difference between the ballistically predicted trajectory of a shell and its actual trajectory. It had been speculated that longer length mortars and capsule-shaped shells might experience significantly different drift than normal length mortars and spherical shells. While longer mortars propelled 6-inch (155-mm) aerial shells to greater heights, the average shell drift was unaffected. Further, it was found that 6-inch (155-mm) capsule-shaped shells probably drifted slightly more than spherical shells.

Key Words: aerial shell drift, mortar length, shell shape.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 44-48
(K4_44)
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Explosive Limit of Armstrong’s Mixture

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

When investigating the cause of an accident, it was necessary to learn something about the lower explosive limit with regard to phosphorus content in Armstrong’s Mixture. A short literature search did not produce the needed information; thus a brief laboratory study was undertaken. Because the results of the study may be useful regarding safety and because they may be intrinsically interesting, this short article was prepared.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 42-43
(K4_42)
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Hazardous Chemical Combinations: A Discussion

Clive Jennings-White and K. L. Kosanke

ABSTRACT: All pyrotechnic compositions present some hazard due to their ability to produce energy. However, some compositions pose an added hazard because of the combination of incompatible materials. The use of such compositions may result in more frequent accidental ignitions during processing or spontaneous ignitions during storage. Other compositions pose an added hazard because of their ability to produce especially large amounts of energy with rapid reaction rates. The use of such compositions is likely to result in especially powerful explosions in the event of an accidental ignition.

This article attempts an organized examination of some combinations of commonly used pyrotechnic chemicals that are believed to have significantly increased hazard potentials.

Keywords: accidental ignition, spontaneous ignition, hazardous combinations, chemicals, compatibility, incompatibility


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 28-41
(K4_28)
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Concussion Mortar Internal Pressure, Recoil and Air Blast as Functions of Powder Mass

K. L. & B. J. Kosanke

ABSTRACT: A concussion mortar is a device used to produce jarring explosive sounds at events such as concerts and other theatrical productions. It consists of a heavy steel bar, drilled out to produce an explosion chamber. A type of pyrotechnic flash powder is loaded into the explosion chamber and fired with an electric match. Although concussion mortars are used quite frequently, for the most part, detailed measurements of their manner of functioning have not been reported in the literature. In the present study of concussion mortars, internal mortar pressure, recoil force and air blast were measured as functions of concussion powder load. It was determined that a full load (1 oz. or 28 g) of a strontium nitrate and magnesium concussion powder produced peak internal pressures averaging approximately 3100 psi (21 MPa). It was also observed that the width of the pressure peak ranged from approximately 7 ms for light loads, down to less than 2 ms for heavy loads. The recoil produced for a full load averaged approximately 5.9 lbf·s (26 N·s). The air blast for a full load, at a point 5 feet from and 3 feet above the mortar (1.52 m and 0.91 m, respectively), averaged approximately 1.5 psi (10 kPa). In addition, there were a number of unexpected observations, some of which have not been fully explained at the time of this writing.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 16-27
(K4_16)
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Fireworks and their Hazards

Thomas J. Poulton, M.D and Kenneth L. Kosanke, Ph.D.

“What are fireworks like?” she had asked.

“They are like the Aurora Borealis,” said the King, “only much more natural. I prefer them to stars myself, as you always know when they are going to appear….”                Oscar Wilde, The Remarkable Rocket.

Although appreciative audiences may value the predictability of fireworks, firefighters, unlike the king in The Remarkable Rocket, know that on occasion they may not be so reliable. When the first-due company finds it is dealing with fireworks, it is in an unusual situation that requires specific technical knowledge to ensure the safest possible outcome.

Scope of the Challenge: During the past 15 years, the quantity of fireworks used in the United States has more than doubled to approximately 100 million pounds annually. Although fireworks remain most popular over the Fourth of July holiday, their use is now common throughout the year at theme parks, fairs, and public events. Performing artists have greatly expanded the use of pyrotechnic displays to enhance the entertainment value of concerts, plays, and other stage productions. In a recent year, the U.S. Fire Administration reported that approximately 6,000 (less than one percent) of the almost one million fires occurring in the United States involved fireworks. The average loss per incident was less than $2,000.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 4-15
(K4_4)
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Stars Blown Blind

K.L. and B.J Kosanke

When an aerial shell bursts, stars that fail to burn are often said to be “blind stars”, or more descriptively as having been “blown blind”. This detracts from the beauty of the shell and contributes to debris fallout. The problem can be caused by any of a combination of factors; the most important of these are the degree of violence of the shell burst and the burn characteristics of the stars.

In simplest terms, a star will ignite when its surface has been raised to its ignition temperature. The star will continue to burn only so long as the burning surface feeds sufficient energy to the next deeper layer of the star, to raise that unignited composition to its ignition temperature. (See Figure 1.) (For a more complete discussion of pyrotechnic ignition and propagation, see reference 1.)


 Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 4, (1995-1997), pp 1-4
(K4_1)
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Recommended Lift Charge Amounts

One of the most frequently asked questions is “How much lift powder do I need for my shell?”. Unfortunately, the answer is not an easy one. The first reason is a lack of consensus regarding the optimum height to which various sized shells should be propelled. Of course, it is a requirement that burning components must not fall to the ground, but that is where the consensus ends. For a 3-inch shell, is 250 feet high enough or is 450 feet required? The second reason is that after deciding on the proper height, there are still a large number of other variables that determine the needed weight of lift powder. Among the variables are:

• Shell Type (cylindrical or spherical),

• Shell Weight,

• Shell Size (diameter),

• Shell Length (for canister shells),

• Lift Powder Grain Size,

• Lift Powder Quality (if it is not a commercial grade),

• Mortar Length,

• Loading Space (volume between bottom of mortar and shell), and

• Shell Clearance in Mortar.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 124-127
(K1_124)
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The Use of Titanium in Pyrotechnics

Titanium is a very effective generator of white (silver) sparks when used in the manufacture of fireworks. This is because of three of its properties: it ignites easily and burns readily in air, it has a high boiling point, and it is corrosion resistant. Because of this unique combination of desirable properties, the use of titanium in fireworks is generally easy, relatively safe(a) and very effective. Before discussing the ways in which titanium is used in fireworks and giving some sample formulations, it is useful to discuss why the properties mentioned above are so important for a pyrotechnic spark generator.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 120-123
(K1_120)
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