Archive for April 2007

As Defined by Regulation, What Is Fireworks Flash Powder?

K. L. Kosanke and L. Weinman

Although widely used, the term “flash powder” is poorly defined; there is nothing even approaching universal agreement about exactly which pyrotechnic formulations are and are not fireworks flash powders. This would be of some concern under any circumstance; however, it is the use of the term—flash powder—in regulations that greatly magnifies the problem. One might expect that an agency choosing to use the term “flash powder” in their regulations would have a responsibility to provide a reasonably precise definition for it; if not providing a generally applicable definition, then at least a definition for use within the context of the regulations. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Consider the definition published by of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF or BATFE), the primary regulating authority for the manufacture, storage and use of explosives in the US:

55.11 Meaning of terms. Flash Powder. An explosive material intended to produce an audible report and a flash of light when ignited, which includes but is not limited to oxidizers such as potassium chlorate or potassium perchlorate, and fuels such as sulfur and aluminum.[1]


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 113-115
(K7_113)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

A Report on the Fireworks Accident at Carmel, Western Australia

R. I. Grose and K. L. Kosanke*

ABSTRACT: The investigation into an accident at Carmel, Western Australia in March 2002 found that the magnitude of explosions occurring in licensed and unlicensed storage areas was significantly greater than would have been expected from the UN hazard classification of items stored within them. Use of revised UN default classification tables for the items in storage, instead of the previous classification, goes toward accounting for the violence of the explosions. The official report into the accident makes a number of recommendations that are of direct international relevance, such as a minimum safety distance of 400 m (from residential housing or defined vulnerable facilities) for licensed UN Hazard Division 1.1 magazines regardless of mass of contents (above 50 kg minimum), removal of a concession that allows for the temporary storage of fireworks in unlicensed areas for up to 14 days prior to a display, the adoption of the UN default classification table throughout Western Australia and the importation of incorrectly classified fireworks to be made an offence.

Keywords : Carmel explosion, UN hazard  classification, safety distance, unlicensed storage


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 103-112
(K7_103)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

A Brief Description of the Construction and Functioning of Common Electric Matches

Lawrence Weinman and K. L. Kosanke

ABSTRACT: A simple description of the construction and the physical principles governing the function of common electric matches and some implications of these principles for testing and firing them are presented.

Keywords: electric match, heat resistance, current, volt, pyrogen


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 96-102
(K7_102)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Manual Firing Delay Times for Aerial Shells

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

Introduction: As used in this article, the definition of “manual firing delay time” is the time interval between the manual ignition of the tip of the shell leader delay element and when the aerial shell fires from its mortar. This delay time is of interest in the context of the delay time requirement in the National Fire Protection Association’s Code for Fireworks Displays (NFPA- 1123).

Prior to the 1990 edition of NFPA-1123, the requirement for delay times for the manual firing of shells was that:

“The length of exposed black match on a shell shall not be less than 3 in. (76 mm) …. Also, the delay time between the ignition of the tip of the exposed black match and ignition of the lift charge shall not be less than four seconds ….


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 92-95
(K7_92)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Indoor Pyrotechnics-A Brief Cautionary Message

M. J. McVicar and K. L. Kosanke

The forensic science community has had a long-standing interest in the analysis of the residues deposited after the deployment of devices whose operation involves a controlled explosion. For example, testing for the residues of the compounds of lead, barium, and antimony, used in the primer of small-arms ammunitions, may be required on the hands and clothing of individuals to determine whether they may have discharged, or otherwise had contact with, a firearm. As an extension of research in the area of gunshot residue analysis, recent work dealing with the examination of residues from various pyrotechnic devices [1–3] has revealed some trends in the chemical composition of the residues of pyrotechnic devices. A survey of the composition of the starting components and residues from 150 small, consumer grade pyrotechnic devices purchased in the United States revealed that more than 30% of the devices contained some proportion of lead, 5% contained antimony, and 80%contained barium.[3] These devices included fountains, wheels, and ground spinners that are likely to be used in family fireworks displays in close proximity to the spectators.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 90-91
(K7_90)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Typical Mortar Recoil Forces Produced When Firing Spherical Aerial Shells

K. L. Kosanke and L. Weinman

(Included in the text of this article are a series of notes. These notes present ancillary information that may be of interest to some readers but are not strictly needed within the context of this article. Thus readers should feel free to ignore the notes unless they desire more information.) One of the more common requests for information regards the recoil force produced when aerial shells are fired from mortars. Generally the concern is whether some support structure (e.g., roof top, platform or barge deck) will safely accommodate the dynamic load produced as shells of various sizes are fired from mortars placed upon the support structure. Providing a precise answer can be a complex engineering problem, requiring information that is not readily available. However, providing reasonable estimates for the recoil forces produced by the firing of typically performing aerial shells is a relatively easy matter. This article provides those approximate values for typical 3- through 12- inch (75- through 300-mm) spherical aerial shell firings. (These values are only for single break spherical shells; they are not for cylindrical shells or for so-called stacked, double-bubble, or peanut spherical shells.)


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 85-89
(K7_85)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

The Effect of Intentionally Caused Fire Leaks into 2-1/4-Inch Consumer Fireworks Shells

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

A series of experiments are being conducted to more definitively establish the difference between the causes of so-called flowerpots[1] andmuzzle breaks.[2] Testing was performed to document the effect of firing small firework aerial shells after having intentionally provided fire leaks into those shells. The idea for this testing originated from a conversation that occurred during a break between paper presentations at the First International Symposium on Fireworks. At that time, the authors were engaged in research to determine the cause and mechanism of some types of aerial shell malfunctions. This work focused on the time taken for various size aerial shells to explode after the ignition of their contents and the time for those same size shells to exit a mortar after ignition of their lift charges. Based on this work, the authors had concluded that relatively minor fire leaks (through small holes and cracks) would be expected to preferentially produce muzzle breaks rather than flowerpots and that flowerpots must be the result of more substantial fire leaks into the shells.[4] Part of the reason for the conversation was to solicit input regarding the authors’ work from two persons highly knowledgeable in the manufacture of aerial shells.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 79-84
(K7_84)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Shogun Electric Match Connectors

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

The most common point of attachment of an electric match to a fireworks aerial shell is via the shell leader, and most commonly the installation of the electric match is performed by a display company when preparing for a display. Because of the difficulty of performing that operation with the safety shroud left in place, too often the shrouds are removed prior to their installation. Unfortunately, while removing the safety shroud is allowed under a US-DOT exemption,[1] this greatly increases the likelihoodof an accidental ignition. [2,3] Fortunately, now there is a simple and effective solution to the problem; the Shogun Electric Match Connector.[4]


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 76-78
(K7_76)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Further Report on the Testing of Suspect Tiger-Tail Comets

K. L. and B. J. Kosanke

In the hope of avoiding a serious accident, earlier issues of Fireworks Business carried a report of the powerfully explosive malfunctions of some tiger-tail comets,[1] and then a brief report of an examination and initial testing of a number of the suspect comets.[2] Since that time, samples from one of the suspect comet shells were provided for laboratory analysis. This article reports on the results of that analysis.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 74-75
(K7_74)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.

Color Values and Spectra of the Principal Emitters in Colored Flames

W. Meyerriecks* and K. L. Kosanke

ABSTRACT: The emission spectra of many of the more important emitters in pyrotechnic flames were collected. For this purpose solutions and suspensions of sodium, potassium, calcium, strontium, barium and copper salts were aspirated into a propane gas flame as the excitation source. Performing instrument corrections and using appropriate data reduction strategies allowed the isolation of the individual spectra. Among these are the monochlorides and monohydroxides of strontium, calcium, barium and copper. The CIE color coordinates of the principal emitters were calculated from the isolated spectra. In addition, a table of normalized band and line intensities was produced for each of the successfully isolated emitting species.

Keywords: flame spectra, flame color, color emitter, color coordinate, monochloride, monohydroxide, barium, calcium, copper, strontium


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 52-74
(K7_52)
Download/Purchase Options :

You must be logged in to purchase or download articles.