Archive for May 2007

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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Further information about HDPE Mortars

Someone recently raised the question as to whether there could be potential problems with high density polyethylene (HDPE) mortars from contact with detergents and from exposure to sunlight. This article was drafted in response to a request to address those concerns and also to present an update on the status of acceptance of HDPE mortars by display companies and regulatory agencies.

With respect to HDPE and contact with detergents, it was suggested that some detergents may be capable of attacking HDPE. I knew of no such detergent and after checking with an expert in the field, Mr. David Tebeau of AFD, Inc., I still do not know of any such detergents. I do not feel there is any reason to avoid contact between HDPE and detergents; in fact most liquid detergents are packaged in polyethylene containers.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 118-119
(K1_118)
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Pyrotechnic Spark Generation

The intentional production of sparks in fireworks contributes significantly to the beauty and spectacle of displays. However, in comparison to the time and effort devoted to generating improved color formulations, relatively little attention has been directed toward the possibilities for new and improved spark generation. This article is offered in the hope that a review of pyrotechnic spark generation might stimulate increased effort in this area. It is acknowledged that this article draws significantly on the published works of Takeo Shimizu.[1,2]


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 112-117
(K1_112)
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Determination of Aerial Shell Burst Altitudes

One type of fireworks data generally only guessed at is the altitudes of aerial shells at the time of their burst. In addition to addressing general curiosity, this data is often necessary when designing major aerial displays. Frequently it is important to know fairly accurately at what altitudes the various shells will appear. The rule-of-thumb, that shells break at about 100 feet per shell inch, may be a handy guide but is only very approximate and does not address differences between shell types and manufacturers. J. G. Taylor (Pyrotechnica X) published a theoretical paper which discussed a triangulation method for measuring the height of an explosion in the air. The paper was elegant in its mathematical approach, but may have been somewhat lacking in terms of practicality. The method suggested in this article is less elegant but is also quite practical.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 109-111
(K1_109)
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Reduction of Shell Ignition Failures

A shell ignition failure means there will be a live dud in the fallout area after a display. If that dud is not retrieved, is found by a member of the public, and that person is subsequently injured as the result of mishandling the dud shell, an insurance claim against the shooter and manufacturer will almost certainly result. This article presents a discussion of one method which can result in a significant reduction of the number of shell ignition failures.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 107-108
(K1_107)
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CMC – Its Properties and Uses

CMC, as it is commonly called, is more properly referred to as Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose (carboxy-methyl-cellulose). In the food industry it is also frequently referred to as cellulose gum.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 106-106
(K1_106)
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Japanese Shell Break Radii

(Derived from data provided by Dr. T. Shimizu, private communication)

The National Fire Protection Association, Technical Committee on Pyrotechnics is in the process of revising NFPA-1123, Code for the Outdoor Display of Fireworks (formerly called Public Display of Fireworks). In preparation for considering the appropriate separation distances between spectators and mortar placements and between spectators and fall-out areas, it seemed that it would be helpful to know how great the break radius was for hard-breaking spherical shells. Thus an attempt was made to collect that data. It was also felt that the data would be of general interest to the pyro-community; it was in that belief that this article was prepared.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 104-105
(K1_104)
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Understanding Product Liability (Parts I and II)

During the past couple years, in the course of assisting attorneys as an expert witness, I have come to learn a little about product liability. Because this subject is so important to our industry and because product liability laws are not well understood by many of us, I have decided to share with you what I have learned. However, it is important that you understand that I am not an attorney, that my experience in this area is not vast, and that product liability laws are state statutes which vary significantly from state to state. At best, the material presented in this article should only serve to provoke a thorough discussion of the subject with your attorney.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 100-103
(K1_100)
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Destructive Testing & Field Experience with HDPE Mortars

In an earlier article on High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) mortars, results from an initial series of tests were published (Pyrotechnics Guild Int’l. Bulletin, No. 54, p 5). Those results will not be repeated here. This article continues by presenting the results from an additional test, a summary of the author’s field experience since the first article, and comments on HDPE mortar use in England by Rev. Ron Lancaster.


Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 1, (1981-1989), pp 98-99
(K1_98)
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