Aerial Shell Burst Height as a Function of Mortar Length

K.L. and B.J Kosanke

[This article is augmented with a number of text notes, indicated using superscript letters. While it is hoped these provide useful information, they are not essential, and the reader may wish to ignore them unless further information is desired.]

From time to time over the years there has been discussion of the effect of mortar length on the burst height  achieved by fireworks aerial shells. However, rarely has burst height versus mortar length data been presented, [1,2] even then the data has been of limited value. In one case, the results were predictions using a ballistics model where only the maximum possible height reached by aerial shells was presented, not the measured height at the time of their actual burst.[a] In the other case, only a one shell was fired for each mortar length, and the method of determining the height of the shell burst was rather imprecise. The study being reported in this article is more useful in that actual burst heights were reasonably accurately measured and there were several firings from each mortar length. Unfortunately, this study only examined the effect of mortar length on 3-inch (75-mm) spherical aerial shells. While it is expected that similar results would be found for other shell types and sizes, that cannot be assured.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 6, (2001-2002), pp 90-92

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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