“Skip Burning” of Visco Fuse

K.L. and B.J. Kosanke

In late December 1978 more than 100 serious injuries were reported in eastern Kentucky, apparently the result of defective visco fuse.[1] The defective fuse had been used by a manufacturer of M-80’s and other illegal consumer devices. These devices “exploded as soon as they were lit”, apparently while still being held in the hand. While the authors’ interests were peaked by this report, it was not possible to investigate the cause of the malfunctioning fuse because none was available for testing. Many years later, while discussing the accidents at the 1989 PGI Convention, Eldon Hershberger said that he had a small amount of fuse dating back to approximately that time, and the fuse had an unreliable burn rate. He stated that the fuse generally burned normally, but every once in a while the burning seemed to instantly advance ½ to 1 inch. He had purchased the fuse from a hobbyist supplier in the late 1970’s. This sounded like it might be the defective fuse we wished to have for testing. Eldon was kind enough to supply two short lengths for evaluation.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 3, (1993-1994), pp 46-50

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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