From a Technical Standpoint, What is Flash Powder?

K. L. Kosanke and L. Weinman

Introduction: In a recently published article on the regulatory definitions of firework flash powder[1] it was concluded that none of those definitions provided sufficient information to objectively establish whether or not a pyrotechnic composition is a flash powder. That is to say, those definitions are all subjective to the extent that they depend on the intended use of the composition and none provide a quantifiable measure that can be used to determine whether a particular pyrotechnic composition is a flash powder. The purpose of the present article is to suggest a general approach that might be used as the basis for producing a quantitative definition of flash powder.

The reason such an objectively quantifiable definition is needed is that – from both a regulatory and safety standpoint – flash powders are treated differently than other pyrotechnic compositions. The rationale for this is that the hazards posed by firework flash powders are generally significantly greater than most other commonly encountered pyrotechnic compositions. Accordingly, both pyrotechnic manufacturers and regulatory enforcement personnel need to be able to unambiguously identify whether a composition is or is not a flash powder.

Ref: Selected Pyrotechnic Publication of K.L. and B.J Kosanke, Part 7, (2003-2004), pp 120-124

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