There’s a lot more to designing fireworks than stuffing a canister with gunpowder and putting a fuse on it. There are many surprising scientific components involved in creating a beautiful explosion, and even more are being added as expectations for fireworks continue to rise.
The Physics and Legality of Noise
First, the physics of a firework extend beyond the principles of propulsion and aerodynamics. Noise is a big consideration in fireworks design, and has caused major issues for the industry in the past. Suburban and town areas would always complain about people setting off fireworks in the night, startling the immediate vicinity with the sound of the explosion. A problem that was especially troublesome in rural areas where livestock and animals could easily cause disruptions when frightened by the loud explosions.
The problem became so bad and widespread, that there were times when people worried that legislators would put so many roadblocks on the use of fireworks that it crippled the trade. Fortunately, fireworks online retailers found a way to promote low noise fireworks for such occasions.
There are also people on the other side of the scale who would want as much noise out of their fireworks as possible. These people are called thump junkies, and their sole mission in life is to create and detonate the loudest, earth shaking, ear splitting explosions ever known to man. Thump junkies routinely put cannons – the ones designed to strike fear into the hearts of enemy soldiers – to shame with their deafening creations.
The Chemistry of Colour
While physics takes care of the sound, chemistry is responsible for the visual aspect of the fireworks display. While people may buy fireworks based on the imagery displayed on the packages, nothing compares to the vibrancy of colour during that one second of fire and light.
Chemistry tickles the creative side of fireworks designers, as it allows them to experiment with different compounds and mixtures to see what elements make what colour, and which arrangement makes what pattern. Though the basic colours and patterns have been fleshed out, the possibilities of even more stunning visual feats are yet to be fully explored.