New Years is coming up, it’s the biggest time of year for fireworks. Although there is some controversy around the holiday gadgets, with animals suffering as a result of their loud bangs, most of us look forward to the sight of these sparks as a signal that the new year has begun. But how exactly do these loud, colourful light displays actually work?
According to HowStuffWorks, in their most simple form, a firework is a shell, that has a fuse attached. It is made up of a container, the “sparklers”, a charge and the fuse.
- Container – Usually pasted paper and string formed into a cylinder
- Stars – Spheres, cubes or cylinders of a sparkler-like composition
- Bursting charge – Firecracker-like charge at the center of the shell
- Fuse – Provides a time delay so the shell explodes at the right altitude
Inside the shell are the stars and the bursting charge which is made of black powder (like gun powder made of Potassium nitrate). When the fuse light hits the black powder it ignites it and this makes the shell explode. The stars are interspersed with a little black powder which makes the them burn, creating the beautiful light we see in the sky.
The stars comes in all shapes and sizes depending on what the display would look like.
To launch the shell into the air, it is placed on a mortar that is also filled with black powder, shooting the shell into the air when lit.