Tag Archives: black powder

This Is Why We Are Called EPIC FIREWORKS – Black Powder (Gun Powder) Vs Flash Powder

Check the video here that shows the difference in power between black powder and flash powder.

Fireworks come in all shapes and sizes and all manner of packaging. But it is whats inside that counts.

Flash Powder and Black Powder, they may sound similar but there is a big difference. Black powder is your good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense gunpowder that we all know and love, it does the job and is reliable but doesn’t do anything fancy.

Flash powder, on the other hand, is the good stuff. Flash powder is what makes a firework go bang, it’s like the active ingredient. Without flash powder, it is not possible to make a firework bang loudly or explode and send light and colour flying through the air.If you want to see impressive effects get flash powder if you want to see stars just farting and falling go for black powder.

So, how do you tell the difference? Well, you know those fireworks you buy from the supermarket every year that manage to disappoint you time and time again. Those are black powder. You know the fireworks your neighbours use that are always much louder and really explode and look awesome? Those are flash powder. They are not illegal or more expensive, just a little harder to come by. That’s where we come in. We deliver fireworks all over the UK and we guarantee the best quality fireworks available to the general public in this country.

These 2 simple formulae demonstrate just how it works:

Black Powder = Rubbish Burst

Flash Powder = Quality Burst

Ok, they are not formulae as such but you get the idea. Always check what is inside your firework before you buy. If in any doubt, don’t buy it.

Another good rule of thumb is 1.4G and 1.3G, these are forms of classification used by the government to determine the explosiveness of a firework product. Another great and easy to remember the pair of formulae now:

1.4G = So so

1.3G = Awesome

Simples! (click)

Watch this video and it will explain all. If you have any questions leave a comment or call the Epic Team and we will happily talk you through it. Fireworks should be excellent all the time, our mission is to bring you the best fireworks allowed by law in the UK.


History of Fireworks

Many people associate fireworks with 5th November, Diwali, Independence Day, but their original use was in New Year’s celebrations. Do you know how fireworks were invented? Legend tells of a Chinese cook who accidentally spilled saltpeter into a cooking fire, producing an interesting flame. Saltpeter, an ingredient in gunpowder, was used as a flavouring salt sometimes. The other gunpowder ingredients, charcoal and sulfur, also were common in early fires. Though the mixture burned with a pretty flame in a fire, it exploded if it was enclosed in a bamboo tube.

This serendipitous invention of gunpowder appears to have occurred about 2000 years ago, with exploding firecrackers produced later during the Song dynasty (960-1279) by a Chinese monk named Li Tian, who lived near the city of Liu Yang in Hunan Province. These firecrackers were bamboo shoots filled with gunpowder. They were exploded at the commencement of the new year to scare away evil spirits. Much of the modern focus of fireworks is on light and color, but loud noise (known as “gung pow” or “bian pao”) was desirable in a religious firework, since that was what frightened the spirits. By the 15th century, fireworks were a traditional part of other celebrations, such as military victories and weddings. The Chinese story is well-known, though it’s possible fireworks really were invented in India or Arabia.

In addition to exploding gunpowder for firecrackers, the Chinese used gunpowder combustion for propulsion. Handcarved wooden rockets, shaped like dragons, shot rocket-powered arrows at the Mongol invaders in 1279. Explorers took knowledge of gunpowder, fireworks, and rockets back with them when they returned home. Arabians in the 7th century referred to rockets as Chinese arrows. Marco Polo is credited with bringing gunpowder to Europe in the 13th century. The crusaders also brought the information with them.

Many fireworks are made in much the same way today as they were hundreds of years ago. However, some modifications have been made. Modern fireworks may include designer colours, like salmon, pink, and aqua, that weren’t available in the past. In 2004, Disneyland in California starting launching fireworks using compressed air rather than gunpowder. Electronic timers were used to explode the shells. That was the first time the launch system was used commercially, allowing for increased accuracy in timing (so shows could be put to music) and reducing smoke and fumes from big displays.


Gunpowder – origins, evolution and myths

Gunpowder was not invented overnight, as far as historians can tell, it was a gradual process over hundreds of years to get from the initial discovery of an unknown explosive substance, to the sophisticated black powder that we know today. In 142 AD, during the Han Dynasty, a man named Wei Boyang wrote the first recorded text regarding gunpowder. He wrote about a concoction of three powders that would “fly and dance” violently in his “Book of the Kinship of the Three”, which detailed the experiments made by the early alchemists. It’s impossible to be absolutely certain that he was talking about gunpowder, but there is no other explosive known to scientists that uses three powders. Chinese Taoist alchemists were certainly a major force behind the invention of gunpowder. Emperor Wu Di (156-87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty funded research by the alchemists on the secrets of eternal life. In their search for the elixir of life the alchemists experimented with the sulphur and saltpetre heating the substances in order to transform them. By 300 AD, a scientist of the Chin dynasty called Ge Hong had actually written the ingredients of gunpowder and described the effects. He made gunpowder by mixing sulphur, charcoal, and saltpetre, also called potassium nitrate. Sulphur is found naturally in our environment as a yellow rock, it is mined and processed to create sulphur that can be used in gunpowder. You can make saltpetre with animal manure by leaving it to sit and decompose, potassium nitrate crystals form in the manure, and these can be drained off by washing the manure through with water. The three separate powders are then mixed together, using roughly fifteen parts of saltpetre to three parts of charcoal and two parts of sulphur. The reason gunpowder explodes is that it burns incredibly quickly and when it burns it releases hot gases that are larger in volume than the original powder, causing a rapid expansion, and thus the explosion. It was during the rule of the T’ang Dynasty, about 700 AD, when people really began to use gunpowder in the way we expect today. T’ang Dynasty emperors are known to have used gunpowder to put on “magical” fireworks displays. By 904 AD, Chinese inventors realised that you could also use gunpowder as a very powerful weapon. Initially the army used gunpowder in the form of crude rockets. They put small stone cannonballs inside bamboo tubes and blasted the cannonballs out by igniting gunpowder at one end. This is basically the same principal that makes guns work today. The Chinese Emperors tried their best to keep their incredible discovery under wraps, but by the 1100’s AD their secret had escaped, and people in the Islamic Empire also began to comprehend how to use gunpowder for weapons. It wasn’t long before Europeans also learned how to use this amazing new Black Powder. We aren’t sure exactly how the Europeans first found out, but it has been suggested that it may have had something to do with the Third Crusade, crusaders returning to Europe brought tales with them of a terrible new weapon, like a monster that could breathe fire! The Chinese Emperors’ secret was out, and the world had a new way of fighting its wars. There is no doubt that the use of gunpowder in warfare changed the face of the world forever. It became possible to engage an enemy at greater distances than before, and as accuracy and range improved over time, so did the sophistication of the weapons. From crude rockets to cannon to hand guns and bombs. Even today long after the first rocket was ever fired, the same basic principles apply. Advancements in technology mean that gunpowder itself is now only used in smaller arms. However anyone today firing a gun can thank the work of the early Chinese alchemists who, ironically, in their search for eternal life, discovered the most efficient way of ending it.