Did you know that fireworks including elements of all of the following disciplines:
• Aerospace engineering
• Materials sciences
• Fire science
• Risk management
Basically, fireworks are a clever and ancient combination of elements packed into a tube and burnt causing a chemical reaction which is dependent on the chemicals used.
Fireworks started out as being used to scare away evil spirits but soon they cottoned onto the idea that they would cause damage and were thereafter used as weapons.
Research into ‘greener’ fireworks is gathering pace as they replace some of the more noxious substances like potassium perchlorate within fireworks to Nitrogen based alternatives which they hope will retain the same impact of colours and effects without any of the toxicity issues.
The planning of a professional fireworks show is more about maths and muscle than anything else. Professional firers have to establish safety distances for each item as they can differ massively dependant on the type, size and shape of shell or mine being utilised.
Given the various scientific disciplines involved and that we are just over 6 miles from the City of Sheffield’s fantastic Hallam University, one of the country’s top ten places to study Chemistry in the UK, it is not unsurprising that we get visits from the students and their families en route. One young man, called in on his way to the Halls of Residence and collected some firework paraphernalia for his walls!