How Fireworks Work - part 1

Aerial Shell Firework

Aerial Firework

How an Aerial Fireworks Shell works:
fireworks mines What is a Fireworks Mine?
A Mine is a device in which a number of stars are shot out of a mortar with a charge of black powder. It will look like an aerial shell exploded in the tube. Picture of five glitter mines on the left.
fireworks comets What is a Fireworks Comet?
A comet is basically a large star, which is shot out of a mortar tube with a charge of black powder. Typically, the comet will have a large "tail" that will follow it up into the sky. A pyrotechnic "tail" would be made with the addition of charcoal to give a gold tail, and titanium or aluminum to give a silver tail. (Many other possibilities). Comets do not always have tails. They can also be a solid color, such as blue, red, green, etc.
fireworks waterfall What is a Fireworks Waterfall?
A Waterfall (a.k.a. Niagara Falls) is designed to give the look of exactly what the name says, a waterfall. It utilizes what essentially amounts to an array of slow burning Gerbes (a.k.a. fountains) being simultaneously fired upside down from an elevated position. The slow burning composition produces bright sparks which create the visual effect of a waterfall.
fireworks roman candles Candles (a.k.a. Roman Candles)
A device which is similar to a comet, except there is more than one shot per device. Candles can have a wide range of effects and number of shots. Each candle is constructed with a star that sits on top of a black powder charge, with a delay composition below the black powder charge. This delay composition burns slowly to allow for a time lapse between one shot and the next. As soon as the delay composition burns through, the next star and corresponding "lift" charge are ignited. This process repeats until all the stars are fired. The picture to the left has the candles on the left and a few cakes already foiled on the right.
fireworks set piece lance work What is a Set Piece?
These utilize a number of colored lances (small flares) which all together form a pattern or word. They typically burn for one minute. All of the lances are simultaneously lit with quick match or sticky match.
Check out how some of the other types of fireworks work!
Want to learn how professionals set up these devices? Then Check out our Fireworks Training pages!
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