Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

New Year Pyrotechnics

One of the most common Russian traditions on New Yaer is to set off fireworks as well as different firecrackers, petards, Bengal lights and other pyrotechnics. This tradition have a millenial history and came from China. According to Chinese tradition, on New Year's Eve there appeared a lot of evil spirits which searched for refuges in people's houses in order to bring misfortune to them. So fireworks were used to banish evil spirits by means of great noise.

Sparklers. (bengal lights.)
Invention of bengal lights dates back to the 5-6 centiries AD. They first appeared in India or more exactlly in Bengal. During religious services and ceremonies priests could set a bright but short fire on the temple's altar. This fire became an "ancestor" of the modern sparkler.  


  1. Sparklers are a handheld 'fireworks' that don't explode (pyrotechnic devices). They are easy to make, plus you can use your knowledge of chemistry to make colored fire.
    Watch the Video Tutorial

    Difficulty: Average
    Time Required: minutes to make, several hours drying time
    Here's How:

    Mix the dry ingredients with enough dextrin solution to make a moist slurry. Include the strontium nitrate if you want a red sparkler or the barium nitrate if you want a green sparkler.
    Dip the wires or sticks in the sparkler mixture. Be sure to leave enough uncoated space at one end to safely grasp the finished sparkler.
    Allow the mixture to dry completely before igniting the sparkler.
    Store sparklers away from heat or flame, and protected from high humidity.

    Source is L.P. Edel, "Mengen en Roeren", 2nd edition (1936), p.22, as cited from Wouter's Practical Pyrotechnics
    Parts are by weight.
    Be certain the sparkler is 'out' and cooled before discarding it. This is easily accomplished by dipping the stick in a bucket of water.
    Firework use is restricted or prohibited in some areas. Please check your local laws before burning sparklers, whether you purchase them or make them yourself.
    What You Need

    iron wires or wooden sticks
    300 parts potassium chlorate
    60 parts aluminum fines, flitter, or granules
    2 parts charcoal
    10% dextrin in water solution
    500 parts strontium nitrate (optional, for red color)
    60 parts barium nitrate (optional, for green color)

  2. What Is a Sparkler?
    All fireworks are not created equal! For example, there is a difference between a firecracker and a sparkler. The goal of a firecracker is to create a controlled explosion. A sparkler, on the other hand, burns over a long period of time (up to a minute) and produces a brilliant shower of sparks. Sometimes sparklers are called 'snowballs' in reference to the ball of sparks that surrounds the burning part of the sparkler.
    Sparkler Chemistry
    A sparkler consists of several substances:

    An oxidizer
    A fuel
    Iron, steel, aluminum, or other metal powder
    A combustible binder
    In addition to these components, colorants and compounds to moderate the chemical reaction also may be added. Often, firework fuel is charcoal and sulfur. Sparklers simply may use the binder as the fuel. The binder is usually sugar, starch, or shellac. Potassium nitrate or potassium chlorate may be used as oxidizers. Metals are used to create the sparks. Sparkler formulae may be quite simple. For example, a sparkler may consist only of potassium perchlorate, titanium or aluminum, and dextrin.

  3. How Does it Work?
    Let's put it all together: A sparkler consists of a chemical mixture that is molded onto a rigid stick or wire. These chemicals often are mixed with water to form a slurry that can be coated on a wire (by dipping) or poured into a tube. Once the mixture dries, you have a sparkler. Aluminum, iron, steel, zinc or magnesium dust or flakes may be used to create the bright, shimmering sparks. The metal flakes heat up until they are incandescent and shine brightly or, at a high enough temperature, actually burn. A variety of chemicals can be added to create colors. The fuel and oxidizer are proportioned, along with the other chemicals, so that the sparkler burns slowly rather than exploding like a firecracker. Once one end of the sparkler is ignited, it burns progressively to the other end. In theory, the end of the stick or wire is suitable to support it while burning.

  4. Important Sparkler Reminders
    Obviously, sparks cascading off of a burning stick present a fire and burn hazard. Less obviously, sparklers contain one or more metals to create the sparks and any colors, so they can present a health hazard. For example, they should not be burned on cakes as candles or otherwise used in a manner which could lead to consumption of the ash. So use sparklers safely and have fun!

  5. Top tips for New Year’s Eve

    Three sets of cakes fired to give a short, sharp display
    Keep your display SHORT for the following reasons:

    This occasion needs a short, sharp, loud and to-the-point display. A maximum of five minutes is recommended.
    Keeping it short means setting off fireworks quickly, together or overlapped. This makes the display look better.
    Many (if not all) guests will be well under the influence of alcohol with an attention span to match. They won’t want to stand around for ages.
    You’ll want to clear up quickly and get down to some serious partying.
    Your guests will want to get back to partying and/or drinking too.
    It’s late. Not everyone celebrates New Year (believe it or not!).
    The weather is likely to be poor, or at the very least, cold. The audience will want to get back indoors pretty quickly.

  6. Some more useful tips:

    It is normally recommend to start displays with sparklers but don’t bother on this occasion. They’re too tame for this type of display and are a liability if guests are a little “unsteady” through drink. If you must use them, do so about five minutes before midnight.
    Single ignition boxes or “displays in a box” (large cakes) provide a hassle free way of staging some very good effects and are well suited to this type of short celebration. Large cakes have the added advantage of very little pre-display setting up, ideal if the weather is bad.
    It’s nice to start as close to midnight as possible with a big rocket. You need to light the fuse about ten seconds before midnight but be warned it is never an exact science due to the big variations in fuse burn times!
    You may like to avoid quieter fireworks like fountains and wheels too BUT take into account your audience and your venue.

  7. You can create a great atmosphere indoors too, both before and after the fireworks. Here’s how:

    If you’re popping a bottle of bubbly, a couple of indoor sparklers or an ice fountain stuck in the cork is a nice touch (remove the spent sparklers and dispose of them safely before popping the cork!).
    Party poppers always go down well and they’re cheap too.
    Take the confetti a bit further with indoor table top confetti bombs. With all this confetti flying about, keep the food covered!
    Lightsticks are another popular distraction for guests. As they last up to eight hours they can be started in the evening and will still be going after midnight. Guests can take them outside in the dark during the fireworks as well as wave them around indoors because they’re 100% safe and nontoxic.

  8. What fireworks to use
    With a short, sharp and loud display in mind, here are some suggestions:

    Rockets: Big display rockets are on the menu here. Don’t worry about too many smaller rockets unless you’re an experienced team of firers and intend to multiple fire them.
    Cakes and candles: The biggest and best you can afford. Go for fewer, bigger items if you can. Fan cakes look stunning and work really well. Two big cakes together look even better, for example a fan cake plus another big cake can create a near-professional effect.
    SIBS: Single Ignition Boxes or Displays In A Box are really just big cakes with a variety of effects, but are a key firework on New Year’s Eve. Easy to set up and guaranteed to provide rotating effects in most cases all from one fuse.

  9. Compositions for Bengal lights the easiest ozhigat without sleeves. This poured a handful of the cone on a brick or iron plate. With this method produced a pure heavy fire, but burning it is small. Burning time can be lengthened, poured powder on the strip of iron narrow ribbon and set fire to it from the opposite direction of the wind directions.

  10. You can also fill compositions Bengal lights and sleeves. In order to lengthen the duration of combustion liners to make Bengal lights and small-caliber thin-walled (3 turns writing paper) and in front, burning them to reinforce the wire in a horizontal position. Since the burning of paper liners reacted to the painting of Bengal lights, then green and blue trains are filled without pressure in the foil liner.

  11. In these recipes instead of potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate may be used.

    Sulphur antimony 6.5 wt. am
    Coal 3 wt. am
    Sulphur 16 wt. am
    Azotnostrontsievoy salt 64.5 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 10 wt. am

    With a strong reflex: especially suitable for illumination of buildings and squares during the celebrations
    Azotnostrontsievoy salt 20 wt. am
    Sulfur 6 wt. am
    Thin Coal 1 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 3 wt. am
    Sulfur 10 wt. am
    Mel 10 wt. am
    Gypsum 1 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 30 wt. am

  12. Blue
    Cupric oxide 22 wt. am
    Potassium nitrate 22 wt. am
    Sulfur 24 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 67 wt. am

    Boric acid 30 wt. am
    Sulfur 18 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 27 wt. am
    Barium nitrate 63 wt. am
    Sulfur 21 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 26 wt. am
    This composition is burning with some hiss and can be burned only free-mound. A small admixture of fine coal dust makes it more fuel without substantial damage to paint.

  13. Yellow
    Sulfur 22 wt. am
    Dvuuglenatrievoy salt 11 wt. am
    Potassium nitrate 67 wt. am
    Sodium oxalate 6 wt. am
    Strontium nitrate 36 Wt. am
    Sulfur 3 wt. am
    Shellac 5 wt. am
    This structure gives a very nice flame, but he quickly syreet long and can not keep it.

    Sulfur 22.5 wt. am
    Coal 1 wt. am
    Elutriated chalk 20 wt. am
    Potassium nitrate 31 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 27 wt. am
    Strontium nitrate 48 wt. am
    Sulfur 48 wt. am
    Copper blue 1 wt. am
    Calomel 2 wt. am
    Coal linden 0.25 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 66 wt. am
    Sulfur 12 wt. am
    Mel 12 wt. am
    Copper blue 0.25 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 30 wt. am
    Cheap and stable, but few effective composition.

  14. White
    Sulfur 1924 forest. am
    Sulfurous antimony six weight. am
    Potassium nitrate 70 wt. am
    Potassium nitrate 30 wt. am
    Sulfur 12 wt. am
    Antimony 10 wt. am
    Barium nitrate 2 wt. am

    Copper blue 8 wt. am
    Phosphate copper 1 wt. am
    Sulfur 5 wt. am
    Calomel 0.5
    Potassium chlorate 15 wt. am

    Fire moonlight
    3-rd sulfurous antimony 6 wt. am
    Powder pulp 30 wt. am
    Sulfur composition 90 wt. am
    Sulphur composition consists of 25 weight. hours of sulfur, 25 wt. PM nitrate and 7 wt. h. powder pulp.

    1. 4 posts about the same stuff ...of different colours!
      1 point!

  15. Obvertyvayut stick old kerosene soaked rags or string, sprinkle more wet winding any containing resin composition of Bengal and then dumped his stick in the dough, prepared from a mixture of Bengal ended with kerosene. Torch adhesive qualities of kerosene soaked paper and sprinkle well pulverized into a powder resin. These torches give a very large dark-red flame and are used where you want to suddenly illuminate a colored light a large area. Moreover, their use during the march on the parade or the fireworks.

    Bengal torches can be replaced by Bengali candles that are on the below recipes. Liners for these compositions are prepared from writing papers in 3 traffic, 20 mm cross section and 35 cm in length. In the pocket of clay placed on 5 cm and then fill one of the following compositions.

  16. The stars represent flammable fiery compounds that are emitted into the air or by missiles and falling down in the form of stars, or together with other sparks fly upward jerk, standing in a shower of sparks, deeply colored colored flames. They are produced by small grains of size up to pea seeds. Having prepared for one of the following recipes, the composition is kneaded into a soft dough with a wine or alcohol, or diluted paste of rice starch.

    Forming takes place by means of thin plates (2-4 mm), which pierce punch holes, then pressed against the dough in the hole, dry it with paper and board capacity knock out the wet dough. These stars are well dried and after drying thoroughly cover incendiary putty or other highly flammable mixture. In a thorough drying make sure to cut the test stars.

  17. Candle flame

    These fireworks are used for uniform illumination of large signs, decorations, monograms, etc., necessary for such decorative effects candles should be made absolutely equal size to the length of their combustion was the same. Sleeves are manufactured from thin-walled ordinary writing paper (2-3 turns). Cross section of the liner must be equal to 0.5-1 cm in length sleeves should be to] 0 times the cross-section. Sleeves are not compressed and closed by bending the end: the composition is filled without a strong compaction.

    The upper end is provided with easily flammable incendiary cord and coated with a thick, easily flammable putty. These candles are usually installed horizontally, with all the fiery cords individual candles intercepted a common incendiary cord. To protect from premature ignition of accidentally coming into contact with the cords incendiary spark, recommend general incendiary cord sign into paper tubes, impregnated with fire-resistant composition. For the simultaneous ignition of all installed enough candles to light one end of the incendiary cord.

  18. Glowing nucleus
    Fluorescent nuclei are balls of white and colored fireworks masses, which are thrown with great force of the sleeve and at a certain height lit bright color or white flame.

    Glowing kernel can fill in the sleeves, interspersed with other trains, but you can stuff their shells completely independently. Generally in the luminous nucleus can be recycled a number of fireworks compositions, but is best suited for this purpose, the following recipes:

    Ingredients for white kernels
    Lead nitrate 3 wt. h.
    Sulfur 3 wt. am
    Nitrate 12 wt. am
    Realgar 2 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 3 wt. h

    For yellow
    Sodium oxalate 4 parts by weight. am
    Potassium nitrate 8 wt. am
    Sodium nitrate 8 wt. h
    Sulfur 5 wt. am

    To dark red
    Strontium nitrate 10 wt. am
    Sulphur 3 wt. am
    Antimony 2 wt. am
    Sahara 1 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 5 wt. h.

    For fiery red
    Nitrate 12 wt. am
    Sulphur 3 wt. am
    Trehloristoy antimony 1 wt. am
    Pipe soot 4 wt. h
    Resins 1 wt. am

  19. Neprokleennuyu paper into strips impregnated with one of the following aqueous solutions, dried and roll in the form of coils.

    For red
    Strontium nitrate 2 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 1 wt. am
    Dissolved in wine alcohol 2 wt. h.
    Waters 10 wt. am

    For green
    Barium chlorate 1 wt. am
    Dissolved in wine alcohol 1 wt. h.
    Waters 5 wt. am

    To yellow
    Potassium chlorate 1 wt. am
    Oxalate Sr 1 wt. am
    Dissolved in wine alcohol 2 wt. h.
    Waters 10 wt. am

    For blue
    Copper nitrate 2 wt. am
    Potassium chlorate 1 wt. am
    Dissolved in wine alcohol 2 wt. h.
    Waters 10 wt. am

    For purple
    Potassium chlorate 2 wt. am
    Perchlorate copper 1 wt. am
    Chloride Sr 1 wt. h.