For centuries fireworks have been a source of delight and amazement in cultures around the world. But what produces their dazzling array of effects? This book takes you behind the scenes to explore the chemistry and physics behind the art of pyrotechnics. Topics covered include history and characteristics of gunpowder; principles behind each of the most popular firework types: rockets, shells, fountains, sparklers, bangers, roman candles and wheels; special effects, including sound effects, coloured smokes and electrical firing; firework safety for private use and displays; and firework legislation. The Chemistry of Fireworks is aimed at students with A level qualifications or equivalent. The style is concise and easy to understand, and the theory of fireworks is discussed in terms of well-known scientific concepts wherever possible. It will also be a useful source of reference for anyone studying pyrotechnics as applied to fireworks. Review Extracts "a worthwhile addition to the pyrotechnist's library" Fireworks "a useful source of information which makes absorbing reading."" Angewandte Chemie, International Edition.
Fireworks are synonymous with celebration in the twenty-first century. But pyrotechnics—in the form of rockets, crackers, wheels, and bombs—have exploded in sparks and noise to delight audiences in Europe ever since the Renaissance. Here, Simon Werrett shows that, far from being only a means of entertainment, fireworks helped foster advances in natural philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, and many other branches of the sciences. Fireworks brings to vibrant life the many artful practices of pyrotechnicians, as well as the elegant compositions of the architects, poets, painters, and musicians they inspired. At the same time, it uncovers the dynamic relationships that developed between the many artists and scientists who produced pyrotechnics. In so doing, the book demonstrates the critical role that pyrotechnics played in the development of physics, astronomy, chemistry and physiology, meteorology, and electrical science. Richly illustrated and drawing on a wide range of new sources, Fireworks takes readers back to a world where pyrotechnics were both divine and magical and reveals for the first time their vital contribution to the modernization of European ideas.
What causes our breathtaking excitement when fireworks burst above us? Why do we "see fireworks" when we fall deeply in romantic love? Why are fireworks and explosions the most apt metaphor for passion of any kind? Lynn McLain, a daughter of Dr. Joseph H. McLain, who designed and manufactured fireworks and worked on safety standards for decades, poses those questions -- and answers many others in this compact book that celebrates all that fireworks have to offer. The book includes colorful reproductions of rare images alongside intriguing historical and cultural fireworks trivia questions and answers. All royalties from its sale will be donated to the installation of an unprecedented, fireworks-inspired, computer-programmable, permanent light sculpture at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland in honor of Dr. John A. Conkling and in memory of the author's father, both of whom made great contributions to the science and safety of fireworks.