Pyrotechnics is defined as the art of making and using fireworks. Some consider fireworks dangerous, obnoxious bursts of noise; others consider them beautiful, artful displays of light. Either way you look at it, pyrotechnics is an interesting and dangerous hobby. Many colors and designs may be created by the placement of different compounds in distinct areas of the fireworks, either projectile or stationary ones.
Some of the many different colors of the visible spectrum that can be easily recreated are; yellow, orange, red, green, and blue. The shades of yellow and orange can be easily recreated by the use of sodium or calcium chlorate. Red is easily attainable by the burning of SrCl. The burning of BaCl creates a very bright green. The burning of copper chlorate creates the blues. It would be extremely easy if we could just place these in the fireworks and have them work, however, the emitting molecules, especially SrCl and BaCl, are so reactive that they cannot be packed directly into a firework. To generate them, we need pyrotechnic compositions designed to generate the above molecules, to evaporate them into the flame and to keep them at as high temperature as possible to achieve maximum light output. To get good colors, there must be substantial amounts of emitters present in the flame. The emitters are not alone: in order to achieve the high temperature, a fuel – oxidizer system is also needed, as well as some additional ingredients.
The colors of aerial fireworks come invariably from stars, small pellets of firework composition that contain all the necessary ingredients for generating colored light or other special effects. They may be as tiny as peas or as large as strawberries. A typical red star might contain
Potassium perchlorate, 67% by weight
In order to launch these beautiful displays into the sky, one must shoot them by means of a mortar or a rocket attached to the firework. To use a mortar, you must pack a propellant into the mortar and then place your firework inside. The subsequent explosion luanchs the mortar ball (your firework) into the sky, where it is free to explode in a 360 degree display of chemistry. Some fireworks are stationary, where all that is desired is a loud bang. Some of the best stationary fireworks are just straight, packed black powder in a small, sealed container (i.e. Tennis ball bomb, m-80, blackcats, etc).
Pyrotechnics, whether used as a hobby, or a career, can be very dangerous if the right equipment is not used. Extreme care must be taken with the use of bigger and hotter burning compounds. Many of the compounds are extremely unstable. This is the main reason for the use of large cement rooms called bunkers. You can create fireworks and explosives in these without fear of destroying your area on this earth. All in all though, pyrotechnics is a fun and interesting hobby not meant for the tame of heart.