Pyrotechnic Composition

A pyrotechnic composition is a substance or mixture of substances designed to produce an effect by heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of these, as a result of non-detonative self-sustaining exothermic chemical reactions. Pyrotechnic substances do not rely on oxygen from external sources to sustain the reaction.

Basic types of pyrotechnic compositions are:

  • flash powder – burns very fast, produces explosions and/or bright flashes of light
  • gunpowder – burns slower than flash powder, produces large amount of gases
  • solid propellants – produce large amount of hot gases, used as sources of kinetic energy for rockets and projectiles
  • pyrotechnic initiators – produce large amount of heat, flames, and/or hot sparks, used to ignite other compositions
  • gas generators – produce large amount of gas, either high volume at short time (for actuators and ejection charges, often using solid propellants) or controlled flow rate (e.g. chemical oxygen generators, often using thermite-like compositions)
  • ejection charges – burn fast, produce large amount of gas at short time, used to eject payloads from containers
  • burst charges – burn fast, produce large amount of gas at short time, used to fragment a container and eject its content
  • smoke compositions – burn slowly, produce smoke, plain or colored
  • delay compositions – burn at constant slow speed, used to introduce delays into the firing train
  • pyrotechnic heat sources – produce large amount of heat and little to no gases, slow-burning, often thermite-like compositions
  • sparklers – producing white or colored sparks
  • flares – burn slowly, produce high amount of light, used for illumination or signaling
  • coloured fireworks compositions – produce light, white or colored

Some pyrotechnic compositions are used in industry and aerospace for generation of large volumes of gas in gas generators (e.g. in airbags), in pyrotechnic fasteners, and in other similar applications. They are also used in military pyrotechnics, when production of large amount of noise, light, or infrared radiation is required; e.g. missile decoy flares, flash powders, and stun grenades. A new class of reactive material compositions is now under investigation by military.

Many pyrotechnic compositions – especially involving aluminium and perchlorates – are often highly sensitive to friction, impact, and static electricity. Even as little as 0.1–10 millijoules spark can set off certain mixtures.

Read more about Pyrotechnic Composition:  Materials Used

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Famous quotes containing the word composition:

    Since body and soul are radically different from one another and belong to different worlds, the destruction of the body cannot mean the destruction of the soul, any more than a musical composition can be destroyed when the instrument is destroyed.
    —Oscar Cullman. Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead? The Witness of the New Testament, ch. 1, Epworth Press (1958)