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Explosive experts, Dr Jacqueline Akhavan, senior lecturer at Cranfield University, and Dr Alex Contini, research officer, explain the explosive chemical and physical reactions behind fireworks.
Through a series of controlled explosions in the research laboratories of the Ministry of Defence, Akhavan and Contini demonstrate fireworks in a way that could never be done in a classroom.
They begin with gunpowder, the basis of all fireworks, and explain how it reacts. They also demonstrate why many modern stage and TV effects use flash powder instead of gunpowder.
Akhavan and Contini change the colour of a firework by adding a metal salt and heighten its effect by adding a whistle and a scream. Finally they open up a rocket to identify and predict what an identical rocket might do when ignited.
Part of the series: School Days