Celebrating New Year, Diwali, or even a gender reveal is often more fun with a colourful and breathtaking firework display.
Although these dazzling pyrotechnics are awe-inspiring to witness, it is important to remember that they can be dangerous if not handled correctly. So it’s not surprising the burning question is often asked – Can fireworks go off on their own?
Come and consult with our fireworks specialists at Showtime Fireworks to discover the genuine answer!
Before we head into details, let’s get the short answer first.
Can fireworks go off on their own? Technically, no. Since a firework needs heat to ignite the lift charge, it won’t spontaneously combust without a flame or spark. To ensure safety, it’s important to keep fireworks away from any sources of heat or sparks. Always take proper precautions when handling fireworks, they should remain safely inactive until you’re ready to light them!
Ok, so it’s a little easier to understand why fireworks can’t go off on their own, Let’s discover more about what they are made of and how that affects how they work.
How do fireworks work?
Fireworks are made up of three components: an ignition system (fuse or electronic fuse), a lift charge (black powder), and stars (colourful chemicals).
The lift charge works by creating a shockwave that pushes the stars outwards and provides them with enough energy to ignite. This is why fireworks are so loud and bright!
This powder must be placed in a container with enough air pressure built up inside it to make the firework explode; this process requires an external ignition source such as a flame or fuse.
When the fuse is lit, it ignites the black powder and this causes an explosion that propels the stars out of the tube.
The ‘stars’ are what make the firework colourful. Each star contains a different chemical that will create a unique colour or spark when it burns. This is why every firework is so unique!
Some of the chemicals used to create the stars are potassium nitrate (reddish-purple colour), charcoal (orangey-yellow colour), strontium carbonate (red colour), sodium chloride (white sparks), and more!
A strong enough source of heat could detonate a firework
So though regulations are preventing certain types of highly sensitive materials from being used in fireworks, it is still possible for them to ignite if exposed to a strong enough source of heat or fire.
However, this does not mean that fireworks can go off on their own. For a firework to ignite and explode, the ignition source must be brought into contact with the flash powder for it to work.
If there is no external source of ignition present, then the firework will remain dormant and will not spontaneously combust.
So while fireworks are volatile and require careful handling at all times, they cannot go off on their own without an ignition source.
This means it’s super important to be aware of your surroundings when igniting fireworks and always take precautions when using them.
With some common sense and safety measures, it is possible to enjoy the beauty of fireworks without having to worry about them going off on their own.
Ok so now we've discovered that a firework needs igniting first before it can explode into a stunning array of light, you might be wondering what else can light a firework, other than the human hand.
“it is still possible for them to ignite if exposed to a strong enough source of heat or fire.”
What can make a firework light other than a human?
Fireworks are designed to be detonated by a human. While it is true that there is a spark of energy when the fuse is lit, this spark does not have enough power to detonate a firework without help.
Therefore, if you ever find an old firework lying around, it's unlikely that it will spontaneously ignite or blow up - because fireworks need a human hand to light them and make them explode into beautiful colours!
However, it is important to remember that even though fireworks cannot go off on their own, they can still be dangerous and should always be used with caution.
Always follow safety instructions and never try to modify or tamper with any fire
The only way that fireworks can be set off without any human intervention is if some other external force (like a spark from a campfire or lightning) sets it off.
This is why it’s important to keep your distance from any source of ignition when handling fireworks, especially if they are already lit.
How should I store fireworks so they don't go off on their own?
The most important thing to do when storing fireworks is to make sure that they are kept in a cool, dry place.
Fireworks should never be exposed to high temperatures or damp conditions as this could cause them to become unstable and ignite unexpectedly.
It’s also important to make sure that the area is well-ventilated, as the chemical reactions in fireworks can produce dangerous gases.
Some of these gasses include carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, which can accumulate in an enclosed space if not properly ventilated.
Keep fireworks away from any open flames
To further reduce the risk of fireworks going off unexpectedly, it is important to make sure that they are kept away from any open flames or other sources of heat.
This is especially important if you have an open fire or even gas rings in your kitchen.
Our best tip for storing fireworks is to keep them in a cool, dry place away from any heat sources such as direct sunlight or any open flame.
It is also important to make sure that fireworks are securely stored and handled with care, as mishandling near sources of heat could cause them to be detonated unexpectedly.
Fireworks should always be treated with respect and handled carefully; this includes avoiding striking them or throwing them.
They should always be disposed of safely after use and never reused as they are not designed to be re-ignited multiple times.
And to finish on…
While it may seem like fireworks could go off on their own due to their explosive nature, this is not the case. An external source of ignition must be brought into contact with the flash powder for a firework to ignite, as we've discovered above.
Following basic safety guidelines and proper storage can help ensure that fireworks are only ignited when intended, keeping yourself and your surroundings safe.
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