Bottle Rocket Fireworks

A popular item, bottle rocket fireworks are small-scale sky rockets that fly up into the sky when the fuse is lit. This aerial firework is always a top-seller with consumers in the market place who celebrate with them on many special occasions such as July 4th, New Year’s Eve and notably, the Indian Hindu festival, Diwali.  Because bottle rocket fireworks are usually made inexpensively overseas, they can be found for a good deal at nearly every firework stand. Millions and millions of bottle rocket fireworks are made and set off each year.

Bottle rocket fireworks are made with a rocket engine stuck on a stabilizing splint. The stick end is then placed in an empty bottle in preparation for take off.  As soon as the fuse is lit, the flames move quickly into the rocket’s core and ignite the pyrotechnic chemicals within – usually black powder comprised of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur. As the core begins to fill up with fire, the gunpowder is exposed, burned away and creates heated gases that expand and escape through the rocket’s nozzle.  An approximate 1 foot long wooden stick is attached to the pyrotechnic element to lend a low center of balance and stability to the rocket during flight.

While black powder is the most common fuel for bottle rocket fireworks, often additives are added to create additional special effects such as sparking trails displayed during the ascent. Whistle mix (7 parts potassium perchlorate to 3 parts sodium benzoate) is another fuel alternative that will make the rocket whistle as it takes off. Bottle rocket fireworks that do fancy things feature the effects in the nose cone. The effects hidden in the nose cone might include exploding fireworks, multi-colored stars, confetti streamers, parachutes and other interesting items.

Bottle rocket fireworks should never be set off while being held. Sometimes bottle rocket fireworks can be unpredictable and take off vertically or at an angle instead of almost straight up. As the name implies, the long splint end should be set into a glass bottle or specially designed tube before lighting the fuse. After the rocket reaches its highest point in the sky, it will detonate any special effects and then begin to fall back down to the ground. A firework that resembles a bottle rocket or sky rocket, but with fins added for stability and guidance through the air, are actually called missiles. Bottle rocket fireworks rely solely on the wooden stick for stability; different weights and lengths will alter the flight pattern.


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