Independence Day 2007 Pyrotechnics

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 05 Jul 2007 02:11:28 GMT  <== Science/Technology ==> 

Last year, I learned how to make a very loud noise with a plastic soda bottle, some black powder, and a few inches of cannon fuse. I tried it again this year, but with some variations. The first try was with a 1 liter Sprite bottle, with about an inch of smokeless powder (IMR 4064). The second try was with a 20 oz Canada Dry ginger ale bottle with about an inch of Hodgdon Triple Se7en black powder substitute. The third and fourth tries were Aquafina bottles, again with an inch of Triple Se7en.

I didn't photograph the 1 liter Sprite bottle before ignition, but I did photograph the other three:

Three Bangs

The Canada Dry bottle made a very satisfying bang, as loud as a gun shot. The Aquafina bottles sizzled and made lots of smoke. The Sprite bottle got very bright and shot sparks out of one side for a second or two; very little noise.

Here is the post-ignition photo of the Canada Dry bottle, one of the Aquafina bottles, and the 1 liter Sprite bottle. Remember, the Sprite bottle started out half again as big as the Canada Dry bottle. "I'm melting, melting...":

Three Banged

Conclusion: for the most satisfying loud sound, use a hard-sided soda bottle and black powder.

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