Celebrate the 4th With a Bang, Thanks to Natural Gas

Fireworks are a tradition that Americans love to participate in on the 4th of July! We all enjoy the excitement that fireworks bring into the night sky, but most of us have no idea how they work.

How are fireworks made?

The fireworks themselves are containers created from pasted paper. Paste, or glue is a common product that is created from natural gas. The fuse for a firework is created by three layers; two of string, and one of a lacquer, which keeps the fuse from falling apart. The lacquer layer is made from low-nitrate nitrocellulose. This is a slow-burning form of wax; one of the things that makes it slow burning is the fact that it contains a plasticizer – created with the help of natural gas and oil! This final, waxy, layer allows the shell to reach the desired height before exploding by ensuring that the fuse does not burn too fast.

The explosive part of the firework consists of black powder and is located in the center of the shell. “Stars”, which are small balls created by mixing chemicals and flash powders, are organized throughout the interior of the shell which, when the black powder is ignited, shoot in all directions! The “stars” create the iconic firework visual that we have come to know and love rather than a normal explosion.

These shells that are fly into the sky are shot from short pipes that also have the explosive powder in them. These pipes are made out of a plastic that is derived from natural gas as well! The powder in these pipes also lights the fuse, which continues to burn after the firework shell has been launched into the sky. When the sparks on the fuse finally hit the center of the shell, the show begins!

So not only is natural gas responsible for the firework shell and the fuse, but it is also responsible for the tubes that shoot them into the sky so that they are at a safe distance for everyone to enjoy.

Natural gas is a huge part of everyday life, so it is not shock that it is also a big part of special celebrations as well.

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Haley Citrone

Haley grew up in New Jersey and came to Pittsburgh to further her education. She currently studies Communication at Robert Morris University. As an External Affairs Intern, she helps Cabot through the creation and execution of content that they display to the public and loves every second of it!

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