We all remember that rhyme from school...."Remember Remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. We see no reason, why gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot!"
Traditional fireworks have 5 elements:
Stick (Tail) The first thing you notice is a long wooden or plastic stick protruding from the bottom that ensures the firework shoots in a straight line. That's important for two reasons. First, so that fireworks go where you intend to and don't fly in a random direction, causing fires, property damage, or injuries. Second, because it helps display organisers to position firework effects with accuracy and precision. Some fireworks now have hinged plastic sticks so they can be sold in smaller and more compact boxes. (note the PLASTIC)
Fuse This is the part that starts the main part of the firework (the charge) burning and ignites other, smaller fuses that make the interesting, colourful parts of the firework (the effects) explode some time later. In a basic home firework, the main fuse consists of a piece of paper or fabric that you light with a match or cigarette lighter. In a complex public firework display, fuses are lit by electrical contacts known as wirebridge fuseheads. When the firework technician pushes a button, an electric current flows along a wire into the fusehead, making it burn briefly so it ignites the main fuse. Unlike manual ignition, electrical ignition can be done at a considerable distance, so it's much safer.
Charge (motor) The charge is a relatively crude explosive designed to blast a firework up into the sky, sometimes a distance of several hundred meters (1000ft or so) at a speed of up to several hundred km/miles per hour (as fast as a jet fighter)! It's usually made up of tightly packed, coarse explosive gunpowder (also known as black powder). Traditionally, gunpowder used in fireworks was made of 75 percent potassium nitrate (also called saltpeter) mixed with 15 percent charcoal and 10 percent sulphur; modern fireworks sometimes use other mixtures (such as sulphur-less powder with extra potassium nitrate) or other chemicals instead. Note that the charge simply sends the firework high into the air and clear of any spectators; it doesn't make the spectacular explosions you can actually see.
Effect This is the part of the firework that makes the amazing display once the firework is safely high in the air. A single firework will have either one effect or multiple effects, packed into separate compartments, firing off in sequence, ignited by a relatively slow-burning, time-delay fuse working its way upward and ignited by the main fuse. (The firework illustrated here has three effects.) Though essentially just explosives, the effects are quite different from the main charge. Each one is made up of more loosely packed, finer explosive materi