The chemistry of fireworks - The Hindu

April 13, 2016 12:00 am |Updated 05:46 am IST - KANNUR:

An open nexus among dealers of chemicals, pyrotechnics contractors, firework manufacturers and their middlemen, with or without the collusion of officials, is behind the thriving festival season business of potassium chlorate whose use is banned in fireworks. Potassium Perchlorate Regulations

The chemistry of fireworks - The Hindu

The fireworks catastrophe at the Puttingal temple has once again unravelled the possible use of potassium chlorate with other substances such as sulphur and sulphurate in fireworks. The cocktail is highly unstable and inflammable. Sources close to dealers of chemicals who supply potassium chlorate say it is known to all except the public that potassium chlorate is supplied to pyrotechnics contractors and fireworks manufacturers in the State through authorised and unauthorised channels.

“Potassium chlorate is not banned as it is a licensed product,” said a person close to the chemicals business in the State. What is banned under the 1992 Central notification is its admixture with sulphur and sulphurate in explosives, including fireworks. As prohibition of its use is not extended to manufacture of matches and paper caps for toy pistols, potassium chlorate is still being supplied in the State from neighbouring States with all proper permits, he said adding there are not many matches manufacturers or paper caps making units in the State to use it.

An oxidizing agent in fireworks, it forms nearly 70 per cent of the substance used in fireworks products.

Its permitted substitutes are potassium nitrate and potassium perchlorate. Fireworks manufacturers and contractors use potassium chlorate because it is less expensive than the other two substances. Though the shelf life of the fireworks using it is lower, it is often used in pyrotechnics display during festivals. The products are often prepared a week or two before their use, sources said.

The chemical substance is supplied to fireworks manufacturers or contractors by dealers of chemicals who have the licence to sell them, they added.

People working in the field of explosives say that potassium chlorate admixture in fireworks is more dangerous because its ignition is frictional. As fireworks with heavy sound are more popular in the State than flash fireworks, potassium chlorate is more abundantly used in fireworks, they point out.

The potassium chlorate admixture is highly

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The chemistry of fireworks - The Hindu

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