Colin's Classroom, July 5, 2017
Before the fireworks can be launched, a team of people must build, prepare, and coordinate the impressive display.
And Colin, you learned a little bit about the science of how it works!
I Did! I went to learn more about how these firework shows are constructed in this week's Colin's Classroom.
Colin says, "We're out here on the piers here in Duluth. I'm joined by Josiah Poirier of Pyrotechnic Display Inc. and we're getting a behind the scenes look of how our 4th of July fireworks display is going to be happening. I'm noticing a lot of tubes out here, Josiah, a lot of cords... what am I looking at?"
Josiah Poirier says, "So basically this is how we set up for a fireworks show."
Colin says, "I'm noticing there are different sizes of tubes all over the place. Does that correspond to how big the different explosions are?"
Poirier says, "Yeah. So basically the bigger the shell, the higher it goes because it has a bigger lift charge. You would think it would be the other way around."
Colin says, "So it's heavier. It's literally heavier."
Poirier says, "It's heavier, but because it has more lift charge in it it actually makes the firework go higher and then it makes a bigger explosion when it gets up there."
Colin asks, "How long does this number of pyrotechnics take to go off?"
Poirier says, "This one, I haven't actually looked, but it usually is a 20 to 30 minute show for something of this size. So this will be a really busy show . A lot of stuff going on. It'll be really cool to look at."
Colin says, "So, one, a lot of shows these days including the Duluth show is coordinated to music and, two, I'm noticing there aren't just your standard fuses with some guy lighting a match and running away. This is straight up wire that's running in there. So how does all that correlate together?"
Poirier says, "So basically what we do is every single one of the shells has a wire going to it with a wire on the end and it goes back to one of these little panels. The panels have an XLR cord that links them together..."
Colin says, "So on a less technical side, basically you can call up each of these individual panels and say it's time to go."
Poirier says, "Yup, you call each one individually and launch them each off."
Colin says, "So it's just that easy."
Poirier says, "Yup, it all ties back to one panel. For this kind of show when we're cueing with music we do it with a panel that just automatically fires everything. So we can either hit a 'GO' button and it goes, or in this case the radio station actually sends us a signal and kicks off the panel for us. So we just turn it to arm and we wait and the radio station hits play and off it goes."
Colin says, "Josiah, thank you very much. So when you're watching the 4th of July fireworks display show you can thank Josiah and all these guys working hard to make sure they're putting on one of the best shows in the state of Minnesota."