State-of-the-art research on fireworks and pyrotechnics

CB – Author Bios

Pyrotechnic Chemistry

Author Biographical Information

Alphabetical List of Authors

David Chapman, M. Phil.
David R. Dillehay, Ph.D.
Ron Hancox, B.S.
Clive Jennings-White, Ph. D.
Bonnie J. Kosanke, M.S.
Ken L. Kosanke, Ph.D.
Naminosuke Kubota, Ph.D.
Michael Podlesak, Ph. D.
Takeo Shimizu, Ph.D.
Tom Smith, Ph.D.
Barry Sturman, M.S.
Ian von Maltiz, B.S.
Mike Wilson, B.S.

David Chapman, M. Phil.

Mr. Chapman graduated from Bath University in 1972 with a degree in Chemistry. He obtained an M. Phil. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1975 from Sunderland Polytechnic. This was followed by 10 years teaching pre-University students in general chemical areas. For the past 20 or so years he has been involved in the area of explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics, more recently specializing in accidents investigation and related research. He is a Fellow of the (UK) Institute of Explosives Engineers and has over 10 publications dealing with pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic related areas. He is currently Head of the Explosives Section at the Health and Safety Laboratory at Buxton, UK.

David R. Dillehay, Ph.D.

Dr. Dillehay graduated from Rice University in 1958 with a degree in chemistry. He obtained a Doctorate in chemistry in 1983 from Clayton University. For more than 38 years he worked for Thiokol Corporation in the fields of propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics. In 1996, he became president of Technical Consultants, Inc. He has published over 52 papers in the field of pyrotechnics and energetic materials’ processing and holds 11 patents in the field, including processes and formulations. In 1980, he became a co-founder of the International Pyrotechnics Society and served 4 years as Secretary, 2 years as Vice-President and 2 years as President. He is currently a Life Member of the IPS. He served as President of the local Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the American Defense Preparedness Association and was President of the Longhorn Chapter of the National Management Association. He is currently serving as Treasurer of the Steering Committee of the International Pyrotechnic Seminars and Treasurer of International Pyrotechnics Seminars USA, Inc. He was a guest speaker at Pyrochem International ’75 in the UK, the Pyroteknikdagen in Sweden and was a guest of the USSR Academy of Science at the 2nd International Symposium on Flame Structure in Almaata, Khazakstan. He also served on the Navy investigating team for the USS Iowa Battleship Incident.

Ron Hancox, B.S.

Mr. Hancoxis a graduate in Applied Chemistry from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. For the last 20 years he worked at the Defence Science Technology Organization (DSTO). He has been involved in most aspects of pyrotechnics technology from the chemical development of compositions, system failure investigations through to project management of air countermeasure programs for the RAAF. He has also been involved in a number of international cooperative studies on specialized pyrotechnic topics. Ron left DSTO in 1998 and joined Pains Wessex Australia and was initially tasked with setting up a Technical Services capability within the organization and more recently, with improved formulations for a wide range of pyrotechnic signals for use in the marine environment.

Clive Jennings-White, Ph. D.

Dr. Jennings-White was born and grew up in England. First attempts at making fireworks were at age six, and the decision to pursue chemistry was at age seven. As one might expect, Kentish and Lancaster were very influential on the development of his approach to fireworks. After obtaining a Doctorate in chemistry at the University of Cambridge, he moved to the United States. His professional positions have included vice president of manufacturing and product development for a perfumery company, as well as vice president of chemical research for a pharmaceutical company. His fireworks interests have been focused on chemistry and formulation development, resulting in many publications. The most notable inventions are probably bismuth-based crackling microstars and blue strobe formulations. In addition, he competes regularly at Pyrotechnics Guild International competitions, where his principal areas of expertise are wheels, small gerbs, and ground display items.

Bonnie J. Kosanke, M.S.

Ms. Kosanke graduated from Michigan State University with a Masters of Science degree in biology. She has more than 25 years of experience working with and researching pyrotechnics and has authored and coauthored more that 200 articles and papers on pyrotechnics. She is a past lecturer on general chemistry at Mesa State College, has taught graduate level courses on pyrotechnic chemistry at Miami University, and is a frequent lecturer on various subjects in pyrotechnics. She is the founder and publisher of the Journal of Pyrotechnics, a technical journal devoted to civilian pyrotechnics.

Ken L. Kosanke, Ph.D.

Dr. Kosanke received a Doctorate in chemistry from Michigan State University, as well as Post Doctoral studies in nuclear physics at what is now the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He has more than 25 years working with and researching pyrotechnics, and has authored and coauthored nearly 300 articles and papers on pyrotechnics. He is a past lecturer on general chemistry at Mesa State College, has taught graduate level courses on pyrotechnic chemistry at Miami University, and is a frequent lecturer on various subjects in pyrotechnics. He is president of PyroLabs, Inc., a small research laboratory devoted to the study of pyrotechnics and is also managing editor of the Journal of Pyrotechnics.

Naminosuke Kubota, Ph.D.

Dr. Kubota received a Doctorate from Princeton University in 1973, majoring in “Solid Propellant Combustion” and “Rocket Propulsion”. His current position is as an Advisory Professor at Nanjing University of Science and Technology. Previously he was Director, Third Research Center, TRDI, Japan Defense Agency, which is responsible for the research relating to aircraft and missiles. He is the author of Propellants and Explosives.

Michael Podlesak, Ph. D.

Dr. Podlesak received a Doctorate in Physics in 1986 at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. After two years of postdoctoral work in acoustics and fibreoptic sensor technology at La Trobe and Victoria University of Technology, he joined the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO). The first five years there involved research in shock wave physics and contribution to the development of slapper detonator fuses for conventional munitions. Since 1993, he has worked on active approaches to noise and vibration control on naval vessels, and in 1998-99, he was posted to Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC, to investigate special applications of laser detection of underwater sound. In 1999 he commenced research in electro-optics and image processing with emphasis on automatic target acquisition for guided weapons.

Takeo Shimizu, Ph.D.

In 1933, Dr. Shimizu graduated from the military Academy at Ichigaya Hill, which started him on a distinguished military career. In 1940 he graduated from the School of Explosives at Tokyo University. In 1945, when the war was over, he decided no longer to make explosives. In 1951, he obtained a position at Hosoyo Fireworks Co. In 1958 he received a Doctorate in engineering with his thesis The Design Criteria of Chrysanthemum Shells. In 1963 he accepted a position at the Perfect Liberty (PL) Fireworks company, where he worked until 1967 when he accepted a position at the KOA Fireworks factory. In 2002 at the age of 90, he retired from the KOA Fireworks factory. He has written several books on fireworks and pyrotechnics. Two of the books have been translated into English: Fireworks, The Art, Science and Technique and Fireworks from a Physical Standpoint. He has also written numerous articles on various aspects of pyrotechnics and explosives.

Tom Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Smith graduated from Oxford University in 1983 with a degree in Chemistry. He remained there to receive his doctorate in 1986. He then worked for the Dow Chemical Company on fungicide research and for OCTS lecturing and developing software. In 1989 he joined Kimbolton Fireworks as their display manager, having worked part-time with the company all through his university career. Indeed his long term fascination with fireworks stems from his Grandfather, who was at school with Roy Brock and worked with Brocks in the early 1920s. In 1988 he left Kimbolton and setup a specialist explosive consultancy ranging from work with Disney, the Commonwealth Games and the 2004 Athens Olympics to advising smaller UK fireworks and explosive companies on aspects of legal compliance. He is chairman of the Confederation of British Industry Pyrotechnics group and secretary of the British Pyrotechnists Association and represents these bodies on many government committees including the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Substances, the British Standards Committee and the EU and UN working groups on pyrotechnics and classification.

Barry Sturman, M.S.

Mr. Sturman has a Master of Applied Science degree in chemistry. For the past 24 years he has been a research and development scientist and manager in the scientific instrument industry, specializing in analytical atomic spectrometry. His interest in fireworks began when he was about four years old and has persisted for over half a century. This interest has led him to assemble an extensive collection of books, periodicals and paper ephemera related to the history and technology of fireworks. He contributes a regular column to the British periodical Fireworks and is an editor and policy board member for the Journal of Pyrotechnics. He has worked as a laborer on many firework displays and has designed and fired displays for local festivals and school fetes. More recently he has given up display work and restricts his pyrotechnic activities to writing and research.

Ian von Maltiz, B.S.

Mr. von Maltitz is South African born and bred and he immigrated to the United States in 1995. He has a Diploma of Electrical Engineering from Witwatarsrand College for Advanced Technical Education. He has had a fascination with pyrotechnics since the tender age of six. His interest in fireworks was encouraged and mentored by his father, who was a keen amateur pyrotechnics enthusiast. He has written numerous amateur pyrotechnic magazine articles and is the author of Black Powder Manufacturing Methods and Techniques and Black Powder Manufacturing, Testing & Optimizing.

Mike Wilson, B.S.

Mr. Wilson has a Certificate of Applied Chemistry (Propellants and Pyrotechnics) and has worked for Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) as a Technical Officer in pyrotechnics research and development for over 30 years. He has had wide practical experience in the development of pyrotechnic compositions, equipment and processes relating to the energetic materials requirements of the Australian Defence Force. Mike left DSTO in 1998 and joined the Technical Support Section of Pains Wessex Australia where he is responsible for device development. He was project officer for the team that designed the underwater Olympic torch, which was successfully used on the Great Barrier Reef for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.


Leave a Reply