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

Review – Homan

Larry Homan’s Review of Selected Pyrotechnic Publications of Dr. Shimizu, Part 1

Excerpts from review by L. Homan for The Firemaker, Vol. 2, No. 2, April 1998.

Each year the Proceedings of the International Pyrotechnic Seminars are published. They are a compendium of most of the papers delivered at the Seminars each year, bulky in appearance and in their entirety would require a stout and large set of bookshelves. I would be willing to surmise that none of my readers have a complete set (and if you do perhaps you should reevaluate your space utilization). Although I have not seen every volume, each year I usually find a few articles of interest, and assume they would also be of interest to anyone engaged in the development of pyrotechnic devices. Most of the articles have little to do with fireworks and would only be of general use in following the reasoning behind pyrotechnic thoughts. Somewhere I have my collection of photocopied articles. It would be interesting to count how many I have accumulated over the years as a guide to a personal evaluation of the usefulness of this material – or perhaps an evaluation of the usefulness of my opinion. After a while the ratio of the valued papers to the unvalued ones should tend toward a constant, and that constant could be used to evaluate the value of an expert’s opinion on the value of the papers. I think you are beginning to get the idea.

Everyone knows the high quality of the fireworks research work of Dr. Takeo Shimizu. Dr. Shimizu does for a living what so many of us pyrotechnic enthusiasts would like to do if only we had had the talent, ambition, courage and determination to so direct our lives when we had the opportunity. Eight of Dr. Shimizu’s contributions to the Seminars have been compiled here and republished by the Journal of Pyrotechnics, Inc. as the fourth offering of the Pyrotechnic Literature SeriesThe quality of the KJOP publication is considerably higher and the articles more readable than that usually accompanying the Proceedings’ publications. The first of the articles dates from 1985 and the last from 1994, so the material covers subjects that have been current in the pyrotechnic literature during that period. Since this compilation is labeled Selected Pyrotechnic Publications,. Part 1, I would expect that a second part at least is planned for the future. Whether this will also include articles from other sources is unknown. Although these articles are available from other sources, individually, the sheer convenience and readability has immediate value.

Being someone who cannot hope to buy every pyrotechnic publication I would like, I can understand anyone wanting to economically evaluate such purchases. This book contains 86 easy to read pages, with numerous helpful tables, graphs and diagrams to present the data. It is worth the purchase to me, because it has one article on ballistics I must have and another on stability that I also must have. And there are at least three others that I found particularly useful. The alternative is to locate the Proceedings and photocopy the poorly printed articles. In a library this is often ten cents per page – plus the time and effort of doing it. Fortunately, my time is more valuable than that.


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