With the Fourth of July passing us, we’re now nearing the half-way point of summer; and hopefully, yours has been as fun and rewarding as mine has. Now what is the number one thing that people think about when it comes to this specific holiday? FIREWORKS!

While I’ve always watched the fireworks shows or bought my own to light off; I never really put any thought as to what’s inside one of those shells that go bang in the air. Then I quickly realized that I could scan some left-over fireworks in our Wenzel Exact M CT Scanner and see what exactly is inside one. So that’s exactly what I did.

Sample fireworks
Sample Fireworks

I scanned a handful of different shells and firecrackers in my spare time, and then imported the volume data into Volume Graphics. If you are not familiar with Volume Graphics, it’s a powerful software that is used to visualize and inspect CT volume data.

Cylindrical shell
Cylindrical Shell

The first firework I scanned was a cylindrical shell, which looked more like a large firecracker. After scanning the part, analyzing the data, and a quick Google search, you can start to figure out what is going on inside.

Cylindrical Shell Explained
Cylindrical Shell Explained

At the bottom of the image, you have the lifting charge. The lifting charge is made out of black powder. Its sole purpose is to get the shell into the air and to light the internal fuse. The internal fuse will travel up the firework and ignite the rest of the firework.

Cylindrical Shell Explained in gif


Between the lifting charge and the spherical objects is an insulator to prevent the entire firework from igniting when the lifting charge ignites.

Next, we have the bursting charge which is used to ignite the stars (I’ll explain what these are further down) and to spread them out in the air. The bursting charge is mixed in with the stars, so they are all lit equally, when the charge ignites.

Last, you have the spheres or “stars” as they’re called it in the industry. The stars are what we see in the air when the firework goes off. Depending on the specific firework, the stars, inside the firework, may be spheres or cylinders. The bigger the firework, the more stars it will contain.

Here are some other examples:

Spherical Shell
Spherical Shell

Spherical Shell explained gif



Firecracker Internal Details
Firecracker Internal Details

Now these were only some examples of simple consumer grade fireworks. Anyone “know a guy” that can get professional grade fireworks?

Now you’ve seen inside a firework, without having to destroy one. That’s the beauty of an industrial CT scanner, you have the ability to look inside almost anything of interest, without having to open it up! The CT scanner also lends itself well to parts that are not ideal for a traditional CMM or laser scanner. CT’s are able to gather all the data; rather than what can just be seen on the outside.

If you believe this technology could have a positive benefit to your company; please feel free to call us and see what we can do for you.