An Overview of the Mechanics of Pyrotechnic Strobe Compositions

Session Photo

Tent 1 | Seminar

February 19, 2023, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Presented by: Kurt Medlin

In this presentation, Kurt will describe the burning mechanism behind pyrotechnic strobe light effects. Topics includes an explanation of the alternating ‘dark’ and ‘flash’ reactions that create the strobe effect and the roles of the chemical components in strobe compositions that create those two reactions.

Examples will be given for two families of strobe compositions commonly used in practice: ammonium perchlorate-based strobe compositions and nitrate-based strobe compositions.

The discussion will focus primarily on understanding the strobe mechanism itself, but will include special considerations and practical information on using strobe compositions in practice.

Additional Session Information
Beginner Friendly


About Presenters

Kurt Medlin

Kurt Medlin first began trying to make fireworks around age 10 (with the patient tolerance of his mother and the encouragement of his father!). An avid collector of fireworks books and publications, Kurt acquired copies of the classic texts by Weingart, Davis, and Lancaster by his late teens. Kurt joined the PGI in 1982 at age 22, attended his first PGI convention in 1983 and gave his first seminar at the 1986 PGI convention. Kurt worked his first public fireworks display in 1984. Kurt is a life member of both the PGI & WPA and a former board member of both organizations.
Kurt has given seminars at previous PGI conventions and WPA Winter Blast conventions on black powder rockets, tourbillions, girandolas, large bore candles, fountain and wheel construction, and traditional Italian shell building. In addition to hands-on firework making, Kurt is interested in fireworks history and collecting antiquarian fireworks literature.

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