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Pyrotechnician

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Firework show.jpg

A Pyrotechnician is a person whose job is to set up a firework display. Along with this, they must be able to perform the discharge of the fireworks. Most of the time these firework discharges must be performed in a series of events with very accurate timing. In order to be a good pyrotechnician, one must know the proper safety procedures along with the knowledge of chemical elements. Professional pyrotechnicians can earn thirty to sixty-five dollars an hour, depending on the quality of their work. [1]

Occupational Tasks and Requirements

A pyrotechnician creating smoke firework drawings.

There are many occupational tasks that a pyrotechnician must complete while doing their work. Some of which would include the manufacturing, transportation, set up, and the breaking down of the firework display. In order to complete these tasks a pyrotechnician must be at least over eighteen years of age (some states require over twenty-one). Also, in order to be competent in pyrotechnics, one must undergo a training program that teaches the basic principles and safety precautions. Generally apprenticeships will take about one to three years to complete. Along with this a pyrotechnician must become licensed. In order to do this they must send in evidence through documents showing that they have participated as a head operator in a certain amount of firework displays. The license, depending on the state, will be called either a fireworks display operator or a pyrotechnic operator. The licensing also costs an amount of money. Some states can charge as much as $1500 for the licence. [2]

Application to Chemistry

In order for a pyrotechnician to be successful, they must be knowledgeable in chemistry. Different chemical substances can be very important to a pyrotechnician. For instance, oxygen (chemical symbol O) is vital for burning to occur. Thus almost all fireworks contain oxidizers. These oxidizers can produce oxygen for the fireworks burning to occur. They are usually made out of nitrates, chlorates, or perchlorates. [3] Another chemical element that a chemist must know would be the element aluminum. Aluminum is a common component of sparklers. Along with this aluminum can be found in the production of silver and white flames and sparks. [4] When burned, different elements give off different colors. For example, a pyrotechnician that would like to have a firework that includes the colors orange, green, and blue would use: calcium chloride (orange), copper sulfate (green), and copper chloride (blue). [5] In addition to this, eighteen elements on the periodic table of elements can be considered significant in a pyrotechnician's line of work. It is necessary for a pyrotechnician to buy or to find these elements in order to make and operate the fireworks that they are required to build and operate for their job. [6]

Video

New years eve pyrotechnic firework show.

References

  1. Author Unknown. What is a Pyrotechnician? Jobmonkey.com. Web. Date-of-access March 11 2013.
  2. Author Unknown. Pyrotechnic Technician: Job Description and Requirements for Becoming a Pyrotechnic Technician Education Portal. Web. Date-of-access March 11 2013.
  3. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. Oxygen - Elements in Fireworks About.com. Web. Date-of-access March 11 2013.
  4. Helmenstine, Anne Marie . Aluminum - Elements in Fireworks About.com. Web. Date-of-access March 11 2013.
  5. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. How To Color Fire About.com. Web. Date-of-access March 11 2013.
  6. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. Periodic Table Elements in Fireworks About.com. Web. Date-of-access March 17 2013.