Firework investigation analysis
Key findings on a steel casing failure
What caused a steel casing, used to hold a firework in position, to fail catastrophically during a public display? Finding answers to this question was critical, as large fragments had been thrown into a tightly packed crowd, resulting in injuries and a fatality. Our applied technology experts were asked to support the official investigation.
How we helped
A key focus of the investigation was to consider if the accident was caused by a deliberate act of sabotage or the result of human error; the ‘faulty’ steel casing was only intended to position the firework rather than contain it.
We used several types of detailed numerical and chemical analysis of the explosive mixture. Our work determined that excessively high temperatures could be achieved if the multi-stage firework was improperly mixed or packed, resulting in failure. Numerical analyses also verified that the casing failure observed at the accident scene was consistent with pressure levels that could be obtained from an improperly prepared mixture.
Lessons learned from the investigation will help enhance the safety of future public firework displays, safeguarding lives.