Mortar tubes are used to launch aerial fireworks. One end is plugged to prevent gases from the lift charge from escaping underneath. Store-bought aerial fireworks typically come with a single-use cardboard mortar tube. If you are ready to advance your fireworks displays to the next level, though, you will probably be interested in something a bit more durable.
Reusable Mortar Tube Materials
Reusable mortar tubes can be made of two materials: fiberglass or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Fiberglass tubes are lighter weight, but they will shred under the pressure of launch. It is absolutely critical to handle fiberglass tubes only with gloves and long sleeves to avoid getting painful cuts and scratches from the fibers.
HDPE tubes are extremely popular. Though it weighs more than fiberglass, HDPE is a type of plastic that is ideally suited for mortar tubes. It is dense and sturdy enough to last a long time, but its tensile strength and intermolecular forces give it the flexibility to bend and distort rather than shatter or shed under the extreme pressure of fireworks launches.
Note that NO other type of tube should ever be used. ABS thermoplastic and PVC pipe are extraordinarily popular for many applications. However, both are actually quite brittle when exposed to extreme pressure. The likelihood of a catastrophic blowout is unacceptably high when launching fireworks from an ABS or PVC tube.
Professional displays sometimes use steel or aluminum tubes to launch specific effects. However, there are numerous safety precautions involved that are too complex and impractical for a home display, and the risk of a dangerous blowout still exists. Metal tubes should never be used at the consumer level, as a misfire could spray metal shrapnel across the crowd.
Mortar Tube Sizing
Mortar tubes should be the same diameter as the shell and three times its length. Never attempt to launch a smaller shell from a larger mortar tube or vice versa. Most consumer fireworks shells are 1 7/8 inches in diameter, so an HDPE tube of that diameter should be sufficient. You will also need a circular wooden plug 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick for the bottom of the tube.
If you are planning a large fireworks display, you may want to build a mortar rack. Made from wood or metal, this is a convenient way to assemble multiple mortars for easy firing. You can then fuse together the shells in such a way as to launch them in your desired sequence through a single fuse lighting. You can also fuse your display to be launched by computer in any order you choose.
Note that individual mortars should be buried in the ground to approximately 2/3 their length, while mortar racks should be sturdy enough to remain intact and upright when given a good kick. Always ensure that the mortar tubes are facing away from the crowd and cannot topple into a dangerous position.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to purchase your next fireworks, or you are simply seeking information on using them safely and responsibly, contact Dynamite Fireworks today at (219) 937-4090.