This course is designed to introduce the student to the phenomena of pyrotechnics, and to the design and preparation of pyrotechnic compositions and the design and structure of pyrotechnic devices.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 24 - 28 Feb 2020
  • DurationThree days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£1,050 Concessions available

Course structure

One course per year; 5 days duration per course. Lectures with classroom demonstrations; brief laboratory period to prepare samples of various pyrotechnic compositions; and firing demonstration of the samples prepared by the students.

What you will learn

This course covers the basic considerations necessary for a good understanding of the design and methods of functioning of pyrotechnic compositions and devices. Its emphasis is on military applications, but consideration is given to civil uses.

The course objective is to provide our students with a comprehensive overview of pyrotechnics in both civil and military application.

Core content

  • The basic principles of chemical reaction and the propagation of a combustion reaction
  • The emission and propagation of light and IR through the atmosphere and through particulate clouds
  • Pyrotechnic compositions and devices for illumination, tracking, signalling and decoying
  • The production of heat and the design of pyrotechnic delays. The selection of ingredients and the experimental and commercial manufacture of pyrotechnics
  • Hazards of pyrotechnics and the effect of ageing
  • Practical session allows the students to make small quantities of simple pyrotechnic mixtures and witness their functioning.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

10 credits can be put towards the Explosives Ordnance Engineering MSc.

Who should attend

This course will be of value to anyone involved with the design, manufacture or use of such devices and those with an adequate technical background involved in the procurement and management of pyrotechnic devices.

Education background required is a degree in Chemistry, Physics or Engineering, or adequate experience of military or civilian pyrotechnics.


As part of the Explosives Ordnance Engineering MSc it is accredited by Institute if Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). The MSc meets the education requirements for the Engineering Council's UK register of Chartered Engineers (CEng)


  • Dave Holley (BAE)
  • Nick Barlow (Chemring)
  • Mark Bishop (DSTL)


A limited number of MOD sponsored places are available. 

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.