ADAI CED researchers' are part of the Free-Pyro project

The FreePyro Igniter project, in which the Department of Mechanical Engineering (DEM) of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) participates, is developing a safer and more environmentally friendly igniter to be used in the initiation of pyrotechnic articles.

25 may, 2023≈ 3 min read

Five researchers from DEM, connected to ADAI-CED and the Laboratory of Energy and Detonics (LEDAP), namely Ricardo Mendes, Joana Quaresma, José Carlos Góis, Bianca Sterbling and João Pimenta, are participating in the project, funded by the Portugal 2020 program.

Ricardo Mendes, responsible for the project at FCTUC, said, quoted in a statement by the University of Coimbra that the goal is "to develop a more sustainable and safer initiator, which does not contain substances considered explosive, nor harmful substances and that can be handled with complete safety. Most traditional initiators are based on compositions containing lead or mercury, materials that have a negative impact on the environment and are also classified as dangerous, due to the high risk in their handling and use. The big difference in the composition of this new product, continues the researcher, "is that even with a mass initiation it does not produce an explosion, because it does not produce gases. Therefore, in a fire, there will never be an explosion. In contrast, traditional initiators, which are composed of other types of substances that generate high temperatures, but also gases, can lead to explosions that can cause significant damage," he points out.

Joana Quaresma, FCTUC researcher, refers in the same statement that after the concept has already been proven and a prototype has been developed and tested, "there is a need to continue the project, which ends this year, also because this new initiator will require the systems used for the initiation of these artifacts to have more energy, i.e., a firing system compatible with this initiator will also have to be developed." The researcher added that the new initiator presents advantages at environmental, safety and economy level, because "it contains substances with less impact on the environment, it has the potential to be reusable, the transport, storage and use will be safer and, still, it may avoid, in the future, the importation of this type of products".