Bengals are flare candles mainly used to achieve indirect pyrotechnic lighting of surfaces or buildings e.g. castles. The unnatural illumination is made use of to evoke feelings of warmth etc. in the observer and to stage the lighted areas.
The items are expected to emit a brightly coloured light for a long period of time and for this purpose the composition must meet special requirements:
a) The compositions should produce maximum colour,
b) should burn efficiently but as slowly as possible (40-60 sec. per 25mm) and
c) should not emit too much smoke. (a completely smokeless performance is not desirable, as the smoke reflects light and thereby partially contributes to the effect.)
Against the background of this criteria it is plain that the compositions generally are of the more expensive grade.
The candles come in various sizes, the larger units being about 50mm in diameter, 30cm long and showing a wall thickness of about 1,5mm (kraft paper). The latter means that the tube will burn away with the composition. The lower end of the candle is equipped with a wooden plug and screw eye for attachment to a holder. Bengals are fixed horizontally to allow the dross to drip off and prevent it from running down the wall and accelerate burning. They are furthermore always placed behind a shield, which blocks the spectator´s views onto the burning unit (they will just see the illumination).