Southern Yellow Pine Charcoal is a complex organic substance containing moisture, ash, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and a variety of volatiles. All of these elements have a vital use in fireworks.
Charcoal made from Southern Yellow Pine is great for making charcoal stars and rockets with a yellowish/gold tails. Because of the larger size particles, the sparks will burn and hand longer in the sky making it the most popular charcoal for gold tails
Charcoal made from eastern red cedar and paulownia are considered great for black powder, while hardwood charcoals e.g. southern yellow pine charcoal are commonly used for spark effects. The particle size and the process used to make the charcoal also play an important role in the quality of the charcoal for a specific purpose.
Along with Potassium Nitrate and Sulfur, charcoal is one of the ingredients in making Black Powder. Generally, the proportions of the ingredients are 75% KNO3, 15% Charcoal and 10% Sulfur. Each component is ground separately before they are all mixed together to form black powder. The name Black Powder brings to mind explosives and gunpowder, but it was first used to make fireworks long before the invention of firearms. If you are looking to make black powder you should consider getting a finer particle size.
SYP Charcoal still contains some charcoal dust and is easily breathed in, and a dust mask should be worn when working with it (black boogers).