What Chemicals are in Fireworks?
Posted by Fireworks Kingdom | 14 March 2019
In the modern day and age of the big bang, we are able to get hold of fireworks in every colour, shape and size! We all know how explosions work - take fuel, add fire ... boom! But how do fireworks function? First, we have to start with the chemicals used in freworks to figure this out.
Originally, as most people know, the heart of the firework and what makes it explode is the classic gunpowder, which originated centuries ago by the Chinese! However, after much trial and error, the recipe has chopped and changed for the bigger and most definitely better in the modern era.
There are four main ingredients that go into the colourful fireworks we all love on special occasions. Simply put, these four ingredients involve an oxygen producer, an ignition fuel, a binder and a colour-producing chemical. The fuel used in each firework is the same, which gives us a less complicated scientific explanation and you an easier understanding of how fireworks are made!
When you light a firework, the fuse that lights the propellant burns as the firework rockets into the sky. Once this fuse reaches the fireworks inner shell, containing the above four ingredients, it ignites, which is the result of a colourful explosion!
Now that question is out of the way, it’s time to get to the fun side of science, the colourful explosions!
What Makes Fireworks Different Colours?
How much less interesting would fireworks become if there wasn’t any that had an end product with a beautiful burst of colour? A firework cannot simply be defined as a firework without the magical colours that are visually pleasing to one’s eye. In order to create something so aesthetically entertaining, we need to know which metals burn which colours.
There is an exact match of chemicals for each firework that vary depending on where the firework is manufactured and which chemicals are available at the time of production. These displays tend to depend on metal salts.
Metal salts. What are they? Metal salts occur when one hydrogen atom in acid is replaced by a certain metal. This is accomplished by mixing metal, acid and potash to create a dry, easily transportable substance that burns the metal colour in the mixture.
Below we have created an infographic to explain which chemicals go into different colours of fireworks, which is pretty mind-blowing to see!
All in all, the red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple colours exploding in the night sky during a pyrotechnic occasion are created by the use of metal salts.
Now, we aren’t saying that you should make fireworks at home as that could end disastrously because as easy as the science behind the making of a firework sounds, it is far more complicated than it looks. Even getting one part of the ratio wrong can be fatal in the production of the firework, we’d rather you leave it to the experts, which is us! Why not order some ready-made science and watch the beautiful burst of colours in action? We can assure you that it is much safer and much more enjoyable! Check out our Fireworks Kingdom shop and browse our range of colourful fireworks!
So the next time you are at a firework display, you can amaze others by providing the science behind the fireworks. It’s a great conversation starter while you’re watching those rockets’ strontium glare!