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article imageSecrets of fireworks revealed

By Tim Sandle     Jul 6, 2015 in Science
Many people enjoy firework displays: loud bangs and bursts of spectacular color. But what makes fireworks so colorful? A scientist explains how and why.
Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry at Kansas State University has spoken to Lab Manager magazine about the art of fireworks. "The art of fireworks is the packaging," Dr. Bossmann explains.
Fireworks are types of explosive pyrotechnic devices, commonly used for various displays to mark different events at various times of the year. Fireworks were invented in China during the seventh century. The types of fireworks that are available are areal types (like rockets) or ground devices (such as the Catherine wheel.)
Fireworks light up the sky in Toronto for Canada Day
Fireworks light up the sky in Toronto for Canada Day
Fireworks consist of the following basic elements:
A fuel, to allow it to burn. This is often charcoal, sulfur or potassium nitrate. Very similar to gunpowder.
An oxidizer, which chemically oxidizes the fuel. This is necessary for combustion.
Color-producing chemicals.
A binder which keeps the compound together.
A chlorine donor which provides chlorine to strengthen the color of the flame.
Independence Day fireworks in San Diego.
Independence Day fireworks in San Diego.
According to Dr. Bossmann, when the firework explodes, the metal particles start oxidizing, which creates heat. It is the basis of the metal particles that give a firework its color. The different metals and their colors are:
Nagaoka fireworks  the best in all of Japan  according to the photographer.
Nagaoka fireworks, the best in all of Japan, according to the photographer.
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Red --Strontium and lithium
Orange --Calcium
Yellow -- Sodium
Green -- Barium
Blue -- Copper
Violet -- Potassium and rubidium
Gold -- Charcoal, iron or lampblack
White -- Titanium, aluminum, beryllium or magnesium powders
Further details are shown in the video below:
More about Fireworks, Color, Gunpowder
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